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How to Clean a Baking Sheet (Six Easy Methods)

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Remove layers of grease with these six easy methods.

Baking sheets — also known as baking trays or cookie sheets — can become dirty, rusty, and stained. If you want to get yours looking brand new again, we are here to help.

We’ll show you how to clean a baking sheet using six tried and tested methods. Most of these items you’ll already have in the house, so there’s no need to run to the store.

Let’s restore your baking sheets and get them sparkling and shiny once again!

How to Clean a Baking Sheet With Baked-On Grease

Add boiling water and a few tablespoons of baking soda to the pan. Swirl it around, so it’s evenly distributed. Add a few drops of dish soap. Soak the pan overnight. In the morning, scrub it with a microfiber cloth or Brillo Pad. Wash it well with warm soapy water and dry it with a dishtowel.


Can You Make a Baking Sheet Look New Again?

Yes, depending on what the baking sheet is made of and trusting that you only use it for baking. You should be able to get it looking almost as good as new again.

However, remember that some materials — such as cast iron — can’t be scrubbed shiny. These accumulate a seasoning layer which is essentially layers of oil that build up over time.

We actually don’t want to remove this seasoning. Seasoning can create a natural non-stick coating, making cleaning the sheet and removing food from it easier.

This usually happens with oily food like potatoes, vegetables, and meat. We recommend keeping certain sheets for baked goods and a separate one for savory items.

How to Clean a Baking Sheet

When cleaning a baking sheet, we have many options for you to try. Let’s look at six methods depending on your favorite cleaning products and what you already have in the cupboard.

With Baking Soda

The first tried and tested method is baking soda. We love it in our house — it’s great at removing stains easily and naturally. This works on aluminum, aluminized steel, and non-stick cookie sheets.

  1. Make a paste: Mix together equal parts baking soda and water in a bowl. You might need to adjust the quantities slightly to ensure the paste is thick but easy to spread. Mix it well.
  2. Apply: Apply the paste to the baking sheet using a spoon.
  3. Soak: Let the baking soda paste soak onto the sheet for 30 minutes.
  4. Scrub: Use a nylon scrubbing brush to scrub the baking sheet, mainly focusing on stained and discolored spots.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse the baking sheet under warm water to remove the baking soda residue and air dry on a drying rack.

With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda is excellent on its own but increases its power when it is combined with vinegar. Vinegar can remove mold, stains, and odors.

  1. Add baking soda: Sprinkle ¼ cup of baking soda over the tray evenly. You might need a bit more for larger baking sheets.
  2. Add vinegar: Add the same amount of distilled white vinegar. Don’t panic when it starts bubbling and fizzing! This is normal.
  3. Fill a sink: Fill a sink with hot water and add the sheet to the water for one hour. Halfway through, flip it around if the whole sheet doesn’t fit in the sink at one time.
  4. Scrub: Remove the baking sheet from the water and scrub it well with a microfiber cloth or non-abrasive sponge. This will remove loosened dirt, debris, and stains.
  5. Clean the sheet: Clean the sheet with regular dish soap and warm water.
  6. Rinse and dry: Rinse it well, and air dry it on a drying rack.

With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is terrific at cleaning off stubborn stains and discoloration. If you need a deep cleaning of your baking sheets — this is the product for you.

  1. Pour hydrogen peroxide: Pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto the baking sheet and let it sit for up to two hours.
  2. Add baking soda (optional): For extra cleaning power, add a layer of baking soda to the hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Scrub clean: After two hours, use a sponge or cloth to scrub the sheet clean and wipe off the loosened dirt. Repeat if necessary.
  4. Wash: Wash the baking sheet with warm water and dish soap.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse the baking sheet well and dry on a drying rack.

Testing Hydrogen Peroxide

Test the hydrogen peroxide in a conspicuous spot on your baking sheet to ensure it doesn’t cause damage. Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide is not always food-grade, though you can buy food-grade hydrogen peroxide. We recommend that for this method — but if you don’t manage to find it, ensure you wash and rinse the baking sheet extremely well.

With Ammonia

Are you wondering how to clean a cookie sheet with tough stains and residual food residue? Ammonia can do the trick, but it is a harsh chemical, so be sure to wear protective gloves, goggles, and a mask.

