Oven racks gather a lot of grease and dirt that are very difficult to remove.
In many cases, ordinary dish soap and water will not work. You will need something stronger to help you clean your oven racks. Baking soda is the way to go.
It is natural, non-abrasive, and non-toxic, characteristics that should really encourage you to use it. When dealing with kitchen equipment, you might want to avoid chemical cleaners because of food.
Chemicals take a long time to clear off fully, and you will not want something that can affect your food adversely anywhere you are preparing food.
The wisest option is to go for natural cleaning products that will do the job just as effectively without affecting the integrity of the equipment or the food you will prepare in the foreseeable future.
For your oven racks, all you need is to soak them in baking soda and warm water for about 12 hours, then wipe them clean with a dry cloth or rag.
Are you surprised? Well, you should not be. Baking soda has properties that can break down grease, food proteins, and stains. Water helps to soften grime and stuck-on food particles so that you can easily clear them off.
The combination of both of them on your oven racks implies sublime cleanliness.
Cleaning Oven Racks in the Bathtub
Not only is baking soda a good natural cleanser, but it is also very affordable and available. You can find it in any store you visit. How do you clean your oven racks with baking soda? You should:
- Fill your bathtub with hot water. Make sure the water can fully submerge your oven racks without any issues.
- Add about 3 cups of baking soda to the water. Although, the amount of baking soda you should use should depend on the size of the bathtub. If the bathtub is small, you need small amounts of baking soda, and if it is large, you will need to add more than 3 cups for effective and efficient cleaning.
- Mix/swirl the mix well to allow the baking soda to dissolve well into the water.
- Place the oven racks into the bathtub. If the water is not enough to fully submerge the racks, then you should add more water to the bathtub to ensure that the racks are fully underwater.
- Soak the racks in the mix for about 8-12 hours straight. During this time, the active ingredients of the baking soda will have acted on the grease and the grime. The water will serve as a softener to allow the baking soda to work effectively.
- After 12 hours, get a rag and wipe down the racks. You can also use a sponge or a stainless steel pad to wipe down the rack. For those tight corners, you can use a scrubbing pad.
- Rinse the racks well in water and use a dry rag to wipe them down again. Make sure that the racks are dry before you place them back into the oven. If you do not dry them well, you might have electrical issues once you connect the source to the oven.
Let’s talk a bit about baking soda. It is a substance that you can easily find around. It does not call much attention to itself like vinegar, but it is capable of producing wondrous cleaning results.
Baking soda is chemically known as Sodium Bicarbonate, and its primary purpose is to leaven baked goods. However, it is edible and can be used as toothpaste or taken in as an antacid.
However, you should not inhale it or allow it to your eyes, as it is very painful.
Read: How To Clean Oven Racks With Dishwasher Tablets
Baking soda is a great cleaning agent because of its alkaline nature. It is this nature that makes it perfect for breaking down food since the grease and food are generally acidic.
Baking soda is also a natural cleaning agent, which means it does not affect the environment adversely.
It softens water by raising the pH, which makes water a better cleaner, and it also neutralizes odor-causing acids, which means you can use baking soda to deal with those ugly smells in your kitchen.
People confuse baking soda with baking powder, but they are two different things.
While both of them are used in baking, baking powder is a mixture of baking soda, an acid component, usually cream of tartar, and an inert buffer, usually cornstarch. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate.
Baking powder cannot be used as a cleaning agent because of its adulterated properties. You must be able to differentiate between the two so that you will not use baking powder to clean your oven racks.
Other methods to clean your oven rack.
If you do not want to use baking soda or you cannot get it around you, then these other methods are perfectly okay to try when you want to clean your oven racks.
They are natural methods and do not require any abrasive or toxic cleaners, which is a good thing for your oven. These methods include:
A. Laying your racks overnight on your lawn
This method might seem unconventional, but it works. It is not guaranteed to give you the best and most perfect of results, but it should help you remove most of the stains if it does not remove all of them.
Lay your oven racks on grass, preferably your lawn, and let it stay overnight.
This will allow it time to loosen stuck-on food and grease with the help of water and dew. In the morning, get a rag and wipe the racks down.
You can use warm water and dish soap to help further clean them in the morning. Make sure you rinse and dry the racks before placing them back into the oven. You can also use this method for dirty grill racks.
B. Dishwasher detergent bath
This is another method that will prove useful if you do not have baking soda around you. Place old towels into the bathtub and place the oven racks on top of the towels in the bathtub.
