How To Clean Your Baking Sheets (And When It’s Time For A New One)

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Sheet pans are true workhorses in my kitchen. And try as I might, I can’t avoid the occasional scorch marks and stains. What’s worse? These spots accumulate over time. And your sheet pan acquires a patina that tells quite a story.

Now, you can choose to see this patina as evidence of all the wonderful dishes and treats that you’ve made. But at some point, you’ll have to deep clean that baking sheet especially if it looks pitiful, patchy, and grimy.

I know many manufacturers recommend washing with some warm soapy water. And that’s cool when the cookie pan is still new. However, after some time you need a superior cleaning method to keep that pan shiny.

Luckily, I have researched effective cleaning methods that don’t take too much time and don’t require lots of elbow grease.  In this post, we’ll check out four easy ways to clean your baking sheet. I’ll also let you know how to tell if it’s time to toss out that burnt cookie sheet and get a new one.

Let’s get started.  

4 Ways to Clean Your Baking Sheets

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that lifts greasy messes without leaving scratches on your pan. Hydrogen peroxide is an age-old versatile cleanser that effectively removes stains and kills germs. These two compounds combine to make a powerful cleaning agent that gives any dirty baking sheet an impressive clean look.


  1. Liberally sprinkle on baking soda.
  2. Spritz with Hydrogen Peroxide until powder is wet.
  3. Let it sit overnight.
  4. Scrape with scraper (throw scraped-up bits in the trash).
  5. Rinse and wash with warm soapy water.

The results

With a little elbow grease and a scrubber, the stains lift quite easily. Before using Hydrogen peroxide, test it on a single inconspicuous spot on the pan to check if it has a bleaching effect.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

The acidic nature of vinegar makes it effective in dissolving stubborn stains. Plus, it’s all-natural and biodegradable. Mix it with baking soda to remove grease, baked-on gunk, and stains on your pan.


  1. Make a paste with baking soda and vinegar
  2. Spread on the pan and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Scrub with a scrubber.
  4. Rinse and wash with soapy water.

The results

With some good amount of scrubbing, the baking soda mixture will remove burnt-on grease and grime to leave you with shiny clean cookie sheets.  Remember to use a gentle scrubber, not steel wool.

old rustic baking sheet
close up of an old rustic baking tray isolated

Cream of Tartar and Vinegar

Cream of tartar is an acidic and mildly abrasive powdery by-product of winemaking. Combine it with vinegar for an acidic mixture that effectively buffs and cleans metal appliances.


  1. Sprinkle sheet with cream of tartar.
  2. Spritz with enough vinegar to make powder damp.
  3. Let the mixture dry for at least 8 hours.
  4. Scrub with a scrubber and warm water.
  5. Rinse and wash with soapy water.

The results

With some warm soapy water, a sponge, and very little effort, you’ll have your grimy stained pan looking as good as new. This cleansing mixture is also great for spot cleaning stainless steel pans.

Self-Cleaning Oven

If no other cleaning method seems to work on your stained baking sheet, you can try running the pan through an oven’s self-clean cycle.


  1. Put the sheet pan in your oven.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the self-cleaning cycle.
  3. Let the baking sheet cool completely.
  4. Rinse and wash with soapy water.


Though it may seem like a desperate move, this method will give your pans an almost-new gleaming look. As effective as it is, this simple cleaning hack must be used with caution. It only works for heavy-duty metal pans and you should never use this cleaning method nonstick pans.

Keep that Baking Sheet Clean

After your pan is (mostly) restored to its past shimmery looks, you must endeavor to keep it clean. Employ these cleaning methods on a regular basis and not too long after buying new baking sheets.

Alternatively, you can line your pan with foil or parchment paper before you place it in the oven. Here are our top recommendations for baking pan liners that will increase the longevity of your baking sheets.

Silpat Baking Mat

Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat

We love the Silpat mat because it’s very versatile, nonstick, and reusable. This resilient and easy-to-clean baking mat will help keep your cookie sheet pan in top shape.

And you can use it with a variety of food from bacon to veggies to cookies. It’s made of fiberglass and heat-resistant food-grade silicone that enhances even baking.

Parchment Paper Baking Sheets

100 Pieces Parchment Paper Baking Sheets

These 100 precut paper baking sheets save you the inconvenience of cutting and folding rolls of parchment papers before you start baking.

They have a nonstick surface on both sides. Plus, they are non-toxic, greaseproof, don’t soak through. After baking, remove the recyclable paper and you’ll be left with an easy-to-clean pan.

When To Replace Your Baking Sheet

Like it or not, there comes a time when you should toss out your baking sheet and get a new one. Here are signs that indicate that it’s time for a replacement.

 When your pan is beveled or warped

If your pan wobbles or rocks when you place it on a flat surface, then it might be warped. Bends and dents in a pan will lead to burnt spots and raw spots. This is due to uneven heat distribution which results in undercooked or overcooked food.                                                                                                                                     

When the nonstick coating of your aluminum baking sheet starts peeling off

If you start noticing bits of food scorched onto your nonstick cookie sheet, then you need to replace it. Nonstick coating will wear off over time. When the nonstick surface begins to peel off, some of the coating flakes can get into your food.

Shine On!

After enjoying roasted veggies, sugar cookies, and multiple yummy sheet-pan dinners, your baking sheet may lose that attractive and shiny clean look.

You may be tempted to toss it out or accept that it will always look tacky. And at some point in the future, you’ll need to replace your baking sheet.

But before you give up on the pan, make sure that you experiment with these dependable ways of cleaning baking sheets. Not all pans will achieve the pristine look, especially if you’ve had yours for years.

These cleaning methods will remove sticky bits and burnt-on grease. And if nothing works, then it might be time to shop for a new baking sheet.

Last update on 2022-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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