How to Clean Baking Sheets: Your Guide to Removing Grime

Published July 11, 2022
Items for baking cookies surrounding an empty baking sheet

Not all baking sheets are created equal. Aluminized steel baking sheets are the tried-and-true sheets that have been through everything. They can typically take any kind of cleaner, as well. However, aluminum and non-stick baking sheets need a gentler touch. Get the facts on how to clean baking sheets from aluminized to non-stick. Find out what materials you can use, how to remove rust, and tips for keeping your baking sheets glimmering.

How to clean baking sheets infographic

How to Clean Aluminized Steel Baking Sheets

Do you have a black baking sheet lying around your house? You might think this baking sheet is destined for the trash, but you can get it clean. It will take a lot of elbow grease (more than a wool scrubbing pad) and patience, but it can be done. To get down to cleaning, you need:

Ammonia to Clean Baking Sheets

Ammonia is some pretty tough stuff. And it's going to help get even your crustiest of pans looking like new. However, this method is going to take typically a day to work.

  1. Put your pan in a trash bag.
  2. Take it outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  3. Add enough ammonia to coat the pan. Typically, about a cup.
  4. Seal the bag and let it sit for about 24 hours.
  5. Open the bag in a well-ventilated area. (Do not breathe in the ammonia.)
  6. Remove the pans.
  7. Scrub with steel wool or a Brillo pad or 6 until clean.
  8. Use a knife on the steel wool to get the crud in the edges.
  9. Rinse and wash the pan with dish soap.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets With Hydrogen Peroxide

Another effective method for removing grease, crud, and baked-on grime is baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The two cleaners give nastiness a TKO in no time. While this method can take 8 or more hours to work, it's worth it because there is very little scrubbing time involved.

  1. Create a thick baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste.
  2. Spread the paste over the pan.
  3. Allow it to sit for 3-4 hours. (Overnight works best.)
  4. Use a plastic scraper to scrape the grime and baking soda into the trash.
  5. Wash with soapy water.
  6. Hit any remaining grime with a Brillo pad or steel wool.

Aluminum Foil to Get Baking Sheets Shiny

You might not have a Brillo pad and ammonia laying around. Hydrogen peroxide might even be hard to come by. But most homes have a bit of aluminum foil and some baking soda. This method takes a lot of elbow grease, but it takes less than an hour to get to clean.

  1. Sprinkle the pan with a generous amount of baking soda.
  2. Add a few drops of Dawn and warm water to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Allow the mixture to soak for 30 minutes or so.
  4. Crumple the aluminum foil into a ball.
  5. Scrub the bottom of the pan using circular motions.
  6. Wash the pan in soapy water once all gunk is removed.

This method takes a lot of scrubbing to get good results, typically about 15 minutes. Additionally, the longer you let the pan soak in the baking soda and dish soap, the easier your scrubbing is.

Oven Cleaner to Remove Grime and Gunk From Cookie Sheets

When you are at your wit's end about how to get your cookie sheets clean, it's time to reach for the big guns. Oven cleaner, like Easy Off, is great for degreasing your oven. It can work on your pans too.

  1. In a well-ventilated area, spray down the pan with oven cleaner.
  2. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Scrub the pan with a Brillo pad or steel wool.
  4. Use a knife in the pad to clean the creases.
  5. Wash the pan with soap and water.
  6. Allow to air dry.

How to Clean Non-Stick and Aluminum Baking Trays

The methods above are too harsh for non-stick pans. They would remove the coating on your baking sheet. But that doesn't mean cleaning them is impossible. You just need to try a gentler cleaning method. Since you can't use an abrasive, the key to getting them clean is to let them marinate. To clean your non-stick cookie sheets, you need:

All these methods can also work on aluminized baking trays, too.

How to Clean a Baking Sheet With Baking Soda and White Vinegar

You don't want to scratch your non-stick pans, so scrubbing is a big no-no. Therefore, you need to use a few cleaners like baking soda and white vinegar to do the hard labor.

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on your pans.
  • Spray it with white vinegar.
  • Allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes.
  • Wipe away the burnt-on oil with a sponge.
  • Enjoy.

Use Washing Soda and Cream of Tartar to Clean Sheet Pans

Washing soda is for the laundry room, right? Nope, bring it into the kitchen. Grab a little bit of cream of tartar while you are at it.

  1. Mix equal amounts of washing soda and cream of tartar.
  2. Add enough water to make a paste.
  3. Apply this to the pan.
  4. Allow it to sit for 20 or so minutes.
  5. Scrub with the non-abrasive scrubby.
  6. Wash in soapy water.
  7. Enjoy that shine.

