I Used Oven Cleaner to Clean My Filthy Baking Sheets — Here’s How It Went
For a few years now, I’ve spent way too much time contemplating the idea of picking up a shiny new set of baking sheets any time they’re out at Costco. I’m not sure what prevents me from following through and buying them.
One thing I do know, though, is that I’m not NOT buying them because my baking sheets are fine. My baking sheets are the ones that were on my wedding registry and they’ve been going strong for nearly 14 years. (Maybe that’s why I can’t replace them?) But they have a remarkable … patina. Over a decade’s worth of cooked-on olive oil from roasted Brussels sprouts and melted butter from countless chocolate chip cookies. They are coated in a dark brown, seemingly untouchable film of oven-baked glaze.
But I love a good kitchen cleaning hack as much as the next person, so when I saw it going around that people are cleaning their baking sheets with oven cleaner, I was eager to try it for myself. Here’s how I did it and how it went.
I pulled out two of my most-used baking sheets. (I figured if it worked, I wanted to have done two at once, but if it didn’t, I didn’t want to waste my time trying it again.) I set them out on my stovetop and sprayed them with a coat of Easy-Off. Then I set the baking sheets in the oven to contain the fumes.
Half an hour later, I got the pans out and was excited to see the tell-tale brown color of the previously white foam, indicating that the Easy-Off was working its magic. I grabbed a wad of paper towels and began to wipe off the dirty foam. So much gunk came off, I was disgusted.
Despite the crud I removed from them, my baking sheets looked only slightly better than they had before the Easy-Off treatment. I decided to try another round and I did the same thing (spray, sit, wipe) again. This time, however, instead of wiping, I decided to scrub with my heavy-duty cleaning sponge. Even more nastiness came off.
Then I remembered seeing that Ashley had used a Brillo pad when she tried Easy-Off on baking sheets, so I tried that. Again, I got a bunch of brown goo up and off my pan.
Related: We Tried 5 Methods for Cleaning Baking Sheets and Found a Clear Winner
Did the Easy-Off work for my really, really dirty baking sheets? Yes. Was it as easy as I thought it’d be? No. It successfully removed several layers of baked-on mess, to the point that I could even see the original color of the baking sheet, but it did take more time than I had thought it would and it required some scrubbing effort on my part. Plus, I was using a lot of chemicals on my baking sheets. The baking sheets that I use to roast organic veggies. (I made sure to wash them thoroughly with dish soap and water after this cleaning exercise!)
I think the moral of the story is to not let your new pans get as dirty as I let mine get! If you care to have pristine baking sheets, use parchment paper liberally when you cook and invest the time and energy early on to get your pans thoroughly clean with each use. I’ll certainly aim to do that if a new set ever makes it through the checkout line.