Want to know how to clean oven racks and get them silver and shiny again? Then read on for the best way to clean oven racks!
Forget about commercial oven cleaners and find out the most effective way and the easiest way to clean baked-on food. This is one of my favorite cleaning methods for sticky grime and the best method to get the oven racks clean.
Bar Keeper’s Friend is the most effective method for getting those stainless steel racks clean.
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This post is sponsored by Bar Keepers Friend but all opinions are my own.
Cleaning an oven is a royal pain.
Even if you remove the door from the oven (which is actually quite easy to do, at least on my oven) you still have to reach in there and scrub all the sides and rinse and scrub and rinse some more.
I’m sure some of you think cleaning an oven is actually super easy because you have a handy button on your oven that says “Auto Clean” or something similar.
But, I am not a fan of using the self-cleaning oven feature on my oven, even though our apartment oven has that option. It stinks up the whole house as you blast away spills and grease. Plus, there are other dangers of self-cleaning ovens like carbon monoxide buildup and PTFE toxicosis (which are dangerous to birds).
That’s why a long time ago I started using baking soda to clean my oven. It does a pretty great job, is home, air, kid and pet-friendly. It may leave a little baking soda film behind, but it’s way better than me inhaling fumes that could hurt me long-term… especially right now as I’m very pregnant.
I prefer to avoid such risks as much as I can.
But, I don’t clean my oven racks with baking soda.
While I’m sure baking soda would work somewhat on my oven racks, the oven racks are not the same material as the interior of an oven. The inside of an oven is usually metal with a porcelain or ceramic enamel coating which is much easier to clean than the stainless steel wires of an oven rack.
But, do you know what is good at cleaning stainless steel? Bar Keepers Friend.
I love Bar Keepers Friend and have used it all around my house and especially in the kitchen. I’ve seen it do some pretty amazing things! I figured it would also work wonders on my oven racks too.
But, if you’ve ever attempted to clean oven racks, you know that they can be a pain to clean by hand! There are so many rows to scrub, it’s too large to soak in your kitchen sink (or at least most people’s kitchen sinks), and you can to clean both sides and the edges. It’s why many people, erroneously, clean oven racks in a self-cleaning oven cycle.
Leaving the oven racks in the oven during a self-cleaning cycle damages the metal, making them lose their original color, makes them decidedly less shiny, and harder to slide in and out of your oven.
I like shiny metal (it just looks cleaner), so I wanted to find the best way to clean oven racks!
I have tried several popular ways of cleaning oven racks, like putting the oven racks in a garbage bag with a 1/2 cup of ammonia overnight and then scrubbing them the next day. This actually works fairly well and is one of my preferred ways of how to clean oven racks. But, it didn’t usually clean the racks 100%.
And that’s when I think having and using Bar Keepers Friend on oven racks makes so much sense!
Course, I have yet to soak my oven racks in my bathtub overnight with various cleaning agents which is also a fairly popular way of cleaning oven racks. (I’m worried that after cleaning the oven racks in my tub that I’d then have to clean my bathtub too, which I also don’t love to do!)
But, I thought that I’d try a mild cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend and see how well it compared to other things I’ve tried and see if it still comes out shiny in the end (even though I’m pretty sure these oven racks have been through at least one self-cleaning oven cycle).
I’ve made a Youtube video to show you how to clean oven racks with Bar Keepers Friend and have the written step-by-step instructions below too. You can see my real before and after pictures for yourself too.
How to Clean Oven Racks with Bar Keepers Friend
What to Use to Clean Oven Oven Racks
In order to clean oven racks, you’ll need the following:
- Dirty and greasy oven racks
- Bar Keepers Friend (Foam or Liquid – here’s where to find Bar Keepers Friend)
- Green Scour Pads
- Steel Wool
- Razor Blade
- Rubber Gloves
You can see my dirty oven racks in the following pictures. And I apologize that my oven is also dirty in these pictures! Just keeping it real.
My 8-months pregnant self really doesn’t want to scrub inside the oven at the moment! It was work enough to stand at the sink to clean the oven racks!
Instructions on How to Clean Oven Racks
How to clean oven racks with Bar Keepers Friend
- Gather your materials and then wet your oven racks in your sink.