Fill the bathtub with enough water to cover the racks and fully submerge them. Add a cup of powdered dishwasher detergent and soak overnight.
In the morning, rinse the racks and wipe them dry. Put them back into the oven as they are now ready for use. Detergents have properties that can remove stuck-on grease and food crumbs without any issues.
The soaking overnight will enable the detergent to work its magic.
C. Baking soda and dish soap bath
Place old towels in the bathtub, and place the oven racks into it on top of the towels. Fill the tub with enough water to submerge the racks. Hot water will be preferable in this instance.
Add one cup of baking soda and a half-cup of handwashing dish detergent. Let it soak overnight, and in the morning, wipe it clean and rinse the racks.
Baking soda and dish soap are excellent materials for cleaning racks. Mixing both substances will go a long way to remove the grease and grime on your oven racks.
However, using detergents for one cleaning can be expensive. Therefore, you might want to consider the baking soda option. There are some options people try, but they are not good for the integrity of your oven racks.
Make sure to skip the following cleaning steps:
D. Self-cleaning oven cycle
Running the self-cleaning oven cycle with oven racks inside the oven can be risky. The instructions on the manual state that all oven racks should be removed before self-cleaning.
This is because extreme temperatures can burn food off the oven’s interior.
This heat can damage the oven racks. Self-cleaning can also damage the body of the oven if the racks are left in contact with the walls.
E. Ammonia and trash bags soak.
In this method, you have to place the oven racks in a large and clean garbage bag and pour several cups of ammonia into it.
Shut the bag and let it stay overnight. The fumes of the ammonia will help to loosen the stuck-on food.
After, you can spray the racks with a hose to remove the grime. However, ammonia fumes are deadly to the respiratory system.
You should ensure that you do not inhale the fumes. You will also need to wear safety equipment to protect yourself while handling ammonia.
F. Hot water and ammonia
Preheat the oven and pour ammonia into a heatproof bowl, and place it on the top rack. Place a large pot of boiled water on the bottom rack and let them sit overnight with the oven door closed.
In the morning, use warm water and soap to remove the debris. However, this method is dangerous because of the ammonia fumes that will escape into the home.
Ammonia is also flammable, and the heat can cause an ignition which will result in a fire accident.
Other methods to avoid include mixing baking soda and vinegar and a commercial oven cleaner coating. These methods will work, but the dangers they pose should make you avoid them completely.
Oven Rack Cleaning Tips
For the best results after cleaning your oven racks, try these tips:
- Remove chunks of debris and food crumbs from the racks. Make sure to wipe the racks before you place them in water. By doing this, you will remove some of the stuck-on grime and food build-up, making the racks easier to clean.
- Protect the integrity of your bathtub by placing several old towels under the corners of the oven racks. These towels will prevent any form of scratching from occurring in your bathtub. Make sure to set these towels well so that they can protect the body of your bathtub well.
- Let the oven racks sit in the baking soda and water mix for a long time. If you allow the solution enough time to work its magic, your oven racks will come out looking great. At least you should wait for 12 hours before you rinse and dry the racks.
- Be persistent with the cleaning. If the stains refuse to come out, you can use a more abrasive tool such as a stainless-steel sponge, dish scouring pad, or a toothbrush to scrub every part of the oven rack.
- You should clean the racks first with a dry cloth before rinsing them thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to dry them well and then place them in the oven.
These tips will help you get those dirty and ugly-looking racks to look as good as new. As long as you are patient with the process, you will get results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you clean oven racks with baking soda and vinegar?
The mixture of baking soda and vinegar will not work. Vinegar neutralizes baking soda, which creates the bubbling reaction you see when you mix them.
Baking soda and water are better for cleaning your oven racks. You can include a bit of vinegar in the rinse water.
How do you clean oven racks naturally?
Soak the racks in hot water with many cups of baking soda overnight. In the morning, get a cloth, wipe it clean, rinse, and then dry it.
How do you get baked on grease off oven racks?
Soak the oven racks in a bathtub with hot water and add several cups of baking soda. You should use a stainless steel sponge to wipe them clean. Rinse the racks and dry them after.
How do you clean oven racks without a bathtub?
Get a large container that can contain your racks. If you cannot get one, you can get a container that can accommodate the racks one at a time.
Though this will take time, your improvisation will ensure that you get your racks clean.
You should clean your oven racks regularly, especially when you notice that it is very dirty. If it is possible for you, you should strive to clean your oven racks at least once every week, and with baking soda and water, you cannot go wrong.