Sunday, April 1, 2012

An {Almost} Effortless Way To Clean Your Oven Racks

In yesterday’s post I promised to tell you how I got my oven RACKS clean in addition to the oven itself. My first inclination was to do something similar to what I did with my stove burner pans in this past post: Cleaning Those Nasty Stove Burner Pans. I’ve read several readers’ suggestions to put the oven racks in large plastic trash bags with a splash of ammonia, close them tightly, and leave outside overnight.

But a couple of months ago I ran across THIS little snippet of an idea while I was reading about the many uses for dryer sheets:

An easy way to clean grill grates or oven racks is to line your bathtub with four used dryer sheets, set the grill or oven racks on top and fill the tub with warm water. Let sit overnight and then wipe clean . The power of the antistatic in dryer sheets helps to separate the food from the grates.

For some reason I found this intriguing (even though I don’t even BUY dryer sheets anymore), so I did a little more research on it. Apparently the anti-static agents in the dryer sheets weaken the bond between the food and the pan while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food. Hmmmm….makes sense. Might even be worth buying a cheapo box of dryer sheets to try it out.

 

So that’s what I did.  Bought a box of cheap dryer sheets at the dollar store (I think they literally cost me one dollar), put the oven racks in the bathtub, threw in about 6 or 8 dryer sheets, and covered them with hot water. For good measure I decided to pour in about half a cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid as well. I figured it couldn’t hurt. :-) I let it all soak for about 18 hours. (Although I’m sure it didn’t need to go that long.) Then with the racks still in the tub I “scrubbed” them with the dryer sheets and amazingly almost all the “gunk” came right off! For the extra tough stuff I used a scrub brush, and between the two, 99% of all the “gunk” was gone!

 

Unfortunately I don’t have any “before” pictures of the racks to show you. I KNOW I took some…but for the life of me…I couldn’t find them tonight. But one look at the before pictures of the OVEN from yesterday’s post, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how BADLY they needed cleaning!

But here is a fairly decent “after” picture. (It’s not easy getting good pictures of clean oven racks for some reason.)

 


 

 

And THAT, my friends, is how I got my oven racks shiny and new again!

 

(Now what am I supposed to do with the rest of this box of dryer sheets?)

 

 


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100 thoughts on “An {Almost} Effortless Way To Clean Your Oven Racks

  1. Andrea

    Clean your baseboards! At least, that’s one of the suggested uses I’ve seen for them. I’m personally very fond of the Bounty dryer bar, and haven’t used dryer sheets in a couple years now. A small box would last me months because I could never remember to toss them in. I actually would not be surprised to start unboxing stuff that’s been in storage for the last couple years and find boxes of dryer sheets!

    Reply
    1. Irene Plonka

      Like your idea of cleaning the oven. will definitely try it. Re: rack cleaning, do not
      understand why anyone would use the bathtub to clean greasy, grimy racks.
      Then you have to scrub your tub and avoid the slippery mess?
      I like the black bag method, in summer put the racks in with warm water and ammonia, (or dryer sheets) then leave in the sun for a few hours. Same results?

      Reply
      1. Rebecca

        Well, my yard is totally shade!!! It might work on a very hot day. Yes, I DID realize that after soaking my racks that then I had to clean my tub, but it was time anyway. One thing I did wrong by not paying attention ….. the instructions were to scrub the racks while still underwater. I took mine out and scrubbed them. It was definite harder, and took longer, but still worked. So remember to scrub your racks underwater!!!!!!

        Reply
  2. Kimmylea

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been looking for a way to do this that didn’t involve heavy scrubbing or using smelly ammonia. I just cleaned my oven & haven’t gotten to the racks yet. Perfect timing :-)!

    Reply
    1. Laura

      Um, NEVER rub your pet with dryer sheets! Dryer sheets are toxic. Would you let your child chew on one? No? Then don’t rub your pet with one because they’ll lick those chemicals off of their fur.

