How to Clean Aluminum Sheet Pans? – 3 Easy Ways

Aluminum sheet pans are one tool that every baker or aspiring baker’s must-have. You can use them to make both sweet and savory dishes that your friends, family, and potential customers will love.

However, as useful as they are, they tend to be difficult to clean. Even after you think you’ve cleaned the aluminum sheet pan, you may still find a speck of brown dirt or two.

Well, if you’re dealing with this common problem, don’t worry. Here are some ways to clean aluminum sheet pans.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is a common and effective method for cleaning your aluminum sheet pans. This method may take slightly longer than the others.

However, you don’t have to do any work during most of that time.

Here’s what you have to do.

Step 1. Mix the Ingredients

For this method, you’ll need:

  • 0.5 cup of baking soda
  • 0.5 cup of white vinegar

Plug your sink and place your sheet pan over it.

After that, mix both the ingredients along with some hot water in the sink. Make sure that you add just enough water to allow the sheet pan to submerge in the mixture.

Step 2. Let the Pan Rest in the Mixture

As soon as you mix the ingredients, the mixture will begin to bubble.

Don’t worry, this is normal. It will help loosen up the residue on the sheet pan. Leave your sheet pan submerged in the mixture for about half an hour to an hour.

Step 3. Scrub the Pan

After the wait, you’ll need a sponge to scrub the residue off of the pan. Make sure to use the scrubby side of your sponge. The soft side will not be abrasive enough to remove the residue on the pan effectively.

If you’d like something even more abrasive, you can use steel wool. Steel wool may speed up the scrubbing process.

However, it will most likely scratch your sheet pan. That said, the scratches won’t pose a problem, so this is a viable option.

Whether you use a sponge or steel wool, make sure to scrub the pan in a circular motion. This method will significantly improve your efficiency, saving you time and effort.

Step 4. Wash and Rinse the Pan

Once you’ve scrubbed the sheet pan, add a layer of dishwashing soap to it. This way, you’ll remove all of the baking soda and vinegar remnants on your pan.

After that, rinse the pan with water, and wipe it down with a paper towel afterward. Leaving your aluminum sheet pans wet can cause it to rust.

Make sure to use rubber gloves when scrubbing the sheet pans. This will protect them from getting scratched during this process.

Also, one useful side-effect of this cleaning process is that it will clean and clear up your drain.

Also read: How to Clean a Ceramic Pan with Vinegar

Use Vinegar and Cream of Tartar

Using a mixture of vinegar and cream of tartar is a good option if you don’t need to use your sheet pans on the same day.

The entire process takes a little over eight hours. This is because this method requires a rest period of about that much time.

So, you’ll only spend about ten to fifteen minutes scrubbing your sheet pans.

Step 1. Add the Ingredients to the Pan

Your first step is to sprinkle some cream of tartar on your aluminum sheet pan. Make sure that the coating is even all across the pan.

Also, don’t forget to sprinkle the sides of the pan as well. In some cases, it can be more difficult to scrub the sides than the bottom.

After you’ve adequately sprinkled the pan with cream of tart, spritz a bit of vinegar over the pan. Make sure that every part of the pan is covered completely.

Also, be generous with the amount of vinegar you use. You want the vinegar to be absorbed by all of the brown gunk in your pan.

Step 2. Let the Pan Rest Overnight

After you apply the necessary ingredients onto the pan, let it rest. Keep it in a dry place so that the mixture can dry over time.

For this cleaning method to be effective, you will have to let the rest pan rest overnight or eight hours. This gives the mixture enough time to break down the residue.

As a result, the gunk will come off without the need for extensive scrubbing.

Step 3. Scrub the Pan

After the rest period, you’ll need a sponge and warm water to remove the gunk. Make sure to use a scrubby sponge.

The soft side of the sponge won’t work well, and you’ll just tire your arms using that. As mentioned before, steel wool is an excellent option for scrubbing aluminum sheet pans.

It saves your time and energy, and it ensures that your pan is spotless.

It’s also worth mentioning that the acidity from the cream of tartar significantly helps this mixture break down the residue.

As a result, this mixture affords an even quicker scrubbing process than the baking soda and vinegar mixture.

What this also means is that you’ll have to use minimal effort during the scrubbing process.

So, you can save a lot of time and effort in this process. The only downside of this cleaning method is the long rest period.

Step 4. Wash and Rinse the Sheet Pan

After scrubbing the pan, add some soap to the pan. Make sure to coat it generously. This will remove the smell of the cream of tartar and vinegar from the pan.

Once you’ve done that, rinse it in warm water and dry it using a paper towel.

This method is effective, so going over this process should be enough. However, if you’re dealing with some pesky stains, you can repeat some parts of the process.

Also read: How to Clean Aluminum Pans with Cream Of Tartar

Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Using a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to clean your sheet pans works like a dream.

However, the problem with this effort is that you’ll need to put in a lot of effort during the scrubbing process.

Also, this process requires a long rest period. So, don’t use this method if you need clean sheet pans right away.

Step 1. Sprinkle Baking Soda, and Spray Hydrogen Peroxide

Your first step is to sprinkle baking soda all over your sheet pan. Make sure to sprinkle it liberally on the bottom and sides of the pan. After that, spray enough hydrogen peroxide to wet the baking soda thoroughly.

Hydrogen peroxide is a potentially dangerous substance. It can burn your skin to an extent and hurt your eyes. So, make sure to handle it with care.

Wear rubber gloves while handling it. Also, try to keep your face away from the pan when you’re spraying the substance.

Step 2. Let the Sheet Pan Rest for Eight Hours

After you’ve applied the substances on the dirty pan, let it rest for eight hours. You can also leave it overnight if you like.

The resting period allows the grime to absorb the mixture thoroughly. That said, you can let it rest for about two to four hours if you’re short on time. Doing so may not provide the same results, however.

Step 3. Use a Plastic Scraper to Scrape the Gunk Off

The third step in this cleaning method is a little different from the other two methods. Instead of using a sponge to scrub the grime off, you’ll need a plastic scraper. Use a high-quality plastic scraper to scrape off the residue on the pan.

Make sure to keep scooping up whatever you remove and dump it in the trash. This way, you’ll have a good idea of your progress. Using a scraper instead of a sponge may require a little more effort.

Scraping the sides can be a bit tricky.

So make sure to place the pan on its side. The side that you want to scrap should be facing the ceiling. Once the pan is on its side, gently scrape the side, while paying close attention to the corners.

Step 4. Wash and Scrub the Pan

The last step for this cleaning method is to wash the pan with soap. Add a layer of soap all over the pan. Follow that by scrubbing the pan with the scrubby side of the sponge.

Go over the entire pan in circular motions. Considering most of the work is done, you just have to spend about a minute scrubbing. After that, rinse the pan with warm water, and wipe it with a paper towel until it’s completely dry.

Last Few Words

There are many ways to clean an aluminum sheet pan. Each method has its pros and cons. So, you’ll have to decide on a method that appeals to you.

Some require longer resting periods, while others require more effort during scrubbing. However, all three of the cleaning methods mentioned above yield effective results.

If your pan is not spotless in the first try, trying scrubbing it some more before you go over the entire process again.

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