Your oven is one of the things that we forget to clean. If you use it often, a great degree of grime and gunk has probably accumulated on the racks. Although some ovens come with a self-cleaning option, using it isn't advised. Hence, the ideal way to clean your oven racks is to use a little elbow grease and do it the old-fashioned way.

Why You Shouldn't Use the Self-Cleaning Feature

woman cleaning stove

While this feature is convenient, it is not recommended. The Teflon coating can emit toxic fumes when exposed to very high temperatures. When inhaled, it can lead to trouble breathing, coughing, chills, and other symptoms. In addition, the North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association found that the self-cleaning feature has the potential to produce carbon monoxide.

Not only can the self-cleaning feature be harmful to your health but it can be harmful to your oven as well. To explain, temperatures can reach up to 1000 degrees and can cause damage to the interior of your oven, including the racks. The extremely high heat can ruin the shiny finish of the racks. Therefore, it's best to learn how to clean your oven racks by hand.

5 Ways to Get Your Oven Racks Squeaky Clean

Dishwashing Liquid Bath

What You'll Need

  • Bathtub
  • Two old towels
  • 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Two dry towels


  • To prevent your oven racks from scratching the bottom of your tub, lay down old towels.
  • Next, place the racks on the towels and fill your tub with hot water.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid in the water. Using a swishing motion, mix the soap and water with your hand.
  • Let soak the oven racks overnight.
  • After letting them soak, stains and grease should be easy to wipe off.
  • Using your sponge or brush, wipe away the grime.
  • For stubborn grease spots, add a dollop of dish soap and scrub.
  • Rinse the oven racks and dry.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Bath

baking soda and sponge

What You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Dishwashing liquid


  • Line your bathtub with old towels and place oven racks on top.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the racks and then douse them with vinegar.
  • Once the foaming stops, fill the bathtub with hot water.
  • Allow them to soak overnight.
  • After soaking, remove grease spots using a sponge and dishwashing liquid.
  • Rinse, dry, and place the racks back in the oven.

Ammonia Trash Bags

What You'll Need

  • Trash bag
  • 1/2 quart of ammonia
  • gloves
  • safety goggles
  • fume mask


  • Working with ammonia can be dangerous. Therefore, it is important to put on fume mask, safety gloves, and goggles.
  • Then, place oven racks in a large unused trash bag.
  • Pour ammonia in the bag and tie the bag tightly.
  • Lay the racks flat and let them sit overnight.
  • Before you open the bag, ventilate the room by opening windows and put on your fume mask (for safe measures).
  • Open the bag and rinse the racks in the bathtub--the grease should slide right off.

Dishwashing Liquid and Dryer Sheets

What You'll Need

  • Dryer sheets
  • 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid


  • Line your bathtub with dryer sheets and lay your oven racks on top of the sheets.
  • Fill your bathtub with hot water and pour in the dishwashing liquid.
  • Allow for it to sit overnight.
  • After the oven racks are done soaking, drain the tub and use the dryer sheets to wipe the racks clean. The antistatic in the sheets helps to break apart baked-on food and the fabric softening agents soften grease.

Commercial Oven Cleaners

woman cleaning oven rack

What You'll Need


  • Find an open spay to lay down a plastic sheet or newspaper; then, place oven racks on top.
  • Put on safety gloves and spray racks with the oven cleaner.
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Scrub racks with a scrub brush or sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly in the bathtub or with a water hose.

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