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cleaning a dirty oven rack

How To Clean Oven Racks

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Oven Cleaning

What’s the most frustrating kitchen item for you to clean?

For a lot of us, it’s the oven racks: they’re incredibly fiddly, with thin wires that can be hard to scrub (especially if they’re caked in grease).

Still, it’s important you clean them regularly, as the grease and food residue can build up to become a health or fire hazard.

But how to clean oven racks, with all their fiddliness? We’ve put together some of the top methods:

There’s always something in the kitchen that needs cleaning, and oven racks are no exception. So stop loafing around (get it?) – grab your cleaning supplies and let’s get scrubbing!


How Often to Clean Oven Racks?

oven rack inside the oven

You can wipe down the racks with a damp cloth after use to minimise the build-up of grease and food debris.

Tackle any spills and other messes immediately – and don’t forget the rest of the oven!

Then once every 3-4 months, deep clean the oven racks when you clean the oven. If you use your oven more frequently, clean it (and the racks) more often.

Of course, if you’ve hosted a huge dinner or want to take chores off your plate, you can get a professional house cleaner to tackle your kitchen (including the oven and racks) for you!


Top Ways to Clean Your Oven Racks

There’s no singular best way to clean oven racks – it depends on how dirty they are and what cleaning supplies you prefer.

Whichever method you choose, always make sure the racks are fully cooled before cleaning.

Use proper precautions (such as wearing rubber gloves), and dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth before putting them back.


Where should you clean your oven racks?

cleaning the oven rack in the sink

It’s most convenient to clean dirty oven racks in the sink since it’s right in your kitchen. However, if your sink isn’t big enough, you can clean oven racks in the bathtub.

Make sure to layer some bin liners or towels in the tub to protect the surfaces. And you may want to clean the bathtub afterwards.

How to clean oven racks without a bathtub? You can use any large container that can hold water, such as a plastic bin. Some innovative homeowners have used wheelbarrows.

Other methods don’t require soaking, so you’ll just need a large garbage bag.

NOTE: Some methods for cleaning oven racks recommend lining the bathtub with dryer sheets. However, they’re not very effective and may leave a residue that could damage the racks or be hazardous in the oven.


How to clean oven racks with dish soap

This cleaning method is most effective for light or everyday cleaning.

Simply wash each oven rack with anti-grease dish soap and warm water. Use a scrubby sponge to scour off any grease and food residue, then rinse thoroughly.

Alternatively, use a dish detergent spray like Dawn Platinum Powerwash or The Pink Stuff Miracle Wash-Up Spray. Spritz it all over the oven rack and let it sit in the sink or tub for 5-10 minutes.

Scrub with a damp sponge, then rinse thoroughly.


How to clean oven racks with a dishwasher tablet

dishwasher tablet on the table

Dishwasher tablets can clean oven racks, but they’re most effective for racks that aren’t too dirty. This method also takes up a lot of time, so be ready for that!

Fill up the sink or bathtub with hot water, then submerge the racks. Toss in 1-2 dishwasher tablets (or dishwasher detergent, if you don’t have the tablet form).

Let the racks soak overnight, then use a cleaning sponge or pad to scrub off the grease and grime. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

NOTE: You can substitute dishwasher tablets with laundry detergent, but it’s not ideal since laundry detergent is formulated for clothes, not cookware.


How to clean oven racks with baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and white vinegar are cleaning powerhouses, tackling everything from microwaves to sinks. Vinegar will help loosen any grime, while baking soda is a mild abrasive for scouring.

However, it’s important to note you shouldn’t use them at the same time, since they’re more effective individually.

Place your oven racks in the sink, tub, or even on the shower floor. Pour some white vinegar (or cleaning vinegar) into a spray bottle, then fully saturate all sides of the racks.

Let them sit for up to an hour. While you’re waiting, make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Apply it to the racks with a sponge, then let the paste sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.

Alternatively, sprinkle baking soda directly onto the racks, then scrub. (And scrub, and scrub some more.)

Rinse the racks thoroughly, then wipe them dry.

This will take some elbow grease and patience – you may have to repeat the process more than once to get each rack fully clean. But if you want a natural way to clean an oven rack, this is a good bet!


How to clean oven racks with aluminium foil

woman's hand unwinds a piece of aluminum foil from a roll

This is a common strategy to clean oven racks in a bathtub! Fill the tub with enough hot water to cover the oven racks.

Wrap each rack in aluminium foil, then submerge them in the tub. Drop a dishwasher tablet in the water – or for heavily soiled racks, place a tablet on top of each one.

Let that all sit for around 2 hours, then drain the tub and remove the racks. Unwrap them, then scrub off the loosened grime and grease with a sponge.

Rinse the racks thoroughly, then dry.


How to clean oven racks with oven cleaner

This cleaning method is great for greasy oven racks or particularly tough grime. You may want to do a test on a small spot to make sure the oven cleaner doesn’t cause discolouration or damage.

Easy-Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner is the popular internet choice as a cleaning agent.

Take a big trash bag – one that’ll fit the oven racks inside. Work outside while wearing protective gear (rubber gloves and a face mask) to keep safe.

Place the oven racks inside the bag, then spray them thoroughly. This helps prevent the oven cleaner from getting onto other surfaces.

Tie the bag shut and let them sit for 30-45 minutes. You can move them around in the bag every so often to ensure all the surfaces are coated.

Once time is up, take out the racks and use paper towels to scrub off all the baked-on grease and food. Give the racks a good wash with warm, soapy water, then rinse in the sink or with a garden hose.

Dry thoroughly before putting them back.

NOTE: This method also works with ammonia instead of oven cleaner. Add half a cup of ammonia into the garbage bag with the racks, then tie it shut and let sit for half an hour.

Never mix ammonia with anything else, and check your local council regulations about proper disposal.


How to clean oven racks with Bar Keepers Friend

You want to use Bar Keepers Friend Powder Cleanser, as it’s safe for use around surfaces in contact with food. Test it on an inconspicuous spot first, just in case!

This method can be a bit messy, but it’s great for removing grease and stubborn stains. It’s also one of the best ways to clean your oven racks quickly.

Make a slightly thick paste with Bar Keepers Friend powder and water. Use a sponge or old rag to apply the mixture all over the oven racks, then let the paste sit for 30-45 minutes.

Rinse the paste off, then wash the racks in some warm, soapy water to clean off any remaining residue. Dry them thoroughly.


More To Know About Oven Rack Cleaning (FAQs)

hand taking the rack from the oven for cleaning

Here are a few other cleaning tips or common questions about cleaning your oven racks.


Can you clean the oven racks with the oven self-cleaning function?

No, you shouldn’t use an oven’s self-cleaning function on your oven racks unless the manual says otherwise.

It’s best to take the racks out if you plan to use this function, as the high heat can damage the racks – especially those made of stainless steel.


How do you get brown stuff off oven racks?

Brown stuff on oven racks is typically baked-on grease or food. Baking soda is great for this – apply a thick baking soda paste, then scrub the racks with a sponge or balled-up aluminium foil.

Wipe the residue off with a damp cloth or wash the racks in soapy water, then dry.


Can you clean an oven rack with Napisan?

Yes, although be careful! Napisan contains oxygen bleach and may degrade the metal of the racks with prolonged use.

Add a cap of Napisan to a sink or tub full of hot water, then soak the racks for 1-2 hours. Wash them thoroughly with dish soap and water afterwards to remove any residue, then dry.


Can you put oven racks in the dishwasher?

Only if your owner’s manual says so – and if they fit!

Still, it’s best to clean your oven racks by hand, especially if they’re particularly greasy or dirty.

About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.