Can Oven Racks Go in the Dishwasher? Pros and Cons

When it comes to kitchen maintenance, the cleanliness of oven racks is often a neglected aspect. It’s a common household query: can oven racks be cleaned in a dishwasher? 

Our oven cleaning experts delve into the compatibility of oven racks with dishwashers and suggest why professional oven cleaning might be the superior option.

Want your oven and oven racks cleaned properly so they’re like new? Get in touch now to use our 5 star rated Wakefield oven cleaning services.  

What are Oven Racks?

Oven racks come in various types and are typically made from materials like stainless steel or chrome. These are what your oven trays sit on when cooking and more often than not are easily removable.

Each material reacts differently to cleaning methods, which is very important when considering dishwasher use and the long term effects on your racks. Similar to cleaning oven trays, you must be careful not to ruin them by using the wrong cleaning methods.

Dishwashers and Oven Racks: A Compatibility Guide

Dishwashers use a combination of water pressure and high temperatures to clean. However, not all oven rack materials are suited to this environment. 

For instance, chrome racks might rust when exposed to dishwasher detergents and moisture due to the more intense cleaning that occurs. There are many different shapes and sizes of oven racks so it’s always good to find out what type you have.

Pros and Cons of Putting Oven Racks In a Dishwasher

Using a dishwasher can be a time-saver, but it’s not without risks. The harsh environment inside a dishwasher can lead to discolouration, rust, and deterioration of protective coatings on some oven racks.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with using your trusty dishwasher for this particular job. 


Convenience and Time-Saving

Using a dishwasher to clean oven racks is very convenient. It saves time and effort as you don’t have to scrub them manually.

Effective Cleaning

Dishwashers, especially those with strong cleaning cycles, can effectively remove grease, food particles, and grime from the oven racks.

Reduced Physical Effort

 This method is beneficial for individuals who may have difficulty with manual scrubbing due to physical limitations or arthritis.

Consistent Cleaning

Dishwashers provide a consistent cleaning process, ensuring that all parts of the oven racks are cleaned evenly.


Size Constraints

Oven racks may not fit in all dishwashers, limiting this method’s applicability.

Potential for Damage

 The harsh environment inside a dishwasher (heat, strong detergents, and water pressure) can cause damage to the coating of oven racks, leading to rust and deterioration over time.

Incomplete Cleaning

Some baked-on grime or heavily soiled areas might not get completely cleaned in a dishwasher, requiring additional manual cleaning.

Wear and Tear on Dishwasher

 Regular cleaning of heavy items like oven racks can contribute to faster wear and tear on the dishwasher’s components.

Energy and Water Usage

Using a dishwasher for oven racks, especially if running it separately for them, can be less energy and water-efficient than hand washing, especially for smaller loads.

In summary, while using a dishwasher for cleaning oven racks can be convenient and effective for some, it might not be suitable for all types of oven racks and could potentially lead to damage or increased wear and tear on your dishwasher. 

It’s important to consider the size of your dishwasher, the condition of your oven racks, and the environmental impact before choosing this method.

Why Professional Oven Cleaning Is Often the Best Choice

Professional oven cleaning services offer a safe and thorough cleaning option. These experts use specialised tools and cleaning solutions that are tailored to the material of your oven racks, ensuring a deep clean without the risks associated with dishwasher cleaning.

Alternative Cleaning Methods: DIY Approaches

For those preferring a hands-on approach, manual cleaning with gentle detergents or natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar can be effective. This method allows for targeted cleaning and avoids the potential damage caused by dishwashers.

Regular Maintenance: Key to Longevity

Regular cleaning, whether DIY or professional, extends the life of your oven racks. Simple practices like wiping down racks after use can prevent build-up and make deep cleaning easier.

Safety First: Handling Chemicals and Hot Racks

If using chemical cleaners, always wear gloves and ensure good ventilation. Be cautious when handling oven racks, as they can retain heat long after the oven is turned off.

Avoiding Common Cleaning Mistakes

One common mistake is assuming all oven racks are dishwasher safe. Another is using overly abrasive tools or cleaners that can scratch or degrade the racks.

Evaluating Cost-Effectiveness: Dishwasher vs. Manual Cleaning

While using a dishwasher might seem cost-effective, it can lead to premature rack replacement. Manual or professional cleaning, while potentially more expensive up front, can be more economical in the long run.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Environmentally conscious homeowners can opt for eco-friendly cleaning methods. Natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar to clean your oven offers a safe, effective, and green alternative.


In conclusion, while dishwasher cleaning of oven racks is possible, it’s not always advisable. Considering the material and condition of the racks is crucial.

 Professional oven cleaning emerges as a safe, effective option, ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your oven racks.


Can stainless steel oven racks be cleaned in a dishwasher?

While stainless steel racks are more resistant to rust, consulting the manufacturer’s guidelines is recommended. Whilst most cutlery is stainless steel, they aren’t subject to the huge heat fluctuations that oven racks are, so less likely to be damaged. 

What are the risks of using a dishwasher for oven racks?

Even the best oven racks can become victims of the dishwasher as risks include rust, discolouration, and damage to protective coatings. Once these coatings have been dissolved they will only get worse and worse. 

How can I maintain my oven racks?

Unfortunately there is only really one answer to this question and regular cleaning, whether through DIY methods or professional services, is key.

Are there eco-friendly alternatives to chemical cleaners?

Yes, natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar are great eco-friendly options but can often take too long and are not guaranteed to do the job. 

Does professional oven cleaning provide better results than dishwashers?

Yes definitely as professional cleaning offers a more thorough and safer cleaning process.

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