The oven in your kitchen is one of the most important appliances you can ever have as it can provide you with a means to cook healthier foods without having to rely on oils. Most modern families have ovens in their kitchens, even small ones, to bake goodies, roast a small gourmet chicken or turkey, or even toast some bread. Keeping the oven clean and tidy is thus an important aspect of its ownership. And one of the components of the oven that you must know how to clean properly is the oven rack.
This part of the modern oven typically has baked-on grease, sticky grime, and burned bits of food that have accumulated over time. It’s a must that the oven rack be cleaned properly to maintain the optimum cooking performance of your oven. Here are some easy ways on how you can clean your oven racks.
The Quintessential Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution
It’s amazing how an ordinary household item such as baking soda and vinegar can do a fantastic work of almost every cleaning chore in your home. Cleaning your oven rack is no different. Baking soda works both as a deodorizer and a cleanser while vinegar is perfect for cutting through grease and as a disinfectant and deodorizer as well. For this method to really work, we highly recommend using a bathtub or a basin that is large enough to accommodate the full size of your oven rack. Here are the steps.
- Place your oven rack inside the bathtub and sprinkle generous amounts of baking soda. Let the baking soda sit for a while before following up with distilled white vinegar. This creates an instantaneous chemical reaction that leads to bubbling and foaming.
- Once the foaming has subsided, douse your oven rack with hot water. That is why we strongly recommend doing this in the bathtub so you can simply open the hot water faucet. Fill the bathtub until the oven racks have been fully covered. Let it sit overnight.
- After an overnight immersion in baking soda, vinegar, and hot water you can start cleaning your oven rack. Get an old toothbrush to help you scrub off baked-on gunk. For grease and grime, an old dish towel should do just fine. However, for stubborn gunk you might want to sprinkle some kosher salt to your scrubbing.
- Rinse your oven rack, wipe it dry, and put it back in your oven.
Dryer Sheets and Ordinary Dishwashing Liquid Combo
This method of cleaning your oven rack is actually a lot easier than your baking soda and vinegar method. Technically you will still be employing the same steps, albeit using different items. For this method you will need dryer sheets because the antistatic material present in the sheets can easily separate food particles from the oven racks by altering the chemical bond. You will also need a dishwashing liquid which has softening agents that will help soften any baked-on materials on your rack.
- Line your bathtub with the dryer sheets.
- Place your oven racks over the dryer sheets and fill your bathtub with warm water, making sure to cover the oven racks.
- Pour about half a cup of your dishwashing liquid soap and allow it to sit overnight.
- Drain the water from the bathtub. Wipe the oven racks using the dryer sheets you’ve used overnight. The combined action of the dryer sheets and the dishwashing liquid should help you remove any unwanted material from your racks.
- Rinse and dry the racks thoroughly before returning them to your oven.
Dishwasher Powder Soap Bath
If you don’t have dryer sheets, then this method should be perfect. Instead of using a liquid formulation of your dishwasher soap, however, you’ll be using powdered granules. Also, you’ll need several old sponges or even old towels. Here’s what you need to do.
- Create mounts in your bathtub for your oven racks to rest on so they don’t touch and scratch your bathtub. You can place old towels or old sponges at the corners for your racks to rest on.
- Place the racks over the sponges or the towels, taking care not to scratch your bathtub.
- Fill your bathtub with hot water until the racks are completely submerged.
- Add about a cup or so of the dishwasher granules and let the setup sit overnight.
- Rinse the oven racks first thing the following morning. You can use the sponge to wipe off the stains or get another piece of clean cloth for scrubbing. If you still get stains, you may want to try using a dish scourer or even an old toothbrush.
- Rinse and dry the racks thoroughly and replace them in your oven.
Trash Bags and Ammonia Technique
For households that do not have a bathtub but have an open space in their backyard, you might want to give this method a try. It’s pretty straightforward. For this method you will need ammonia and plastic trash bag that is large enough to accommodate your oven racks and still have ample space for a really tight seal. You’ll also need a large open space in your backyard, a water hose, and a trash bin.
- Go outside your home and put your oven racks inside the plastic trash bag. Make sure to use an unused plastic trash bag.
- Pour about half a quart of ammonia and seal the opening of the plastic trash bag. Make sure it is completely sealed. You do not want the ammonia fumes to leak out. Leave the bag overnight.
- The following day, wear your safety goggles, mask, and gloves before you even start opening the trash bag. Spray your oven racks with your water hose. This should easily remove any grease, grime, and gunk on your racks.
- Rinse, dry, and put them back in your oven.
Of course, if any of these methods don’t appeal to you, you can always use commercial cleaners. Remember though that most of these products contain harsh chemicals that produce highly toxic fumes. That’s why we strongly recommend using these methods we shared with you first before going full commercial.