Quick cleaning hack using item you'll already have at home with minimal effort
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
It's so frustrating that within mere months of unboxing our branch new oven trays/pans, they have become coated with baked-on grime that is impossible to remove when hand washing or in the dishwasher. These trays are supposed to be non-stick because of their coating, but those claims never seem to translate into our kitchen!
There are plenty of harsh, nasty, nasty chemicals that advertise they can clean this stuff off, and I'm sure they can, but the idea of using something akin to drain cleaner (do NOT use drain cleaner!) on surfaces that carries food, simply fills me with dread.
So I tested out a number of cleaning suggestions and found one that works like an absolute charm, uses an item that most people will already have in their homes, with minimal effort from me (always a winner, right?)
This is what it was able to do:
So, what is this genius hack? Dishwasher tablets!
Yes, I did just say that I'd tried putting this pan into the dishwasher and that didn't work, but if you use the tablets in this way, you get a really good result.
*Obviously we know there are still chemicals in dishwasher tablets, but at least it's something we usually clean our eating utensils with. I tried various other natural methods like good old vinegar and baking soda and it did nothing.
These are the easy steps to success:
1) Put tray across two or three of your stove burners
2) Add enough water to cover the tray
3) Turn burners on until the water is boiling
4) Add 1 or 2 dishwasher tablets, keeping the water boiling
5) Ventilate the room and don't stand over the fumes too much
6) Occasionally agitate the grime with a non-scratch utensil
7) After 20 mins, turn off heat, pour away debris, and rinse
8) May need a scrub with a non-scratch scourer
9) If particularly grimy, repeat
The second photo shows the grime starting to lift off - I found agitating with a utensil really helped this along. The third photo shows what I was left with after 1 tablet, so I simply repeated the process.
It did seem to work better when I added the tablets to the boiling water rather than having them in the water from the start.
Notes on pyrolytic ovens
Ours has this which means it has a self-cleaning function that uses heat to carbonise or break down fat and grease.
Online research quickly gets scary about chemical fumes like formaledhyde and carbon monoxide being released, while myth-busters state it's all made up lies. There seems to be a lack of scientific research available, which puts me into the 'unsure' category.
So we do use this function, but sparingly. Our instructions recommend once a month but we're no more than every 6 months and when we do, we ventilate the kitchen, remove the kids (you should remove pet birds too, apparently) and go into another room.
What we DON'T ever do is leave the house or set it for overnight. It states in our instructions, "Chunks of food and fat may ignite during the pyrolytic cleaning process. Danger of fire!"
We sat our carbon monoxide detector right at the oven and it picked up nothing.
You should also clean as much crud off the oven before setting a self-clean cycle too, so don't be lazy, your oven is not a miracle worker.
We can put the trays for pyrolytic cleaning in our model, but it stops the rest of the oven being cleaned well, so I'm happy to clean the trays this way mentioned above.