This Hack Made My Crusty, Greasy Oven Racks Sparkle — In Only a Few Minutes

published Sep 7, 2023
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Cleaning material and aluminum foil to be used on the oven rack.
Credit: Meg Asby

Apparently, oven racks are supposed to be cleaned every three months. I missed that adulting memo somewhere along the way, and I’m in more of a three-year cycle instead, relying heavily on the “self-clean” feature of my oven, which I take literally. I (clearly) didn’t spend much time thinking about the state of my oven racks, until I saw this super-satisfying TikTok from Jodie Prosser on how to clean them. 

Thanks to The Pink Stuff and a wadded-up ball of aluminum foil, her oven rack goes from spotty brown to shimmering silver, as if by magic. The best part? Prosser writes in the caption, “so easy [it] literally took me 5 minutes.” I was sold. 

Credit: Meg Asby

The Pink Stuff, as you know if you’ve scrolled #CleanTok for even a moment, is an über-popular, affordable, mildly abrasive multi-purpose cleaner. Think of it like a Magic Eraser, but in cute Barbie-pink paste form. And if you didn’t already know, aluminum foil, which you likely have on hand, is a great alternative to steel wool, and it has lots of other smart uses in the kitchen.

On my first swipe of pink paste and foil, I was shocked at the transformation. I did not know my oven racks could be returned to their former glory without some sort of chemical stripping or, you know, time travel. I kept asking my family members to come look. (They begrudgingly did and were also impressed.)

Credit: Meg Asby

Did it take five minutes, as promised? Well, no, but I do believe Prosser’s claim. Her oven rack is all straight lines, and I think I could have cleaned hers in five minutes, too. What kept me scrubbing for five times longer than Prosser were all the points where perpendicular lines met in a “T” on my rack. (Also, perfectionism.) So basically, it depends on your oven racks. 

Credit: Meg Asby

If you clean your racks on the recommended three-month cycle, it will probably take you five minutes and one ball of foil. However, if, like me, you’re cleaning your racks after years of neglect, it may take a few balls of aluminum foil and some extra time. I will say the time was spent happily, and there’s nothing more satisfying than watching the racks go from brown to sparkling silver. The only pertinent negative was the mess — pink paste was everywhere and my hands were very dirty, as if all the brown spots were transferred from the rack to the foil ball to my fingers directly. Note to self (and to reader): Gloves wouldn’t be a bad idea. 

If you hate the idea of throwing aluminum foil in the trash, I hear that. You could try this hack with the Pink Stuff and a microfiber cloth or a sponge, too. Or you could just close the oven door. That’s what I used to do.