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Cleaning cookie sheets

karykat Dec 21, 2009 11:59 PM

I have some heavy guage half sheet pans I use for baking cookies and things.

The other day, I used the pans to make some chicken wings that require you to roast them at 500 degrees.

I lined the pans with aluminum foil but the foil didn't extend to the edges.

And of course the wings really spattered oil and the edges and parts of the bottom of the pans became oily and dark.

I like the pans to stay light colored so they don't get too hot for baking. So I scrubbed and scrubbed with a textured cloth to get all the baked oil off. But much of it didn't come off and the edges still feel really tacky.

So, would it make sense to use oven cleaner on the pans. (Washing it off really well of course.) I happen to have a can of it around.

Any other ideas?

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  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 12:11 AM


    Just a suggestion. I think oven cleaner will work, but it is a bit aggressive and toxic as well. I would start with the baking soda routine first. It is milder and nontoxic. Best luck.

    1. s
      sinja RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 12:43 AM

      have you tried baking soda? or bar keepers friend? either of those usually does the trick for me

      1 Reply
      1. re: sinja
        foiegras RE: sinja Dec 23, 2009 03:15 PM

        BKF has never failed me. Can you soak them in the sink with BKF and vinegar?

        PS There's always the option of buying some additional sheets and saving these for wings, now that they're already 'broken in' ;)

      2. b
        bostonhound RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 02:42 AM

        SOS/Brillo pad and elbow grease.

        1. j
          janniecooks RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 03:01 AM

          You shouldn't have to resort to oven cleaner, and if your pans are the typical aluminum half-sheet pans oven cleaner might well ruin them.

          Echoing bostonhound, I suggest you just use a scouring pad like brillo or sos and hot water. Keep scrubbing, hard, and the baked on oil will come off.

          1. c
            cpsbmore RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 04:23 AM

            I found brillo scratched my sheet pans and so that was no good. The best thing is Dawn Power Dissolver. You spray it on, let it sit and the grease comes right off. You do need to do this multiple times for the really hard spots, but of everything I tried this worked the best. I think we found it at Ace Hardware store of all places.

            1. JonParker RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 04:40 AM

              Before going out to buy anything, soak in hot water with some dishwasher detergent mixed in. This gets off some of the nastiest stuff around.

              1. k
                karykat RE: karykat Dec 22, 2009 09:11 AM

                All good suggestions. I will hold off on the nuclear option and give these ideas a try.

                1. r
                  RGC1982 RE: karykat Dec 23, 2009 10:09 AM

                  I assume they are stainless steel? If they are aluminum, stay away from heavy chemicals, as the reactive surface will react with things like oven cleaner.

                  For either material, two things work for me, as I used my half sheets for things like chicken and cookies too. and I hate discolored pans.

                  Brillo or SOS pads will remove baked on oil stains around the rim and in the corners. You should soak the pan if it can fit in your sink, and scrub away. That is how most oil spatters get removed.

                  For discoloration that remains after you are sure that all surface gunk is gone, try Barkeeper's Friend with that same Brillo pad (most of the soap is out) or a green scrubber sponge. This seems to work with dark patches that seem to appear on aluminum pans. You may need to make a paste. I have tried white vinegar and salt, but the BF is much easier and seems to work faster. I have also heard of salt pitting the bottom of pots, so I have no idea if it will damage the pans in the long run.

                  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: karykat Dec 23, 2009 07:16 PM

                    I just want to add one thing. Bar Keepers Friend is great but it works through the acidic route. Certain baked on stains are easier to be removed in basic conditions. As such, I would try to alternate between the acidic (vinegar or Bar Keepers Friend) routine and the basic (baking soda) method.

                    1. k
                      karykat RE: karykat Dec 26, 2009 09:29 AM

                      Thanks for these thoughts. This will become a kitchen science experiment. The pans are heavy gauge aluminum half sheet pans. I'll report back.

                      1. s
                        scott123 RE: karykat Dec 26, 2009 09:51 AM

                        Over time, aluminum cookie sheets will take on some color, even if you're only using them for cookies and washing them carefully. This is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about. As long as it's thin solid layer and on the top of the cookie sheet rather than the bottom (away from the radiating oven element) the color won't effect the way the cookies bake. In fact, it's the same kind of seasoning you see on cast iron cookware and helps your cookies release slightly easier.

                        I wouldn't go out of my way to season aluminum cookie sheets, but should it occur, I would be happy about it, not sad.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: scott123
                          foiegras RE: scott123 Dec 26, 2009 04:07 PM

                          My mother still has the jelly roll pans she got when she got married, and they are well and truly seasoned--a mahogany color. Who knows what the original material was--they've been that color all my life. But aluminum seems like a definite possibility ...

                          1. re: foiegras
                            scott123 RE: foiegras Dec 26, 2009 08:24 PM

                            There you have it. And is it safe to assume that your mother makes wonderful cookies with these mahogany collared pans?

                        2. s
                          surfereddie RE: karykat Feb 14, 2012 09:13 AM

                          I'm still waiting on the results. I tried the oven cleaner method and it discolors and etches them or makes them "dry" not smooth. Can somebody explain the baking soda method? It's been mentioned many times but I've never heard of it. Also, I tried the Brillo route as well. I don't like the scratches.

                          1. dcrb RE: karykat Feb 14, 2012 11:18 AM

                            I have used Dawn Power Dissolver with a certain amount of success. Not as aggressive as oven cleaner and still requires some manual labor. I will tell you that I removed the shine off one of my wife's good aluminum sheets (looks like salt corrosion now) so that has become the go to utility sheet for "wings", catching spill overs from casseroles, and the like. It might be mildly corrosive so try to apply it just to the offending spots which I did not. Good luck.