Make sure you don’t use this method for non-stick baking sheets or aluminum. Only use it for aluminized steel.

  1. Bag your sheets: Put the baking sheets in a plastic or garbage bag.
  2. Add ammonia: Add ½ cup of ammonia to the bag and seal it shut.
  3. Leave the bag: Leave the bag outside on a sunny day for 12 hours. This gives the ammonia time to work down the grease and food residue.
  4. Remove sheets: While outside and wearing your mask, gloves, and goggles, remove the sheets from the bag. Dispose of the ammonia and trash bags.
  5. Scrub: Use steel wool to scrub the baking sheet to remove loosened stains.
  6. Wash: Wash the baking sheets in warm soapy water.
  7. Rinse and dry: Rinse and dry the baking sheets well. Leave them on a drying rack until they are air-dried.

With Oven Cleaner

An oven cleaner might come in handy to remove layers of grease and grime. This method is heavy-duty, but it works in very little time. Just remember to deep clean your baking sheets afterward since oven cleaner is not safe to ingest.

  1. Spray: Spray oven cleaner all over your baking sheets and leave it for 30 minutes.
  2. Wipe: Use a sponge to wipe off the loosened grease and grime. A Brillo Pad will be even more effective.
  3. Repeat: If not all the gunk has been removed, repeat steps one and two.
  4. Wash: Wash the baking sheets well with hot soapy water and scrub with your Brillo Pad or sponge.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse the baking sheets well and air dry on a drying rack.

With Aluminum Foil

To scrub burnt stains off aluminized steel baking sheets, use a piece of aluminum foil.

  1. Soak baking sheet: Soak the baking sheet in hot water for 30 minutes.
  2. Dry: Remove the baking sheet and dry it with a dish towel. Toss the dish towel into the washing machine.
  3. Scrub: Scrunch up a piece of aluminum foil and scrub gently where burnt residue and stains are. Continue until they lift.
  4. Wash: When you’re satisfied that you’ve removed unsightly stains, wash your baking sheet with warm soapy water.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse the baking sheet well and air dry on a drying rack.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets With Baked-on Grease

Many of our suggested methods work to remove old baked-on grease. But if you need something more powerful, try soaking the sheets overnight with this method.

  • Time: 30 minutes (plus waiting time).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

1. Add Cleaning Solution

Start by boiling water. Then pour it over the baking sheet. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda and swirl it around with a spoon, so it’s evenly distributed.

2. Wait

Let the solution sit for one hour.

3. Wash With Soap

Wash the baking sheet in the sink with warm soapy water. These three steps will remove the surface-level layer of baked-on grease.

4. Soak Again

It’s time to soak the sheet again — this time, overnight. Pour boiling water, one tablespoon of baking soda, and a few squirts of dish soap into the baking sheet. Leave it to soak overnight.

5. Scrub

In the morning, empty the solution into the sink and scrub the baking sheet well with a microfiber cloth. You can try steel wool or a Brillo Pad if you need something a bit more heavy-duty.

6. Wash and Dry

Once you’ve removed all the baked-on grease, wash and dry the baking sheets as usual.

How to Clean Rusty Baking Sheets

The last thing you need on your baking sheets is rust. But don’t fret — we can remove it — no need to toss your baking sheets in the trash.

Try this method first.

  • Time: 15 minutes (plus waiting time).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

  • Baking soda.
  • Sponge or fine steel wool.
  • Olive oil.
  • Paper towel.
  • Dish soap.

1. Rinse the Baking Sheet

Start by rinsing the baking sheet underwater. Do not dry them.

2. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Sprinkle a light dusting of baking soda over the baking sheet, so it sticks to the water. Make sure all the rusty areas are covered with baking soda. Leave it to sit for 30 minutes.

3. Scrub

Use a sponge or fine steel wool to scrub the sheet, working the baking soda into the rusty spots. As you go, the rust will disappear from the sheet. Continue until the cookie sheet is clean.

4. Wash and Dry

Wash the baking sheets as usual with warm soapy water. Rinse well and air dry.

