Best way to clean ‘dirty’ and ‘discoloured’ baking trays

This Morning: Lynsey Crombie advises on cleaning baking trays

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Baking trays are one of the most used items in any kitchen, and it’s often easy to see the wear and tear after just a short time. Oil, grease and food can easily stick to the metal, leaving dark patches and charred residue to cover the once shiny metal. Using a dishwasher to remove stains can be damaging and often ineffective according to cleaning experts, so what exactly should you use instead?

How to clean baking trays

According to Martha Stewart, washing baking trays in the dishwasher can actually worsen their appearance by leaving them “discoloured”.

This is caused by a combination of the high heat, mineral content in the water, and chemicals found in dishwasher tablets.

Over time, metal cookware – particularly aluminium – will appear blackened, patchy and still covered in stains.

The experts at Nordic Ware explained that if trays are not fully cleaned after use, the residual oils and food will further bake themselves onto the pan the next time they’re placed in a hot oven.

When this occurs, you will need more than soap and water to scrub off the stubborn stains.

Nordic Ware recommended using a combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to clear dirt and grime. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and spread it onto the baking tray.

Leave it to sit for two hours and scrub off with a damp sponge.

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White vinegar also works in place of hydrogen peroxide for this hack, though you will need to change the quantities.

Ovenclean advised mixing half a cup of baking soda with equal parts vinegar and pouring it into an empty sink.

Fill the rest of the basin up with hot water and add one or two baking trays.

Leave to soak for 40 minutes before scrubbing the excess residue off.

A scouring pad or hard-bristled brush is best.

How to prevent stains on baking trays

While deep cleaning baking trays can be very satisfying, it’s not something you want to do every week.

Luckily it is easier than you think to prevent stains and grease from lingering on the metal.

Act fast

Washing trays while they are still warm and the stains are “fresh” is always easier than scrubbing dried grease.

All you need to do is rinse the tray with water for a few seconds after use and scrub with some dish soap.

Line your trays

Greasing a baking tray is one way to avoid caked-on food crumbs, but lining them is even better.

Baking parchment or tin foil is all you need to create a thin layer between the food and the metal base.

While the trays will still need washing after, it is much easier to remove small amounts of grease than an entirely burnt pan.

The experts at Nordic Ware added that while it is best to treat cookware as carefully as possible, a stained or slightly warped baking tray shouldn’t be cause for alarm. In most cases, the stains are just cosmetic damage and will not affect the performance of the tray itself.

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