      Reply
      1. Anne

        someone said =Would you let your child chew on one? When my son was young, he grabbed one off the couch and was chewing it. I called poison control and they said they had never had a child do that and they had to call the manufacturer to find out what to do! He was into everything!

        Reply
    2. Linda

      One of the reasons canine cancer has increased drastically over the last 30 years is because of all of the chemicals we user in our homes. Think about it. When we spray cleaners, use dryer sheets those chemicals fall down to the floor. Where do our pets live? On our floors. The poor creatures inhale, ingest the chemicals. It’s as simple as that. Do not rub your pets with dryer sheets. Don’t use dryer sheets period. Vinegar in the last rinse cycle will soften your clothes. Save yourself a lot of money and save your pets by not purchasing spray cleaners for your home.

      Reply
      1. AB

        Dryer sheets are a petroleum product and should not be used for anything. I must admit though, I’m tempted to use them in as instructed for cleaning my over racks.

        Reply
  3. Violet

    Hi there! I just found your blog a couple weeks ago, and totally love it! However, in the last few days, there has been a Kia pop-up ad that doesn’t play nice with my tablet, obscuring the entire page on almost every post. This particular ad doesn’t seem to have an option (for me) to close it. It is especially insidious, because I get a tantalizing, 2-second glimpse into your awesome posts, and then it’s all Kia, all the time. As I type this comment, it’s chillin up there, saying, ‘c’mon girl, you don’t want a clean oven rack, you want a shiny new Kia!’

    But I really DO want to clean my oven racks!

    Reply
    1. Violet

      Sorry, I’m an abject moron…when i commented, the resulting page refresh seems to have fixed the Kia problem! I will now hide my head in shame (after I clean the oven racks). Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Stinna

    Use the rest of the dryer sheets to clean your crock pot, it makes them shine and look like new, just soak overnight in hot water with the dryer sheets.

    Reply
  5. Anne

    I have heard that you can clean you baseboards with fabric sheets but I have not tried it. But when I went to Africa, I packed the sheets all between my clothes. Everyday when I dressed, I would rub one over my arms and legs. I have been 3 times and never bitten by mosquitoes. Everyone else was bitten many times! So I know that it does work to repel mosquitoes. Unfortunately, my husband hates the small but I still keep them and put one in my picket when I go outside in the evening!
    Do you know how to make a trap to catch carpenter bees? They are all around our porches and deck and we can’t find the holes. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Evelyn

    I like putting a drier sheet inside my vacuum cleaner. When it runs, it spreads that lovely smell everywhere it goes. Drier sheets make great sachets for underwear drawers.

    Reply
  7. Sade

    Hi Jill, thanks for all your hard work and great posts on cleaning! Thanks to you, my kitchen floor (Vinyl) that’s 20+ years old looks brand new!-I’m loving it! I am so inspired by all your cleaning tips. Love the baking soda for deoderant-it works great. To the comment about using a dryer sheet on your pets-when they ‘clean’ (lick) themselves, they will ingest the toxic dryer sheet chemicals. Same goes if you rub the dryer sheet on your skin–our skin absorbs 60% of everything we put on it. I try to remember what I heard once, from a crunchy granola friend : If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put put on your skin. Makes sense to me. Now I’m actually looking forward to cleaning my oven racks! Love your Website!

    Reply
  8. Jule Barta

    Have to say love the new look of your site. I have used cheep dryer sheets for years, mainly to remove static in the dryer. My mother taught me to cut them in half to save money and to use the used dryer sheet to quickly dust the TV screen and other electronics so you get double duty from one product. When I pack up winter clothes/blankets/etc I put in a dryer sheet so they smell fresh and clean when I use them next year. For mosquito I heard you put them in your pockets instead of rubbing them on your skin, but I just take a vitamin B6 when I plan to be out and very rarely get bit. (We don’t have much of a problem in CA).