Tips For Keeping a Baking Sheet Clean

Deep cleaning baking sheets every time you use them can take a lot of effort. Maintenance is key if you want to stay on top of your baking sheet routine. Here are our top tips for keeping one clean:

  • Line your sheet: The best method for keeping baking sheets clean is to line them with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This prevents food from sticking to the sheet itself, making it much easier to clean.
  • Oil your sheet: Before cooking, apply a light layer of oil or vegetable oil. This prevents food from sticking, but it also prevents rusting.
  • Dry cookie sheets: Let your cookie sheets thoroughly air dry in a well-ventilated spot, or dry them by hand with a dish towel. This will prevent rusting and bacteria build-up.
  • Wash immediately: Don’t let the baking sheets sit for ages before you wash them. The quicker you wash them, the easier they will be to clean.
  • Avoid drastic temperature changes: You can easily ruin your baking sheets by placing them in cold water while they’re still hot. Let them cool down a little before washing them, so they don’t warp.
  • Use the proper utensils: We recommend nylon, wood, or silicone utensils, especially on non-stick pans. This will prevent scratches and scuffs, which can be detrimental and lead to more stains.
  • Avoid the dishwasher: We recommend washing your baking sheets by hand to prevent warping, becoming oxidized, and wear and tear. The dishwasher and cleaning tablets are too harsh for baking sheets, especially non-stick ones.

FAQs

How Do You Clean a Baking Pan In 5 Minutes?

For regular cleaning, when you don’t have a ton of time, you can wash your baking sheet in warm soapy water. A slightly abrasive sponge or fine steel wool will be your best friend for removing food residue quickly and effectively. If you have time, apply some elbow grease to remove stubborn stains.

What Ruins Non-Stick Pans?

Non-stick pots and oven pans won’t last forever, but they should last at least a couple of years with proper care. Here are a few things that will ruin your non-stick pans way before that. Avoid at all costs.

  • Cooking spray: Instead of cooking spray, which builds up over time and is hard to remove, use oils or butter.
  • Scratchy cooking utensils: Don’t use metal cooking utensils or cutlery on non-stick pans. Stick to wooden, silicone, and nylon utensils.
  • High heat: Keep the heat low and avoid boiling hot water when cleaning. This can warp the pans and wear down the non-stick coating.
  • The dishwasher: We know how convenient it is to pop everything in the dishwasher and avoid hand-washing. But you should take the time to hand-wash non-stick baking sheets. The dishwasher will wear down that non-stick coating in as little as one cycle.
  • Improper storage: Storing your non-stick cookware alongside other items can easily scratch it. You should cover the non-stick cookware first.
  • Soaking for too long: No matter how stubborn the food residue is on your non-stick pans, don’t soak the pan overnight. A couple of hours maximum is best.
  • Abrasive materials: Don’t use steel wool or abrasive sponges to clean non-stick items. Stick to microfiber cloths or nylon brushes.

What is the Brown Stuff on Pans?

Brown spots on your cookware are usually natural carbonization created by overheating the pan and not using the correct type of oil or fat. If you notice your food sticks to the pan, especially on the brown parts, this can become a problem.

It could also be burnt-on grease and food residue or even rust.

How Do You Clean Cookie Sheets With Coke?

If you want to try cleaning your cookie sheets with Coke, you can give it a go. But we don’t recommend it as it’s not a certified cleaning product and might be too strong for your baking sheets.

However, all you need to do is pour Coke onto the baking sheet and leave it overnight. In the morning, scrub it well with a sponge and watch the loosened residue lift. Wash, rinse, and dry well.

How Do You Clean a Cookie Sheet With Dryer Sheets?

Cleaning with a dryer sheet is another wild hack you can try to clean your cookie sheet. Remember to wash the cookie sheet thoroughly afterward to remove residue from the dryer sheet. They contain a lot of chemicals that would be harmful to ingest.

  1. Place a dryer sheet on your baking sheet.
  2. Pour warm water over the sheet.
  3. Leave it overnight.
  4. Wipe the sheet clean with a sponge in the morning.
  5. Wash well.
  6. Rinse.
  7. Dry with a dish towel.

If you need your baking sheet sooner, leave it to soak for 15 minutes instead. It won’t have as effectively loosened grease and grime, but it will still have removed some residue.


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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!