How to Clean the Crud from Your Baking Sheets

Image of water being poured on dirty baking sheet.

Scene: you’re adventurous, hungry, and a little cooking-averse, but were inspired to try out a recipe for roasted Parmesan chicken from TV. Looks good. Smells good. Tastes good. What’s not good is the mess of dishes in the kitchen.

There’s char. There’s residue. There’s a good amount of burnt crust too. Whose turn is it to do dishes again? Besides soaking them in soapy water overnight or busting out the steel wool, what can you do? You best not stick pans in the dishwasher with goopy food remains on it unless you want: a. a bigger mess, b. a divorce, or c. a new dishwasher.

You’re in luck. This trick demonstrated by Chopped judge (and chef) Geoffrey Zakarian really works. In the video, dryer sheets make light work out of grimy baking sheets. That’s right. Those anti-static fighters are good outside of the laundry room. Check out how simply they do the job, and try not to get distracted by a man in a fancy suit washing a grimy cookie sheet.

Grab your dirty baking sheet and spread dryer sheets on top of the crud. It’s okay if they overlap. Pour enough warm water on them to get them soaked. Lay it flat on the counter or in the sink for at least an hour or two. If you really want to go for gold, leave it soaking overnight.

Marvel at how everything blasts off your cookie sheet. You won’t have to do the dirty work of picking burnt cheese off the cookie sheet. Yay! Afterwards, you should only need to do a little bit of scrubbing to get it squeaky clean.

Watch below to see how Geoffrey wows Rachael Ray with this helpful tip. You can also use this method for pots and pans, and rumor has it that used dryer sheets work too. For those of you who don’t keep them in the house, now you have a reason. For those who have been using these for things like dusting or stinky diaper pails, now you have another reason.

But bear in mind, it’s not clear whether this trick will work on aged crud. What’s that? The kind your roommate is good for, like a week’s worth of dishes in the sink coated in yuck. Or worse, the dangerous ones left around the house that have sprouted a layer of white, cottony mold. If you try it with cases like these, let us know how it works out.

Cleaning dirty pans after cooking is no picnic, especially when food and burnt char is so caked on you need a shovel to scrape it off. Dish-washing is already a chore, but scrubbing crust makes it feel a little extra. When you can’t sub out the work or trick someone else into doing them, use a hack like this one to make it easier.

Have you ever tried this pan cleaning hack? What other tricks do you use to get through a dish washing marathon? What else do you use your dryer sheets for? Let us know in the comments!