I Cleaned My Baking Sheets with a Dishwasher Detergent Pod — Here’s What I Learned

updated Jul 13, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

What if you could rejuvenate a baking sheet without any elbow grease? According to a TikTok that recently went viral, you absolutely can — and you probably already have the necessary ingredients on hand. In the video, the creator puts a dishwasher detergent pod in the center of a dirty baking sheet, then pours boiling water over it. As the hot, soapy water spreads along the sheet, the baked-on food residue lifts from the baking sheet, rendering it totally clean. 

I’m notorious for leaving my cookie sheets in the sink, with all the good intentions in the world to revive them — but no real ideas how. So when I came across a hack that looked this easy, I had to give it a try. I tried it on two of my dirtiest baking sheets: an old aluminum one and a newer nonstick one. I had a hunch the trick would work much better on the nonstick sheet, as burned bits tend to wash off a lot easier on those in general (for obvious reasons).

Credit: Ashley Abramsom

One of the first things I thought to myself when watching the TikTok video was that pouring boiling water onto a shallow baking sheet sitting on the counter looks dangerous! To prevent burns and spills, I put my baking sheets in the sink, one at a time, and made sure not to touch the hot rims in the process. I followed the same steps for each of the baking sheets: Put the sheet in the sink, place the dishwasher pod in the middle, then carefully pour boiling water over it, and hope the grease and gunk loosen up. 

Credit: Ashley Abramsom

It was obvious right away that the stains on the aluminum sheet were more stubborn. The newer burnt-on bits easily slid off when the hot water and soap mixed, but it wasn’t until I turned on the faucet for a rinse that the stuck-on stuff budged. Even afterward, though, the sheet didn’t look much cleaner than it did to begin with. The hack achieved a satisfactory surface clean, but to really revive it (and to get in the corners), I’d still have to scrub with a soapy brush.

Credit: Ashley Abramsom

The nonstick pan, as I guessed, was a totally different story. Pretty much as soon as the boiling water touched the surface — even before the water got super soapy — the baked-on bacon grease and burnt-on bits lifted almost right away. I let the water sit for a little bit (just a few minutes, the same as I had with the other baking sheet), and then I poured out the water. I turned on the faucet and the force from the water removed the rest of the surface grime. Other than some minor discoloration, the pan looked totally clean.

Credit: Ashley Abramsom
The after shot of the pretty clean non-stick pan!

I’ll definitely have to wash the aluminum more thoroughly before I put it away or use it again, but after this hack (and some drying), the nonstick baking sheet was fully clean and ready to use. My verdict: This hack is smart, but it only works on a nonstick pan. Nonstick baking sheets are usually easier to clean than aluminum ones, of course, but I like this if you have a really stuck-on mess — you know, for when you need to call in reinforcements. If you attempt this, just please put the sheets in the sink and protect your hands with an oven mitt or potholder.

Do you have any smart tricks for cleaning baking sheets? Tell us in the comments below.