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How to Clean Oven Racks and Trays

By: Institutional Cleaning | September 27, 2023 | Reading time: 5 minutes

In any hotel or restaurant kitchen, commercial ovens end up doing a lot of the heavy work. This piece of equipment is something a commercial kitchen just cannot do without. The quality of food that goes out of your kitchen depends to some extent on the condition of your oven. 

However, this constant use means that these machines constantly accumulate food particles, grease, and debris. Continuous and prolonged use can create issues not just with the oven but also with the food you cook in it if the oven is left uncleaned for a significant period of time. 

The most obvious way of telling that your oven needs a thorough cleaning is when the food starts smelling funny or the oven smells unappetizing. Left unchecked, this can potentially progress to a stage where the oven unit starts becoming less and less effective, consuming more energy each time, and there is an increased risk of smoke and fire.

Dirty ovens can even impact the rating of your business and cause you to fail necessary health and safety checks. It is advisable that the oven is cleaned at the end of each day so that it is clean, fresh, and ready for another tough day of cooking safe and delicious food.  

Recommended commercial oven cleaning products

The most important supply you need to clean a commercial oven is the cleaning product itself. The remaining supplies are easy to access as they are present in almost all kitchens. Anyone who is cleaning an oven or making the decision about the products must remember that the heavily greased racks and trays have tough debris that would definitely require chemicals to remove them. 

However, one must be sure that the chemicals used are suitable for the materials in the oven and safe for use around food.  Additionally making the products easier to use for the operator by reducing the amount of PPE needed can help promote daily cleaning.

Suma Max D9.2 is a great example of a product that is tough enough to remove grease and grime but safer and easier for staff to use with no hazard classification.

If you're looking for a great sustainable oven cleaner then Sure Grill is another Diversey product which has low classification, part of the SURE Cradle to Cradle Gold Certification range.

Suma Oven & Grill Cleaner D9.6 is another product that is recommended to clean commercial ovens. These products protect the health of your customers as well as your equipment.  

How to clean oven racks

Cleaning your oven racks does not need to be a tiresome task. There are some easy steps which you can follow to have oven racks that look like new.

Use commercial oven cleaners

Chemical cleaners are sometimes not that safe to use indoors, that's why you might consider more sustainable and easy to use options. A good quality oven cleaner can clean up all the deposits on your oven rack in a matter of 10 to 20 minutes.

Simply spray the product all over the rack and leave it for the time mentioned in the instructions. After this, use a cloth, brush, or scourer to dislodge all the grease from the rack. Finish by washing it clean with water and drying it completely before putting it back in the oven.

Soak them

Soaking oven racks in hot water with washing up liquid or degreaser solution. The large sinks in commercial kitchens can be easily used for this. How long your racks need to be soaked depends on how dirty they are. It could range from 10 minutes to even five hours in some cases. Once the deposits are loosened, you can use a scouring brush to remove the debris and then wash thoroughly with water. 

How to clean oven trays

A heavily-greased oven tray can be quite intimidating and you might feel the urge to just throw it out instead of spending the time and effort to clean it. But with a few simple steps, you can avoid such waste and reuse your oven trays as many times as you like. This also means that you won't have to replace your trays with new ones as often.

Use the dishwasher

Like racks, oven trays can also be cleaned by soaking. So, all you need to do is soak it in hot soapy water for at least 30 minutes. Then scrub the inside of the tray using a circular motion. Choose a scourer that does not damage the coating of the tray. Rinse it with water and then pop it into the dishwasher along with the other dishes. It will come out looking absolutely clean and ready to cook your next culinary delight.

Clean the burnt bits

You can use an oven cleaner or a mixture of equal parts baking soda and white vinegar with hot water to get rid of the burnt edges that a dishwasher cannot clean. Soaking the tray in this solution can do the trick or, alternately, you can use the solution to scrub the edges for a deeper clean.

Care for them

Generally, it is procrastination or laziness that really makes cleaning oven trays difficult. You can use the following tips to avoid having heavy greasy deposits on your trays.

  • Try and use lining paper whenever possible.
  • Soak your tray immediately after use, before the oil and grease set in.
  • Use paper towels to remove excess grease whenever possible.
  • Many trays are non-stick, so avoid using a scrubber which can damage the non-stick coating and make the tray's life much shorter. 

Using a product like Suma Protec D9.5 will also help to keep the oven cleaning simple and easy to do, it is sprayed onto your clean oven creating a protective layer which traps the grease and dirt making it so much easier to remove.

Oven cleaning quick tips

  • The first step in cleaning an oven is to take the trays and racks out. Check the temperature mentioned on the product label and set it in your oven. Depending on how much build-up there is, you will need to let the product do its magic before scouring and rinsing it with clean water. 
  • Clean the inside and outside of your oven daily, and schedule weekly deep cleaning. The outside of the oven should also be cleaned using suitable product such as degreaser as there are deposits there are well.
  • Consider using a small vacuum cleaner to clean up the little food bits in the corners of the oven.
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