A baking sheet (or baking sheet) is one of the most frequently used items in a cook's kitchen, and it always has a patina to prove it. You'll rarely find a baking sheet in anyone's kitchen free of brown spots.  I call it "experienced" and take these marks as a badge of honor - but at some point, a deep cleaning becomes absolutely necessary.

As you probably know by now, sponging with warm soapy water just isn't enough to get the job done.  I wanted to learn the best way to get an aluminum foil pan that looked as good as new. 

How did you test the different methods
Since the slate sinks are so large, I was able to divide one dirty pan (evenly) into five different sections to test each method. However, for photographic purposes, we used five separate pans, to clean half of the pan at a time (for effect!), but the test and imaging results were similar. It's important to note that in both the testing and imaging, we used aluminum pans, which have a good layer of baked-on leftovers from roasting lots and lots of vegetables. All utensils have been rubbed after each use and there is still plenty of baked-on sticky left to get rid of.

Ratings: Each method received a rating from one to five, with five being the best method overall and the other the least preferred method. All methods were effective, some put in more effort than others or took a major step we didn't like. Along with the rating, you'll find notes on how easy or difficult the method was, how much elbow grease it took to clean the pans, and how long it took to remove all the dirt.

Plate cleaning method: baking soda and aluminum foil

Total time: 10 to 15 minutes
Rating: 1/5

Method: Sprinkle your baking tray with baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Stuff a sheet of aluminum foil and use it as a cleaning sponge, working in circles around the surface of the pan. Occasionally, put the aluminum foil back in your hand if it becomes too flat, and keep rubbing it all over the pan until the pan is clean. Rinsing & washing with cozy soapy water .

How it went: I had high hopes for this method because it worked miracles when I tested it on cleaning burnt food from pans, but it failed. I did, in the end, get results, but it took time and a lot of grease. This method may be best used on baking sheets with large amounts of stuck-on food, rather than on baked flat spots. Although I didn't like this method very much, if you have a sheet of disposable tin foil to throw away, I recommend thickening it up and using it as a first pass. Just be sure to crimp the sheet in a way that keeps any food from sticking to the foil inside the ball so you don't end up spreading more goo on the pan you're trying to clean.