How to Clean Dirty Oven Racks With Ammonia

Baked-on food accumulates on oven racks over time, resulting in stained oven racks that produce an odour every time you use your oven. Many ovens are self-cleaning, and there are numerous chemical products on the market that clean oven racks. Both of these options put chemicals in the air that can be harmful to the environment, as well as your family and pets. Using ammonia is a simpler way to clean your oven racks, and since you can do it outdoors, you don't need to worry about the overpowering ammonia smell.

Place a large wash tub or plastic storage container in your yard, away from your house, to keep the strong ammonia smell from wafting into your home. Lay a large towel in the bottom of the wash tub.

Fill the tub or container with warm water and add 1/2 cup ammonia. Set your oven racks in the ammonia solution and let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes.

Put on rubber gloves to keep the ammonia from irritating your skin.

Scrub the oven racks using an abrasive scrubbing pad. Stains and baked-on food will be loosened from soaking in the ammonia solution.

Remove the oven racks from the ammonia solution and rinse them with clean water. Dry with a clean towel, and then stand them up in the sun to finish drying.


Wipe spilt food off your oven racks after the spill happens and the oven racks cool. This will prevent the spill from becoming baked-on.


Self-cleaning ovens emit fumes that can kill pet birds.

Things You'll Need

  • Wash tub or large plastic storage container
  • Large towels
  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scrubbing pad
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.