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Why it's a bad idea to protect your oven with foil (and 2 easy alternatives)

Keep foil out of your oven. Here's several reasons why.

foil in the oven

Foil doesn't belong in the bottom of your oven.

Alina Bradford/CNET

There are plenty of pins on Pinterest that suggest covering the floor or the racks of your oven with aluminum foil to keep them clean.

While, on the surface, this may seem like a good idea, here are some reasons why you should keep foil out of your oven:

  1. Putting foil on the bottom of a gas oven can interfere with the flame, leading to improperly cooked food or a damaged stove.
  2. Foil on the racks of gas or electric ovens can block heat and air flow, leading to improperly cooked food.
  3. With any type of oven, putting foil at the bottom can be risky. The foil may not be able to withstand the high heat and can melt to the oven, damaging it permanently.
  4. The heat reflected off the foil can make your baked goods cook faster.
  5. The heat reflected off of the foil may also burn out the oven's heating elements.
  6. You may not even want to use foil on your baking pans. This article explains why and some good alternatives.

Easy alternatives to protect your oven

While foil may not be a good choice to protect the inside of your oven from spills, you have two other good options. Whenever you're baking something that you fear may spill over -- like a pie -- put the pan on a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet will catch the drips and you can stick it in the dishwasher when the baking is done.

Another alternative is using a silicone oven liner that is designed to be put inside of an oven. These liners are heat-resistant so you don't need to worry about them melting and they are non-reflective. Only use liners if you have an electric or convection oven, though. They won't work with gas ovens.