The Secret To Sparkling Baking Trays Is Hiding In Your Food Cupboard

It's incredibly cheap, too.
Elisa Cicinelli via Getty Images

I don’t know what it is about baking trays. Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve designed them for a lifetime of inferno-like suffering in our ovens – but no matter how carefully I clean mine, they seem to get incredibly filthy in a matter of months ― almost as if they’re doing it on purpose.

Forget sponges. Forget dish brushes. Once my baking trays have achieved the crusted-on hue of shame, it feels like nothing will help to clean them.

So you can imagine how intrigued I was to hear from Tasting Table that the humble spud could help to remove the rust from my trays.

All I have to do, they advise, is halve a raw spud, dip the potato in washing-up liquid and salt or baking soda, and get to scrubbing. I was sceptical too ― but having tried it, I’ll never go back.


I know! It works because potatoes are high in something called oxalic acid, which is sometimes sold in its pure form as a rust remover.

When this comes into contact with rust, it creates a substance called iron oxalate, which can easily be washed away with water and soap.

The addition of washing-up liquid will help to cut through grease, while salt and baking powder will exfoliate the surface of your trays.

Sweet potatoes are higher in rust-reducing oxalic acid than other kinds, Tasting Table points out.

Any other methods?

Yep! I’ve tried wrapping my entire oven (baking trays included) in clingfilm overnight after applying a baking soda paste before ― this worked brilliantly.

You can also try submerging your baking trays in hot, soapy water for a minimum of half an hour before scrubbing away the grime. This works, but requires a lot of sink space.

Baking soda and boiling water can also do the trick, Oven Pride suggests (though keep your hands safe during this method).

And of course, you can’t go too far wrong with a wire scourer and good ol’ elbow grease...