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Cleaning cookie sheets

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. Karykat,

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: sinja

        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. SOS/Brillo pad and elbow grease.

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

                1. 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. 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. 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. 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

                          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

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

                        2. 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. karykat,
                            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. am I the only one who has given up cleaning the corners?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Claudette

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

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: meatn3

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                        1. re: RudysEquipment_Supplies

                                          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

                                            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")

                                      1. re: RudysEquipment_Supplies

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

                                        1. re: zdecr

                                          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. 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. 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. 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

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

                                          2. 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. 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. 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.