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I recently cleaned my broiler pan with great success in my self-cleaning oven. Great. Now I'm looking at my aluminum half-sheet pans. They're sticky, they're discolored, I only have so much elbow grease to spare. I'm soaking the pans now to apply precious elbow grease in the morning, but I just don't want to. What if I ran the self-cleaning cycle again, this time with the cheap aluminum sheet pans? (They are of the "hotel" variety, not the disposable kind) I know they'd get clean, sort of, but would it ruin the pans?

This is pretty close to what I have (or what I used to have before I loaned them out): pans

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    I once cleaned a really badly baked-on alu pan with a scouring attachment on a dremel. Worked really good. – rumtscho Jan 11 '14 at 18:02
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I'd be mighty cautious about putting aluminum pans in your oven's self-cleaning cycle. It's melting point is 660 degrees C, and although your oven isn't going to reach that it will probably get to the point where they will warp.

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    Hmmm, I kind of thought that was going to be it. That isn't the answer I was hoping for. Oh well, I'll upvote tomorrow after I decide it's not worth it to try, or after I ruin one pan in the name of science. I haven't decided yet which way I'll go. – Jolenealaska Jan 11 '14 at 10:03
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    If you do decide to try it keep an eye on the oven for any signs of the pan warping. If it starts to warp turn the oven off right away, it's within the realm of possibility that the sheets could melt and ruin your oven, it all depends on how hot your self-cleaning oven gets and the alloys used in the sheets. – GdD Jan 11 '14 at 19:01
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I have put aluminum baking sheets as well as a toaster oven pans in the oven set to self clean and haven't seen warping or discolorations. All the "gunk" stuck on a pan is made of polymerized oils left over from cooking sprays and food. The oven is burning off all the organic matter and all that is left is a grey dust that is made of minerals like calcium.

The oven door locks during self cleaning to help prevent excess oxygen from entering the oven and risking spontaneous ignition of the organic materials (as well as safety). As long as the door remains shut there shouldn't be any oxidant that can enter and discolor the pan.

I do worry about warping because of the thermal stress that the high temperatures can cause. These pans are designed to be heated and cooled hundreds if not thousands of times in their life-cycle, so running them through a self cleaning oven may shorten the time the pan has before it warps or fails.
Despite this theory, my rule of thumb is to only self clean pans that I would not miss if they became ruined in case I am wrong. Lastly, I would never self clean a pan that has any kind of protective or non-stick coating.

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I put my aluminum half sheet pans in my self cleaning oven and they come out shining. I'm considering putting the toaster oven tray to self clean but it's a much lighter aluminum so I'm not sure if that will warp.

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We did this last night with an aluminum sheet pan that was completely covered front and back with burned on black gunk. It came out perfect. Of course, it was this or throw away, but it certainly does not need to be thrown away.

We’ve put the grids from our cooktop and grill and some other stuff that was extremely messed up in a cleaning cycle and everything has come out fine. We’re a bit hesitant to put our stained stainless steel chicken fryer through a cycle, though.

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