It all started with the picture you see above. I took this photo when putting together my post on Icelandic Yogurt. When I noticed how DIRTY my oven racks were, I couldn’t bear to post it on my blog. The shame motivated me to clean them on Monday last week.
Both of my ovens are self-cleaning ovens, but the self-cleaning cycle will not run with the racks in place. An alarm goes off and they must be removed. I did some research and found that leaving stainless steel racks in your oven during the cleaning cycle will discolor them and harm the finish so they will no longer glide in and out smoothly. So up until this week, I have kept my oven clean but turned a blind eye to my very dirty racks.
I looked on You Tube for an effective but easy way to clean oven racks. I’m a little scared of ammonia so I found some instructions to soak the racks in a bathtub full of water with a cup of laundry soap added. Twelve hours later, I was down on my knees, leaning over the bathtub and lightly scrubbing the racks to knock off the baked-on grease. It came off fairly easily, and the debris was flying everywhere like confetti. I finished the job and was downright proud of my shiny new oven and the racks inside.
Seems like anytime I’m too proud of something, I better watch out. This time was no different.
Tuesday morning I woke up with one of my eyes highly irritated and my nose running. I dismissed it as allergies even though I have no known allergies. My left eye was itchy and quite photo-sensitive. I ditched my contacts and wore eyeglasses all day. The sun bothered me so much, I drove around for 3 days wearing two pairs of sunglasses. By Thursday afternoon, I was desperate and ventured into a clinic inside a drugstore where I was diagnosed with pink-eye.
By Friday morning, my eye had not improved one iota. I kept thinking of the verse in I Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about the body and says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” Driving with the sun in my sensitive eye was making me nauseous and giving me a minor headache not to mention blurry vision.
Friday afternoon I went to my regular eye doctor in search of a second opinion. After he fussed at me like an old bantam hen, he looked in my eye and announced the presence of a “foreign object.” I couldn’t imagine what it could be. He promptly plucked it out and showed it to me–a brown speck no bigger than a grain of table salt. Thinking back over the past week, I realized it was probably a particle of baked-on grease that must have landed in my eye as I was cleaning those nasty oven racks. My eye felt much better immediately although it was still swollen and light-sensitive. The good doctor said it left a divot!
The moral of this story?? If you let your oven racks get as dirty as I did, consider wearing safety glasses while cleaning them. I bought these cute pink ones so nobody else in the house will want to wear my glasses. That strategy has served me well with my pink hammer and pliers, too.
p.s. If you have an easier way to clean oven racks that doesn’t involve ammonia or scrubbing, let me know.