Ugh, is there anything worse than a dirty oven? If you use the appliance at all, chances are that baked-on grease, sticky grime, and burnt bits are going to accumulate—maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday. While many homeowners are lucky enough to enjoy a self-cleaning oven, that convenience comes with a consequence. Over time, the self-cleaning functionality ends up damaging the racks. To prolong their life, it’s recommended that, when possible, you clean oven racks the old-fashioned way. Fortunately, by using any of the following methods, you can get the job done quickly and with a minimum of hassle.
• Fill the tub with very hot water, just enough to cover the racks. Add up to 1/2 cup of dishwashing soap (or up to 3/4 cup laundry detergent). Let sit overnight.
• Alternatively, sprinkle baking soda over the racks, then douse them with vinegar. Once the foaming stops, submerge the racks in hot water and let sit overnight.
• In the morning, scrub the racks with an old dish towel to remove grease and grime, and use an old toothbrush to dislodge any baked-on grime. For really stubborn bits, add salt to the toothbrush to make the scrubbing more abrasive. Afterwards, rinse the racks thoroughly before returning them to the oven.
Trash Bag Treasure
• Place oven racks into an unused trash bag. Add 1/2 quart of ammonia. Seal the bag and let sit overnight.
• Open the bag in the morning; be wary of ammonia fumes. Rinse the racks thoroughly and replace.
• Because many cleansers produce toxic fumes, if you plan on using a commercial cleanser, clean oven racks outside.
• Cover a work surface with sheet plastic or newspaper. Lay down the oven racks in a single layer.
• Put on rubber gloves, then spray oven cleaner generously onto the racks. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
• Scrub the racks either with a rag or an old toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose before replacing.
It’s a dirty job, but if in your household, you are the person responsible for the task of cleaning oven racks, take heart: It requires only a few common household items, several hours of soaking, and a little bit of elbow grease to get the job done.