How to clean enamel oven trays to remove food residue and grease

Oven cleaning is often cited as being among the most strenuous, complex, and time-consuming of all kitchen cleaning chores. Grease and food residue tend to stick to the walls and the oven door and if left untreated for a relatively long time, they become almost impossible to remove. Elbow grease tends to stick to baking trays as well, and food spills make them quite an unpleasant sight. There is, however, a way to restore them to their original condition. It takes a little bit of effort and preparation, but we will try to show you how to clean enamel oven trays successfully.

Don’t throw out your dirty oven trays

The first step is, of course, to not give up. Even if you haven’t paid attention to your oven trays for a long time, you still can use some pretty simple tricks to make your favorite – and let’s face it – quite expensive – enamel oven look as good as new. Even if you have already tried to clean oven trays from grease and burnt on food before with little to no success, including in the dishwasher, it is not the time to despair. Roll up your sleeves, get some simple supplies such as paper towels, hot water, and oven cleaning products, including baking soda crystals, and you will be able to make your oven trays completely clean again in just around an hour.

Before starting, consider using disposable roasting tins or lining paper to catch drips in the future, reducing the need for frequent cleaning.

Use dish soap and a scratch-free scouring pad

A reliable scouring pad, a wooden scraper tool, and dish soap are two of your best friends when it comes to making your enamel trays look as good as new. Soak the enamel trays in hot water and add the dish soap. Use the scouring pad, or a sponge to gently rub the burnt-on food residue and the grease stains from the surfaces of your enamel baking trays using a gentle circular motion. One of the top tips about how to clean enamel oven trays is to consider this stage a simple preparation, instead of expecting the tray you are treating to become completely clean here. There are other steps you need to take in order for them to shine as if they’ve just come out of the store. The preparation stage is, however, crucial, so don’t skip it and put as much effort into it as necessary. For non-stick baking trays, avoid using steel wool or anything that might damage non-stick pans.

Can you use vinegar to clean dirty oven trays?

White vinegar is among the most widely used home cleaning solutions for removing stains and food buildup from a variety of surfaces and materials. It is strong, efficient, and a hundred percent green, which makes it the go-to choice for many people. The good news is that vinegar is perfectly safe to use on enamel oven trays as well. Put it in a simple spray bottle and spray the areas of your trays that you want to treat. Let it sit and soak for ten to fifteen minutes and then rinse it with the wooden tool and some boiling water. Remember to always wear rubber gloves when you are cleaning enamel oven trays. Protect your skin from the hot water while you rinse. To remove excess grease, consider sprinkling some biological washing powder before applying vinegar, as it can break down the grease more effectively.

Cleaning your enamel tray with baking soda

Baking soda is another all-time favorite when it comes to natural cleaning solutions. The baking soda crystals are particularly powerful when it comes to removing stubborn stains from grease that even the longest dishwasher cycle is unable to take care of. They also absorb bad odor that often accompanies stains from cooking. Mix the baking soda with some cold water and rinse it over your baking trays. You can soak them completely in the solution if you deem that necessary. After fifteen minutes, give the tray a good scrub with warm water and then gently wipe the loose residue with a paper towel, a sponge, or a clean cloth. You will notice that your oven trays look significantly better now. Also using hot soapy water straight after cooking can prevent the build-up of excess grease, making the trays easier to keep clean.

Get rid of the grease

The best and easiest way to make sure that the grease is completely removed from your baking oven trays is to check if said trays are dishwasher safe and put them in the dishwasher on a long program with lots of hot water. Most modern enamel trays are indeed perfectly fine to clean in a dishwasher, but in some cases, the dishwashing liquid, the heat, and the boiling water in the machine neither do a good job nor are particularly safe for the surface. To avoid scratching your trays and achieve optimal results, you might want to use abrasive cleaning products that are at the same time somewhat gentle, and a sponge. Soak the trays in the specialized grease-removing cleaning product for an hour and then use the sponge to remove the buildups. Rinse any residual liquid and leave the oven trays to dry on their own, before putting them back into the oven. Remember, for non stick trays, use a soft sponge to avoid damage.

Use a commercial oven cleaner

In addition to the natural, homemade solutions such as vinegar and baking soda, you can approach the cleaning process using commercial oven cleaning products with the same success rate. It is important to check a few things before you purchase the oven cleaner you’ve laid your eyes on though:

  • It should be suitable for treating oven trays.
  • It should be made for treating the types of stains you will be dealing with
  • It should not contain dangerous chemicals you or a member of your family might be allergic to.

Follow the instructions on the label strictly in order to ensure optimal results. Applying a thin layer of cooking oil to your baking tray after cleaning can help prevent future food residue from sticking.

Clean open oven

Ensure you dry it thoroughly

Using the right tools and cleaning products is important when cleaning an enamel tray, but letting the surface dry thoroughly before putting it back into the oven is equally important. Once the tray is completely dry, you can inspect it to see if you have done a good job removing all stains and buildups. Additionally, wiping the surface and making sure it is dry and polished will help you avoid the formation of unpleasant water stains that, even though not unhealthy, don’t look good at all. Regular maintenance and a quick wipe with a paper towel after each use will keep your oven trays clean and extend their lifespan.

About the author: Nathaniel Jamesson, a seasoned cleaning consultant, boasts over two decades of expertise in sustainable and efficient cleaning practices. Recognized for his innovative techniques, Nathaniel aids both commercial and residential spaces in achieving pristine environments, promoting health and elevating aesthetics.