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How to Clean Your Sheet Pans So They Look Almost New

You know that glorious moment when you buy a new cookie sheet or baking pan and look at it in its wondrous splendor?

Knowing full well that before long, it will look crusty, dingy, and permanently dirty thanks to stuck-on food, scorch marks, and baked-on grease?

What a nice, fleeting moment that is.

How to Clean Your Sheet Pans So They Look Almost New Photo

I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve scoured, scrubbed, and soaked pans only to make either no headway or leave streaks on them that look like claw marks from my wire brush.

What a nightmare. Even though you know they’re clean, it just Looks. So. Bad.

Even worse, you have guests over and don’t want them to think they’re eating off some unkempt, dirty pans.

I mean, it’s one thing to give your kids fries on your battered and bruised bakeware, it’s another to try to wow someone with a homemade pizza that looks like the pan it’s served on went through some really bad things nobody is ready to talk about yet.

If you’re looking to clean a sheet pan, you’re in luck.

There are some hacks for those of us who are lacking time, effort, energy, or just the desire to push through the mundane — these tricks are so simple that anyone can do them, and so inexpensive that you’ll be wondering what you’ve been waiting for.

If it’s your first time trying to remove baked-on stains and seemingly permanent damage, a cleaning process above will really help you cut down on the amount of scrubbing and spend less time pulling your hair out.

SAFETY WARNING: Our awesome and simple mixtures will help remove even the most baked-on junk, but do not combine hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together. These two ingredients can be used in succession very safely, but mixing them together will create an irritant that can affect your skin, eyes, lungs, throat, and nose.

One cleaning hack recipe at a time is safest and best!

Tex Mex Breakfast Sheet Pan Frittata Recipe Photo

How Do You Get Brown Stains Out of Sheet Pans?

Cleaning a sheet pan depends on the type of material the pan is made of.

The three main materials used for sheet pans are aluminized steel, aluminum, and nonstick coating.

Good news — baking soda paired with either vinegar or water are two foolproof methods that can be used on all of the above materials, and are our go-to solutions for this reason.

Your old sheet pan with tough stains and years of use will look new if you follow these best tips.

Removing brown stains or black spots from sheet pans can be a real chore if you try to simply scrub it off with a little elbow grease — chances are, it just won’t happen.

Rust staining can be removed from sheet pans in the following way:

  • Rinse the sheet thoroughly and shake off excess water, leaving it damp.
  • Lightly dust the pan with baking soda.
  • Make sure all rusty areas are coated with baking soda, using extra emphasis if needed on larger stains.
  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • With the baking soda still on, gently scrub the baking sheet.
  • Rinse and dry immediately.

Still battling brown staining? It could be related to burned grease or oils.

How Do You Remove Baked On Grease From Cookie Sheets?

Brown or black stains that aren’t rust are usually oil or burnt foods that left a residue behind.

If you cook with oils such as olive oil, which has a low smoke point, you may notice more frequent burn-related staining.

Soaking the sheet pan in the appropriate mixture will yield excellent results, as it allows time to loosen debris.

How to Clean Your Sheet Pans So They Look Almost New Picture

Can You Clean Pans with Baking Soda?

Yes! You can, and should. Here are our favorite methods of cleaning cooking sheets with baking soda:

BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR CLEANING METHOD

Total time: 30 to 60 minutes

  • Use 1 part baking soda and 1 part vinegar (try using ¼ cup of each to start)
  • Pour the baking soda on the baking sheet and spread evenly across.
  • Add the vinegar. (Much like old school science classes, you know what will happen here!)
  • If possible, soak the tray in a sink or tub filled with hot water for up to 60 minutes. If not, don’t worry! This will still work.
  • Remove from the water and wipe away debris using a non-abrasive sponge or microfiber cloth.
  • Clean as usual with soap and water.

Alternative method: Make a paste using baking soda and vinegar at a 3 to 1 ratio and allow it to sit while you wait up to 60 minutes.

Tip: Repeat as-needed — some stains are very set in and may require multiple treatments to avoid heavy duty, vigorous scrubbing.

BAKING SODA AND HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

Total time: 2 to 3 hours

  • Add hydrogen peroxide to baking soda until it creates a paste that will coat the entire sheet.
  • Spread the mixture evenly across the pan.
  • Allow to sit for up to three hours.
  • Wipe away with a paper towel or soft cloth and warm water.
  • If needed, scrub any stubborn stains.
  • Clean with regular soap and water.

Alternative simple method: Sprinkle a pan with a large amount of baking soda and spray hydrogen peroxide onto the top to create a paste.

BAKING SODA AND ALUMINUM FOIL

Total time: 15 minutes

  • Sprinkle sheet pan with baking soda and a small amount of water to create a thick paste.
  • Wad up a sheet of aluminum foil to use it like a scrubbing sponge.
  • Work in small circles around the surface of the pan, repositioning aluminum foil as it flattens or shifts shape.
  • Rinse and wash with warm, soapy water.

Alternative method: Try this after soaking if you need to concentrate extra on certain areas.

How Do You Make Sheet Pans Look New Again?

Our methods are the safest and most natural ways to clean any type of baking sheet on the market.

While there are chemical compounds that can shine up your bakeware, you’re looking at safety concerns, added materials such as rubber gloves and face masks, ventilation concerns, and more.

With a little time and effort, and trying multiple rounds of our simple soaking methods if needed, you will find your sheet pans look completely refreshed and new!

In the future, using aluminum foil or parchment paper when appropriate will provide an additional and disposable layer between your food and your pans that will make cleanup easier both in the moment and when it comes time to scrub away your burned-on messes.

Crispy Chicken Sheet Pan Tacos Recipe Photo

Bring new life to old sheet pans today and enjoy the benefit of more natural, safer cleaners in your home!

Regardless of which of these easy ways you use, we know these approaches will help you get years of good use out of your newly clean sheet pans and be a lot more effective than just a good scrub.

If one method doesn’t work, try another, but remember not to mix approaches simultaneously because of the dangerous interaction between some of these ingredients.

On a cleaning kick? We can also help you make your copper look new and restore cleanliness to your microwave today.