Baking sheets are one of the most versatile pieces of bakeware in the kitchen. They are used to roast vegetables, make a slab pie, reheat a pizza, or bake cookies. They can also develop a dark, sticky patina once layers of oily cooking spray or grease bake onto the surface. But with a few cleaning products you probably have on hand and a bit of time and elbow grease, you can restore the surface and bring back the shine.
How Often to Clean Baking Sheets
A baking sheet should be thoroughly cleaned after every use. This can be done by hand-washing or placing them in a dishwasher, though hand-washing may help your baking sheets last longer (and washing aluminum baking sheets in the dishwasher may cause dulling or discoloration) and most experts recommend hand-washing them instead of using the dishwasher. Be sure to dry them thoroughly after every washing to prevent rust from forming on some types of metal baking sheets.
Before You Begin
Baking sheets have raised, rolled edges (cookie sheets do not) to keep the food product contained on the sheet. They can be made from varying weights of aluminum or steel. Most cooks agree that heavier weight sheets are always better because they do not warp easily. Some sheets are insulated or with an air pocket sandwiched between two sheets of metal and some are treated with a non-stick coating.
The cleaning methods are safe to use on all types of baking sheets materials. However, take extra care and use a light touch with a sheet covered in a non-stick coating to prevent scratching the surface.
Equipment / Tools
- Plastic scraper or spatula
- Nylon scrubber
- Microfiber cloth
- Dishwashing gloves (optional)
- Large sink or large shallow plastic container
- Spray bottle
- Baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Bar Keepers Friend
- Steel wool pads
- Dishwashing liquid
Create a Baking Soda and Distilled White Vinegar Soak
To cut through the sticky mess, fill a sink with enough very hot water to completely cover the baking sheet to a depth of at least one inch. Add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar. Be prepared: there will be lots of bubbling action as the baking soda and vinegar react.
Allow the sheet to soak for at least 30 minutes—60 is better. Remove the baking sheet and drain the sink. Use a nylon scrubber or a steel wool pad to scrub away the loosened build-up. Once the sheet is clean, wash as usual in warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry with a lint-free microfiber towel.
Made a Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Paste
If you hate scrubbing and have the luxury of time between using the baking sheet for dinner and breakfast, a paste of baking soda (or cream of tarter, if that's what you have on hand) and hydrogen peroxide can clean away the sticky mess. Layer the baking sheet liberally with baking soda—don't forget the edges.
Pour some 3-percent strength hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Spray the baking soda layer until it is damp but not soupy. Set the sheet aside and let the paste work overnight. The next morning, use a plastic scraper or spatula to remove the sticky mess and wipe away any clinging particles with a sponge or paper towel. Wash the sheet in hot, soapy water, rinse, and dry.
Try Bar Keepers Friend
Professional cooks swear by Bar Keepers Friend to keep cookware clean and grease-free. The powder contains oxalic acid to cut through the grime and feldspar that acts as a mild abrasive.
Follow the product label directions or dampen the baking sheet and sprinkle on a layer of the powder. Allow it to work for only one minute before you use a sponge to scrub away the grime. Wear gloves and use the product with caution because Bar Keepers Friend can cause skin or eye irritation.
Tips to Keep Baking Sheets Clean Longer
- Use parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silicone baking mat to line the baking sheet. To save time in the kitchen, precut the paper or foil to fit your differently sized baking sheets.
- Avoid cooking sprays that tend to land on edges making them difficult to clean.
- Hand-wash baking sheets rather than using the dishwasher so you can make sure corners and edges are thoroughly clean.
- Do not use sharp knives or tools that can create deep scratches on the sheets that are more difficult to clean.