    Reply
  9. Suzanne

    OMG! and I just spent 2 days working on my oven racks…soaked in ammonia in a trash bag, laid out on the grass overnite, scrubbed..they’re ok but I even have those same dryer sheets and dawn and I think it would have been less work…next time!

    Reply
  10. Lynda

    Give those used and unused dryer sheets to an artist friend who will dye them and put them in her/his art! I quit using them but have a big supply to play with. Thanks for the oven rack tip but we don’t have a tub!

    Reply
    1. vickie

      Lynda, I’ll bet the dryer sheets in garbage bags would work for you. I wonder how drier sheets would work on gas stove burner grid thingies, you know, those things you set the pots and pans on to cook.

      Reply
  11. Kim in Michigan

    I use up the used dryer sheets as a foundation for either paper piecing fabric or when making string or strip blocks. That work great!
    Thanks for the tip on cleaning the oven racks! i plan on going to check out the how to clean the “Stove burner pans” Next! I love your Blog!

    Reply
  12. Justoleme

    I place a dryer sheet in the return of the a/c. I’ve also placed them under the sofa cushions and under the car seats. A half sheet gets fluffed in the dryer with the clothes I’ve had in storage.

    Reply
  13. Bennie

    You can stuff your smelling shoes with the sheets to help take away the odor. Also, you can rub the sheets on your clothes if there is static cling on dresses, coats, etc., your hair too.

    Reply
  14. Jillee Post author

    Wow! I am IMPRESSED! So many great ideas. I think I definitely will find uses for the rest of this box. :-) Thanks everyone. Glad you liked the post. I’m just glad it’s over. ;-)

    Reply
  15. Amber

    Dust your blinds with the fabric sheets as well as your baseboards! I like to dust off my blinds with them and then go back w/ a damp cloth (dipped in a dawn/vinegar mix) to clean any finger/grease spots on the blinds! Smells good too! Works like a charm!

    I just barely started reading your site the other day and I am HOOKED! You do so many things that I’m interested in doing or would do! Thank you for your time spent sharing your tricks!!!!!

    Reply
  16. Tanya Leavitt

    Cool I was wondering if it would be a great idea to do this with my bbq grates? they are so much worse than my oven (granted my oven needs it too)…

    Reply
  17. Jules

    Love the dryer sheet ideas. As to the BBQ grates, we have a smoker that has 3 round ones. After being used they are so gross, stuck on greasy food, charred to the grates. I use to soak in my sink, turn, soak, scrub, scrub. Now I stick them in my dishwasher…OMG no more scrubbing!!! They come out so clean!

    Reply
  18. Beth

    Someone above mentioned using dryer sheets for mosquito repellent…I’ll try that!! But I do know that they repel gnats. Wear a dryer sheet under a golf cap, and it’ll keep pesky gnats out of your face all day! (Yes, I thought it was crazy, too…but it works!)

    Reply
  19. Bex

    Thank you so much for this tip! I’ve never been able to get the oven racks as clean as I would like them, so today when I cleaned the oven I grabbed my (very old) box of dryer sheets and headed to the bathroom with the oven racks. Even with a self-draining bath (the plug wasn’t very tight fitting) the effect of the dryer sheets and dish soap on the racks was amazing! Will definitely keep this tip in mind for future oven cleaning, and will be sure to tell all my friends about it too!

    Reply
  20. catloveschanel

    Well, respectfully submitted, my husband, the plumber is afraid of Dawn Dishwashing for “other uses”. He is not afraid of all kinds of other chemicals, so I wondered about that. I was going to clean my wedding ring with it and he said, “there’s some strange chemicals in there and it might do some damage.” So I looked it up and it has amonia and silver nitrates. Then I googled some more and someone mixed it with another unknown chemicals and they started getting headaches. Just my two cents.

