How To Clean Oven Racks in the Bathtub

updated Sep 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

Whether or not you’re planning on hosting Thanksgiving dinner, now is a great time to give your oven a little overhaul. I’ve already shown you how to clean your oven with a mix of baking soda and vinegar. And now, we’re going to tackle those oven racks and rid them of any grime so that they don’t mar your newly cleaned oven. It’s easy to do, and a project you can take on right alongside your oven cleaning!

If you have a bathtub and dishwasher detergent, you are set. The hardest part about this process is the inactive time, but it’s worth it: The soaking of the racks aids in softening up the accumulated gunk, making it easier to wipe and gently scrub off. I barely had to use any force, and my racks are now cleaner than they have been in years.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

I usually find it hard to scrub my oven racks — not because I’d prefer to ignore them, but because they are in constant use. It made me a little bit nervous to set aside an entire 12 hours where my oven was going to be out of commission. I took a deep breath, remembered I owned a slow cooker (hello, quick and easy dinner!), and got to work.

So, let’s draw these oven racks a nice, long bubble bath and make them shiny again!

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Get your oven ready: If you usually keep any pots or pans in your oven, take ’em out. You’re going to be pulling your racks out completely! (Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

How To Clean Oven Racks in the Bathtub

What You Need

  • Two old towels
  • Bathtub
  • Hot water
  • Kettle (optional)
  • Dishwasher detergent (powdered or liquid)
  • Non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge
  • Bar Keepers Friend (if needed)
  • Dry towels


  1. Get your oven ready: If you usually keep any pots or pans in your oven, take ’em out. You’re going to be pulling your racks out completely!
  2. Lay down some towels: Line the bottom of your bathtub with two old towels. This is very important to prevent the oven racks from scratching your bathtub. Then, pull out your oven racks and place them on the towels. While I was at it, I threw my toaster oven racks in there, too.
  3. Cover the racks with hot water: Fill your bathtub with very hot water until the oven racks are covered. If you have to, use a kettle and your tub’s faucet.
  4. Grab your dishwasher detergent: Measure out a 1/2 cup of dishwasher detergent. You can use either powder or liquid. I used liquid.
  5. Add the detergent to the bath water: Swish it around. Allow the racks to soak for at least four hours, or overnight.
  6. Brush off any remaining gunk: After soaking, gunk and stains on the racks should be soft and easy to wipe off. Use a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge.
  7. Add some cleaner: If there are any remaining tough spots, add a little bit of Bon Ami or Bar Keeper’s Friend to your scrubbing.
  8. Rinse and dry: Rinse with water and dry completely.
  9. Return your racks: Slide your clean oven racks back into your oven! All done!