- Shake your liquid Bar Keepers Friend bottle and then squirt it out onto a wet scour pad or steel wool pad.
If using steel wool, put on rubber gloves to protect them from getting little steel slivers (learn from my mistake there!).
- Rub down the entire oven rack with your pad, making sure enough Bar Keepers Friend is covering it as you go.
Apply more to your pad or steel wool as needed.
- Let sit for a minute or two.
- Now scrub vigorously with the steel wool (preferred) pad, adding more Bar Keepers Friend if needed/wanted.
Take your time and go up and down each rung, scrubbing the dark spots harder (though some may require you to come back and do a second pass). Do the edges as well.
- Flip over your oven rack and clean the underside the same way, scrubbing each rung one at a time.
- Rinse the rack with water.
Get a clean cloth or clean green scouring pad and scrub and rinse each rung. Flip over the rack and repeat the wiping down with water process.
- If dark, sticky, black, burnt spots remain, you can try a more abrasive steel wool pad, or use a razor blade (like me) and gently slide it up and down the rungs of the racks to remove them.
Then go back with a little more Bar Keepers Friend, making sure to rinse again once spot is removed.
- Repeat the whole process again on the second (or more) oven racks you have in your oven (or save them for another day, like I did!).
- Dry the oven racks and put them back into your oven. And admire their shine once again!
How to Clean Oven Racks Easily
Scrubbing my oven racks took a long time, like 10-15 minutes of active scrubbing (course I was taking pictures and videos at the same time, and had to sit down cause I’m large with child) and I only did one rack in that time period!
Really, I think the best way to clean oven racks has to be a combination of various cleaning method.
I would recommend getting a tough, black, huge garbage bag (because I’ve had lots of other bags, even non-tear ones, rip from the oven racks and then leak ammonia out) and putting a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of ammonia inside the bag with your oven racks, tying it shut tight, and then putting that bag outside in the sun for several hours to overnight (where you can’t smell the ammonia fumes and it won’t matter if it leaks).
Then, bring your bag with the oven racks in it inside after several hours or the next day, dump the ammonia down the sink, dispose of the bag, and then wipe down the rungs of the oven racks with a sponge. Most of it should easily flake off and not require much elbow grease at all.
Then rinse the racks really well with water, dry, and then apply Bar Keepers Friend with a clean sponge (don’t mix the ammonia and Bar Keepers Friend together!) to the oven racks to remove all the remaining tough spots on the rack.
The ammonia is certainly an easy way to clean oven racks, without much elbow grease or direct scrubbing, and the Bar Keepers Friend does a great job of getting lingering grease and grime off the oven racks.
And you won’t have to clean your bathtub afterward. Or damage the metal by using the self-cleaning oven feature. Or use other harsher (and more expensive) fume-heavy oven cleaners.
Will the self-cleaning function in my oven clean my oven racks?
The self-clean cycle is great to have as a self-cleaning feature, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the right cleaning solution for your oven racks. It might loosen up baked-on grease and baked-on gunk, but it really won’t get rid of all the food residue.
The simple steps listed above are the best method and easy tips to get clean racks. You really need minimal effort to get rid of the built-up grime, and the stuck on pieces of food and grime will wipe clean. Tough stains are no issue. I love that it’s just a minimal amount of work to have an easy off solution for grime. You’ll be able to put the clean racks back into the interior of the oven and see them looking clean!
For more great ways for how to clean with Bar Keepers Friend in the kitchen, check out these posts too:
Lauralee Hensley says
Thanks for the info. I’ll have to do this. Just got a new stove.
Marilyn Jacobs says
How do I clean the hot coil on the bottom of my oven? I have no idea what it is made of because it is a matte finish and sort of a dark gray or possibly black finsih. Could use some help here.
TIP: turn on your Self Cleaning Function, and be done with the hole process… effortlessly.
I have been around self cleaning gas ovens for 50 years (Yes. That’s right. Gas ovens had self cleaning functions back then). None of my family members were ever harmed by the so-called “harmful Fumes” that some worry so much about. Our home was never contaminated with “dangerous” chemicals. Plus, the self cleaning mode never caused any health issues to our pets, including 2 parakeets.
Using the self cleaning mode is easy-peasy. When it’s done, just sweep out the ashes and BAM… job completed.