by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 21, 2017)
Donna has some deep-walled cookie sheets that she has used for years. (Some people call them "bun pans.") Over time, they've developed what looks like a "veneer" or varnish on the metal, which Donna believes is from built-up grease that has been cooked onto the metal surface. It doesn't come off with normal scrubbing, and she's afraid that steel wool will damage the metal. Donna wonders how she can clean off this burnt-on veneer without damage.
There are several different things you can try. First, you could try using regular oven cleaner. Spray the cookie sheets, inside and out. Then, put them into a garbage bag and seal it. (This stops the cleaner from stinking up your house.) Let it sit for a few hours in a warm place; you might even put it outside in the sun, if the temperature is warm. Then you can rinse off the oven cleaner using a garden hose or in the bathroom tub.
You could also try a natural cleaner: put approximately 1/4 cup of baking soda in a small bowl and pour in some hydrogen peroxide until it makes a paste. Then rub it on the offending stain and let it sit for a while. Light scrubbing should remove the stain with no problem.
You might also try cleaning them using dryer sheets. Depending on what is actually causing the build-up, this might work great. Fill your tub with water—enough to just cover the cookie sheets. (Don't put them in there yet, however.) Put several dryer sheets in the water and swish them around. Wait about ten minutes until they are soaked well, then put your cookie sheets in the water and let them sit overnight. In the morning, the build-up should come right off.
If you choose to use the dryer sheet approach, there is an important safety tip: Close the bathroom door and don't let your pets near the cleaning water. The chemicals in the dryer sheets can be harmful to the pets, so you don't want them drinking the water.
Finally, you can always try Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. It never ceases to amaze me what those small pads will clean, and how easily they do it.
When your pans are finally clean, you'll want to do whatever you can to stop the build-up from occurring again. Two good ways are by lining the sheets with aluminum foil or, if you are using them for baking, use sheets of parchment paper to line the bottom of the cookie sheets.
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