I did a nice, top-to-bottom cleaning of my kitchen over the weekend. It was immensely satisfying once I was done ... until I spotted my grimy baking sheet on the drying rack. All of a sudden, my beautifully clean kitchen didn't seem so clean anymore. If you do any bit of baking (even if it's just heating frozen pizza), you probably have at least one baking sheet or pan that has some staining on it that you just can't seem to wash out.
I'm kind of obsessive when it comes to stuff like this, so believe me when I say that I have spent a Sunday afternoon or two furiously scrubbing away at those dark brown stains. Effort and strength of will alone only get you so far. Since baking pans aren't all that expensive, a lot of folks just toss them when they get so dirty and buy new ones.
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't do that, but I will say that I personally derive a lot of satisfaction from (A) saving money and (B) busting through a challenge. So, I scoured the Internet for knowledge and found a cheap, surefire way to get those grimy grease stains gone for good. Whether your pans are made of stainless steel, aluminum, or glass, this guide has got you covered.
This is what most of us start out with. Those brown stains aren't rust, by the way (not usually, anyway). Every time you grease your bakeware to keep your baked goods from sticking, the oils get slightly burnt in the oven, creating a layer of partial charring. While it's technically harmless, it doesn't exactly look great.
Stainless steel is a very popular option for bakeware because it's a durable, high-quality material. Unfortunately, it also has a higher tendency to stain or rust.
To clean stainless steel, you'll need:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Abrasive pad
Begin by sprinkling a good amount of baking soda on the tray, then cover it with hydrogen peroxide and another layer of baking soda on top.
Let the mixture sit for an hour or two, then scrub and marvel at how shiny and new your tray looks again.
If you've got more stubborn stains and this trick doesn't get everything off, it's time for the big guns.
To do the heavy clean, you'll need:
- Bar Keepers Friend or equivalent all-purpose cleaner
- Abrasive pad
- Oven cleaner
- Plastic wrap
Start by applying Bar Keepers Friend to the stains and scrubbing vigorously with an abrasive pad. If the stains/rust spots persist, spray the sheet with oven cleaner. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.
In the morning, unwrap your bakeware and put it into a hot oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 66 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Soak in hot soapy water for half an hour, then scrub with your abrasive pad. This should be enough to take out even the toughest stains.
Aluminum is a cheaper alternative to stainless steel. Unfortunately, it can still stain the same way stainless steel does.
To clean aluminum pans, you'll need:
- Distilled white vinegar
- A pot
- Scrubbing pad
Fill a pot with equal parts water and vinegar and bring to a boil, then cool. Once it's reached room temperature, soak your scrubbing pad in your vinegar/water mix and scrub the stains clean. Finish by rinsing with soapy water.
Glass is a great choice of bakeware, because it's see-through so you can have an extra level of being able to look in on the progress of your dish without opening the oven. It also holds heat well and can be microwaved (provided it fits) for quick reheating. Unfortunately, when it gets gunky, glass looks extra gross!
To clean your glass bakeware, you'll need:
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
- Regular sponge
Start by putting a layer of baking soda on the bottom of your pan, followed by dish soap. Fill the pan with hot water and let it fizz away for 15 minutes. Empty the dish out and then scrub with a regular dishwashing sponge. Sprinkle a little more baking soda on any spots that remain as you scrub.
Learn more about cleaning stubborn stains on your baking sheets in the video below:
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