How to clean oven trays, it’s the age-old question, and yet we still seem to be flummoxed as to how to keep our baking trays sparkling clean. After years of trying to keep my oven trays fresh, I eventually came up with a fail-proof way to keep your oven dishes and sheet pans in tip-top condition without too much hard work and elbow grease.
Sticky oven trays mean that it’s time to get cleaning, so follow these tips to say goodbye to dirty baking sheets forever!
How to clean oven trays
Five top tips
- Stay away from non-stick pans
The first and most important step is to choose the correct type of baking pans and oven trays. You can’t scour non-stick baking trays and oven dishes, so you often find that some baked-in grease is tough to remove. It then becomes a stubborn build-up, which eventually becomes impossible to shift.
I cannot bear non-stick trays and pans. I think are more trouble than they are worth because they are so difficult to keep clean. As long as you have a well-greased baking tray, you shouldn’t have any problem with your food sticking to the pan or oven dish.
We often pay very little heed to how easy it is to clean our baking trays when purchasing a new one.
Now, it’s the first question I ask myself before I spend my money on a new one. I tend to buy most of my oven trays from a catering warehouse, like Bookers, as they are good value and super simple to keep clean. No restaurant wants to serve food from dirty oven dishes, so they buy the easiest dishes to clean, and these are the ones I prefer to buy.
- Prevent the build-up of grease
Most of the time, when people come to me asking how to clean oven trays, it’s almost always too late to save their dishes as the damage has been done. The buildup of months, sometimes even years of grease and baked-on food is virtually impossible to remove, especially on non-stick surfaces where it is impossible to scrub.
The secret to cleaning baking trays is to ensure that there is absolutely no grease or food residue left on the outside or inside of the oven tray every time you wash it, not so simple with a non-stick tray. Do you see where I’m going with this?
- Choose glass, ceramic, stoneware, or aluminium
You have to be able to use steel wool or a scouring pad to remove any baked-on food when cleaning your ovenware, using glass dishes, ceramic or aluminum makes it so easy to get right in and scrub away, enabling you to remove every single bit of food each time you wash the dish. This stops the baked-in the greasy film that you often see on your baking trays and you will always have sparkling clean dishes just like me!
- Use a steel scrubber
Use a steel scrubber and a little bit of dish soap to clean your oven trays and baking sheets, apply firm pressure and scrub until all food and grease residue is removed, then rinse and dry as usual it’s as simple as that. Don’t be tempted to leave any bits as it will cause you more significant problems in the long run.
You already know how I like the good old-fashioned ways to clean, well this is definitely one cleaning tool I love to use. It’s absolutely effortless to keep dishes and trays clean and using a steel scrubber one of my favorite oven tray cleaning hacks, but remember you can’t use them on non-stick pans and trays!
- Wash dishes by hand
I prefer to wash my dishes by hand as I find that the dishwasher doesn’t always clean baking trays and oven dishes very well. They are often left with bits of grease and food stuck to them, which then sometimes get put away without being fully clean which then gets cooked in and becomes impossible to remove.
- Always use a high quality dish soap
Using a good quality dish soap like this one will help to break down and remove the grease better than a cheaper product.
How to clean non-stick baking trays
That’s how I ensure that I have clean oven trays and baking sheets, but what about those nasty non-stick baking trays that you have at home that you can’t scrub?
How to clean oven trays with baking soda and vinegar
- Mix 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup white vinegar with hot water
- Submerge your oven trays, and leave for half an hour minimum.
- Allow the fizzing process to work the baked-on grease loose
- Use a non-scratch scrubber to work the stains loose.
How to clean oven trays with dishwasher tablets
- Soak the baking tray in boiling water
- Drop a dishwasher tablet into the water.
- Allow the tray to sit for approximately an hour or more depending on how bad the build-up is.
I find this method ok for recent baked-on food, but I’ve never successfully cleaned really stubborn baked-on grease. I found that you still had to use a non-scratch scrubber to loosen off the remainder.
How to clean baking trays with 2p coins
This involves soaking your cookie tray with a 2p and hot water for 30 minutes. Then you use the 2p coin to get rid of the burnt-on grease by scraping it over the surface of the tray. I tried this with an old oven tray and was hugely disappointed. You are using the 2p as you would a paint scraper to scrape off the food rather than dissolve it. I found this method rather tedious and it would have been much quicker if I used my steel scrubber or some aluminum foil. I’m not at all sure this method is suitable for non-stick oven trays.
Elbow Grease Degreaser
I find that it only removes about 75% of burnt-on food and that there is always some residue left behind you will need to scrub with a non-scratch dish brush to remove what’s left.
How to clean baking sheets with washing powder
This is a great method to clean oven trays and baking sheets and one I often use if I’ve burnt a pan and it is totally black.
- Soak the offending item in a sink full of boiling water
- Add half a cup of washing powder to the water
- Leave for half an hour or more
- You should find that most of the burnt food has floated off onto the surface of the water.
- Repeat the process if it hasn’t all come clean.
- Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda onto your tray,
- Cover with hydrogen peroxide
- Add another layer of baking powder
- Leave to stand for half an hour.
- Wipe the grease away with a sponge or paper towel.
- You may need to repeat the process if necessary.
How to keep your oven tray clean
- Clean your dishes immediately after use, don’t be tempted to leave them overnight as this will harden any food and make it more difficult to remove.
- Do not put the dishes in the dishwasher. This can lead to food being missed during the dishwashing process.
- Avoid using non-stick trays.
- Keep scrubbing even if you can’t be bothered to, don’t leave caked-on food and grease to build up into a bigger problem.
- Buy dishes that are easily cleaned with a stainless steel scrubber, cleaning paste, or steel wool.
- Glass, pyrex, and aluminum are all good choices.
- Use high-quality dish soap and a steel scrubby
- Clean baked-on food immediately before it has a chance to set hard.
- Wash by hand rather than using the dishwasher to ensure all the dishes are immaculate every time
- Do not put dishes away that still have food cooked onto them, it’s easier to clean fresh grease than a month’s worth of neglected grease.
- Stay away from non-stick pans, oven dishes, and baking trays as you can not scrub them clean.