Curious to learn how to clean oven racks? Our tips will take the sting out of this painfully dull household chore. Discover what you should do, what you shouldn't do and the different cleaning products you can use.

Two easy ways to clean your oven racks

You can clean your racks in the sink or using the spray method. To help you decide, think about what cleaning products you prefer and how much space you need. 

Even if you have a pyrolytic oven, you might still need to follow one of these methods. Check your user manual to confirm it's safe to leave the racks in the oven during self-cleaning. 

Before you start, remember to turn off your oven and leave it to cool.

Sink method

  1. Fill your sink with warm water and washing up liquid
  2. Leave the racks to soak for a couple of hours (if they’re on the large side, you might need to rotate them after an hour)
  3. Scrub them with your preferred cleaning product before rinsing them under the tap
  4. Let the racks dry before putting them back in the oven

Spray method

  1. Lay the racks on plastic sheet or newspaper (preferably outside because of the fumes)
  2. Spray them with your preferred cleaning product
  3. Leave them overnight
  4. Wipe away the dirt with a cleaning cloth
  5. Rinse the racks with water and leave them to dry

Methods we don’t recommend

Some people like to clean their oven racks with a bin bag and ammonia, but it's easier to follow one of the above methods. This cleaning product is an irritant and must be used in a very well-ventilated area because of its strong fumes.  

Another thing to avoid is cleaning your oven racks in grass. While letting nature do its thing sounds like a great idea, you need something stronger to remove the burnt-on food and grime.

“The moisture in the grass may help remove some debris from the oven racks, but you're unlikely to notice any significant improvements.”

Can you clean oven racks in the bath?

If your kitchen sink is too small for the racks, the bath is a good alternative. Plus, there are other benefits:

  • The racks can be laid flat (so they’re easier to scrub)
  • There's more space so that the racks can be fully submerged
  • You can leave them for a longer time (you don't have to worry about rotating them every so often)

Though there are downsides to this method. You need to be careful not to use a harsh cleaning solution that damages the bath's surface. Also, be mindful of how dirty the racks are. You don't want to spend hours cleaning the bath too.

Once all the debris and grime loosens, it'll go down the plughole. So, use a drain catcher to prevent any blockages.

Can you wash oven racks in the dishwasher?

Oven racks can go in the dishwasher if they fit. And this approach might work if all you need is a light clean. But generally, the dishwasher isn’t great for removing burnt-on food and dirt.

What are the best products for cleaning oven racks?

There are many cleaning products to choose from. It depends on the cleaning solution you’re most comfortable working with. Some prefer chemical cleaners and others choose homemade solutions.

Oven cleaning products

Oven cleaners attack tough-to-remove dirt, so wear rubber gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in the fumes. Before you next use your oven, leave it on a high heat for 20 minutes before cooking any food. This should burn away any trace of the cleaner.

Homemade cleaning solutions

You can make your own cleaning solution by mixing 125 grams of baking soda with enough water to create a paste. Make sure it's not too runny. Then, coat the grates with this mixture.

The next day, scrub off the baking soda and spray white vinegar over the racks. It'll remove any leftover paste.


As mentioned, ammonia is very strong. Standard oven cleaners and homemade products are heavy-duty enough to clean the racks.

But if you’ve tried this product before and feel confident, make sure to use it in an open, ventilated area (ideally outdoors). You should use protective clothing, including gloves and safety glasses.

How to keep your oven racks clean

To keep your racks looking good between deep cleans:

  • Clear away food splatters after your oven's cooled to stop it from baking on
  • Use grill pans and baking trays instead of cooking food directly on the racks

About the author

Charlotte Letch

Charlotte is a resident copywriter at Domestic & General. As well as popping up on the blog, she writes for several different channels across the business. Over the past 7 years, Charlotte has put pen to paper for insurers, jewellers and a homeware brand. Out of the office, she enjoys running, yoga and adding to her ever-growing tattoo collection.

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