                            1. c
                              Claudette RE: karykat Feb 14, 2012 08:26 PM

                              am I the only one who has given up cleaning the corners?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Claudette
                                surfereddie RE: Claudette Feb 14, 2012 09:02 PM

                                There has got to be an easier way. I don't like Brillo cause it leave deep scratches. I don't like oven cleaner as it damages the surface. So I don't know what to do. Keep watching this post till somebody provides a great solution.

                              2. meatn3 RE: karykat Feb 15, 2012 06:44 AM

                                Orange citrus cleaners (no chemicals) work well for me. Also, a pumice stone used gently works.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: meatn3
                                  RudysEquipment_Supplies RE: meatn3 Feb 15, 2012 08:00 AM

                                  Put them in the oven on self clean.. Will turn all that baked on stuff to a powder then just wipe it off. Self clean works wonders on any baked on crap even on the porcelain burner grates.

                                  1. re: RudysEquipment_Supplies
                                    dcrb RE: RudysEquipment_Supplies Feb 15, 2012 09:22 AM

                                    Can aluminum baking sheets, jelly roll pans hold up to the high sustained heat? I have never tried this and would like to know. Thanks.

                                    1. re: dcrb
                                      RudysEquipment_Supplies RE: dcrb Feb 15, 2012 10:05 AM

                                      I have done it a few times with the standard guage commercial ones. no problems.

                                      1. re: RudysEquipment_Supplies
                                        dcrb RE: RudysEquipment_Supplies Feb 15, 2012 10:50 AM


                                        1. re: RudysEquipment_Supplies
                                          surfereddie RE: RudysEquipment_Supplies Feb 15, 2012 01:26 PM

                                          I have the half sheets and I think they are the same gauge as commercial ones. Do standard gauge commercial sheets even fit in a residential oven?
                                          How many did you do at a time? If more than one did you stack them or did you allow air flow between them?
                                          If anybody else tries this check how hot your oven can get aluminium melts at 1220F.

                                          1. re: surfereddie
                                            RudysEquipment_Supplies RE: surfereddie Feb 15, 2012 01:58 PM

                                            Lol, your oven gets no where close to 1220F. You would have to stick them in one at a time on different racks. there are standard sizes in sheet pans.

                                            full size(18"x26") -wont fit in household oven
                                            2/3 size(16"x22")--not common doesnt fit every oven
                                            1/2 size(13"x18")- most common household size
                                            1/4 size(9.5"x13")

                                      2. re: RudysEquipment_Supplies
                                        zdecr RE: RudysEquipment_Supplies Oct 14, 2013 06:11 AM

                                        I have heavy cast iron burner grates, can they also go in the self clean oven?

                                        1. re: zdecr
                                          tim irvine RE: zdecr Oct 14, 2013 07:09 PM

                                          My CI grates have little pads on their feet. But for those, I'd venture it. Of course that is not a guaranty. I have done them in an ammonia solution in a washtub. I have also just sprayed them well with 409 or the like, let them sit, brushed them, and hosed them off with equally good results.

                                    2. mlaiuppa RE: karykat Dec 20, 2012 05:04 PM

                                      Two suggestions.

                                      For home-made, you can try baking soda and peroxide. Sprinkle with baking soda, then peroxide, then baking soda. Let it sit. Then scrub with a nylon sponge.

                                      Or if you can get it, try Dawn Power Dissolver. It's fabulous and will get off everything but the hard black baked on grease. Repeated scrubbings might even get that off.

                                      1. v
                                        Violatp RE: karykat Dec 20, 2012 05:09 PM

                                        Old thread but this could still be useful to someone. I recently cleaned off my stovetop grates with ammonia, and imagine that, since it's similar gunk, it would work with baking sheets.

                                        I put my grates in a plastic bag lined 5-gallon bucket, poured in some ammonia, tied off the bag, and set it in a well ventilated place overnight. (just in case)

                                        Next day, I emptied the whole deal out into the bathtub and all the gunk basically just wiped away.

                                        It was stinky and messy, but easy and the grates look almost new.

                                        1. girloftheworld RE: karykat Oct 14, 2013 07:18 PM

                                          make a paste out of dishwasher soap. spread it all over it. let them sit in the bath tub and kind of dry then run the hot water while scrubbing with a soft scrub brush...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: girloftheworld
                                            wekick RE: girloftheworld Oct 15, 2013 01:33 PM

                                            If the pans are aluminum, they might oxidize badly with dishwasher soap.

                                          2. b
                                            biggergreenegg RE: karykat Nov 8, 2013 07:31 AM

                                            If you could send your pans out to be cleaned like new for 5 bucks and have a release coating put on them, would you consider it?

                                            1. mlaiuppa RE: karykat Nov 8, 2013 09:29 AM

                                              Use Dawn Power Dissolver in the blue bottle. (Try Ace Hardware or amazon). I bought some used muffin pans and used this with a toothbrush to get into the seams and a green scrubby and they are like new.

                                              Don't use oven cleaner. That will stain your cookie sheets.

                                              1. s
                                                Skinflint RE: karykat Jun 6, 2014 02:34 PM

                                                The best product I have found that reliably and quickly removes burnt on grease and oils from all metal surfaces[including aluminum and copper] without damaging/etching them [like all the lye (sodium hydroxide) containing products do to aluminum and copper] is called "Carbon Off" by "Discovery Products".

                                                Look the product up online. Someone has done a u-tube video that demonstrates the spray can version. I personally like the smallest (1 pint) can of brush-on gel that allows me to treat only the areas in need ,,,,, and doesn't create an aerosol.

                                                It can be found online at Amazon and multiple restaurant supply stores. It isn't real cheap, but considering the time it saves me it is worth it.

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