    Reply
  21. Dottyandtoto

    Does it matter if your oven is gas or electric? I’ve read other really good tips for cleaning the inside of the oven but was warned that it was for ELECTRIC only. And, of course, I have a gas range.

    Reply
  22. Angela

    Ugh. This was a bomb. I not only wasted several dryer sheets (16 total!), but I now have a disgusting mess awaiting me up in the tub. Hardly none of the gunk came off of my racks, and they have been soaking since six last night. I even used the same sort of dryer sheets and some Dawn. Totally grossed out and bummed out.

    Mistake! :(

    At least the oven cleaner worked wonders! :)

    Reply
  23. Gail Potter

    I have never tried the dryer sheets in the bathtub to clean the grill racks, but I’ve been using oven cleaner on them for years. I spray them well on both sides with oven cleaner and put them in a tall kitchen garbage bag and leave them outside for 24 hours. I open the bag and simply hose off all of the gunk, totally effortless.

    Reply
  24. Stephani

    Tie the dryer sheets around a craft ring for a great smelling and pretty wreath. When you have food stuck on pan do the same thing put the dryer sheet in it and soak, coes right off. HTey work great for calming frizzy hair :-) I bet you could find a whole blogs worth of uses for them :-)

    Reply
  25. michelle

    dryer sheets are good for keeping bees away while gardening, safety pin one to your clothes while outside and they will leave you alone. work well in a vacumme too as an air freshner while vacumming!

    Reply
  26. Hillary Vogelzang

    When I fly I ALWAYS put a dryer sheet in my carry on. Flying always adds static to my clothes and hair. When I land I pull it out and give my hair a quick rub, no more static. Also for longer flights I will give my seat a quick rub down to take the static out and I sleep much better.

    Reply
    1. Jillee Post author

      Funny you should ask about that Rebecca. I just did this on my WeberQ grill. It was in MUCH worse shape than my oven racks….so it took longer and more elbow grease…but it came out beautifully! I wish I’d thought to take a picture! darn! Next time. :-)

      Reply
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  28. Diana

    Jillee,
    Did you know that your link for cleaning drip pans with ammonia is gone. Boy this stinks. I just put the ammonia in a zip top bag last night. guess I’m on my own for now. Please fix this link!

    Reply
  29. Colleen

    I use cheap dryer sheets to remove burned or hardened food from pots and pans. Simply put a sheet in the pan and add hot water. Soak for a while and wash as usual. (overnight for the real tough ones). The food loosens and comes right out! It has never failed me!

    Reply
  30. Susie Homemaker

    Jill – This is a brilliant tip! I was kinda skeptical when I read your suggestion but it worked amazingly well. I tossed in about 6 dryer sheets for four racks, added some diswashing liquid as you suggested and let them soak for 24 hours. Then I took them outside and hosed them off. Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Linda

    After reading all of your comments the dryer pads,peroxide,and baking soda cleaned my pans. Then I self cleaned the inside of my electric stove with the racks in and now it looks new. No scrubbing at all. I let it clean for 3 hours and I feel like I have a brand new oven.

    Reply
  32. Colleen

    Don’t throw away those used dryer sheets from your dryer. We use it to scrub our glass shower doors. Whatever is left on the sheets helps to remove those hard water spots! Last person to use the shower wipes the doors before coming out.

    Reply
  33. I used the dishwasing powder...1/2 cup and filled the bath tub with water to cover the racks...I am amazed how easily the shined up...I think I do it again to clean the nooks and crannies!

    I used the dish washing powder…1/2 cup and filled the bathtub with warm water to cover the rack. I’m amazed!
    I will do another treatment to loosen the grime from the nooks and crannies. Thank you. I’m a believer.

    Reply
  34. SteveP

    Dryer sheets are a great mouse repellant. I stuff my antique car with them when I put it in storage. [Under hood, under seats, in vents.] Works great, the mice seem to decide on going somewhere else for their winter nesting [and chewing]

    Reply
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