Easy Method to Clean Baking Trays With Baking Soda

Baking soda is a powerful cleaner in your kitchen. It can clean everything from your stove to your baking sheets.

  1. Create a paste of baking soda and water.
  2. Apply the paste to the baking sheet.
  3. Allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Rub with a sponge or non-abrasive scrubber.
  5. Wash with soap and water.
  6. Rinse and dry.

Cleaning Cookie Sheets With Dryer Sheets

Dry sheets are for more than just making your clothes soft. They can also remove that grime and nastiness from your pans.

  1. Add 2 dryer sheets to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Fill the pan with warm water and 1-2 tablespoons of Dawn.
  3. Allow it to sit overnight.
  4. Throw away the dryer sheets and water.
  5. Wipe out the pan and wash with soap and water.
  6. Voila!

How to Clean Cookie Sheets With Baked-On Grease in 5 Minutes or Less

Natural methods for cleaning take a lot of time. This is especially true if you have a pan black with caked-on grime and gunk. It didn't get that way in just a few minutes, so it's not going to be cleaned in a few minutes. However, if you have a pan that doesn't look too bad, you can get it glimmering in just a few minutes with the right materials.

Woman hands holding baking tray with burned cookies
  • Bon Ami powder
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Non-abrasive scrubber

Aluminized Steel Baking Trays

When you don't have time to waste on soaking because you need to cook those cookies yesterday, then try a bit of Bon Ami and aluminum foil. In just a few minutes, your pan will look like new.

  1. Sprinkle a bit of Bon Ami. (Baking soda can work as the abrasive but takes longer.)
  2. Spray the Bon Ami with water.
  3. Crumple up the aluminum foil.
  4. Scrub the pan using circular motions.
  5. Continue scrubbing until all the stains are gone.
  6. Wash with soap and water.

Non-Stick Cookie Sheets

If you have a non-stick cookie sheet you need to get clean like now, then try a bit of baking soda and Dawn. The baking soda adds a bit of scrubbing power while the Dawn cuts the grease.

  1. Mix Dawn and baking soda into a paste.
  2. Apply it to the sheet.
  3. Scrub with a non-abrasive scrubber.
  4. Wash and dry.

How to Clean Rusty Baking Sheets

Got a few rusty or oxidized baking sheets that were destined for the bin? You can clean them up. They might not be garbage after all. Give them a bit of TLC with:

Eco-friendly natural cleaners with baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar
  • Potato
  • Dawn
  • Bar Keepers Friend
  • Steel wool
  • Baking soda

Use Vinegar and Lemon Juice to Clean Rusty Pans

Rust hates acid. So, mix up your most acidic natural cleaners and get to work.

  1. Create a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and lemon juice.
  2. Soak the pan in it for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Scrub away the rust with steel wool.
  4. Wash, rinse, and dry.

Remove Rust From Cookie Sheets With Potato and Dish Soap

Potatoes do more than just taste great with a little butter. They clean rust off your pans.

  1. Cut a potato in half.
  2. Dip it in a bit of dish soap, then a bit of baking soda.
  3. Rub it in circular motions on the rust.
  4. Repeat until the rust is gone.
  5. Wash and dry thoroughly.

Simple Rust Removal With Bar Keepers Friend

Another powerful tool in any cleaning arsenal is Bar Keepers Friend. This stuff is simply amazing.

  1. Add a bit of Bar Keepers Friend to a wet cloth.
  2. Use circular motions to rub away rust.
  3. Repeat until all the rust is gone.
  4. Wash with soapy water and dry completely.

Quick Tips to Keep Your Cookie Sheets Gleaming

Getting those pans clean is work. So, you don't want to gum them up again with grease and crud. Try any of these methods to ensure your cookie sheets keep looking new.

Senior woman greasing baking sheets
  1. Use a liner like a reusable liner or parchment paper to avoid sticking.
  2. Clean or soak pans immediately to remove grime.
  3. Oil pans to avoid rusting.
  4. Dry pans thoroughly after washing.
  5. Hand wash your cookie sheets.

How to Wash Baking Trays Made Easy

When it comes to how to clean your sheet pans, it isn't hard - a little soap and water, and you're set. But when you have continually baked-on mess and residue, things get a bit trickier. Try out these methods to get your pans looking new.

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How to Clean Baking Sheets: Your Guide to Removing Grime