Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Pre-Thanksgiving Miracle – Actually TWO Incredible Kitchen Fixes Which I Guarantee You’ve Never Heard Of Before

Maybe I should hedge my bets and say you’ve PROBABLY never heard of these before. Nah, let’s go the whole hog. You will be amazed with what you’re about to learn.

I always find it's a good idea to clean my ovens as part of my Thanksgiving preparations. I’ve learned after many years that turkey grease spitting and splattering around the hot oven for hours and smoking up the kitchen is NOT a good way to welcome guests. So...sometime in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I try to do it. (It’s a good thing too, because, between you and me, it’s actually the ONLY time I clean my ovens. I’m not alone, right? RIGHT?)

I really have nothing to complain about, because the ovens are electric and self-cleaning, but you ARE supposed to wipe out all the gunk on the bottom of the oven. I do what I can, even though the bottom element makes this very difficult. The shelves, however, are another matter. I always feel that if the shelves are clean, the oven is clean. And here is where the miracle begins.

I start by soaking the metal shelves and shelf holders in super-duper hot water with detergent. Oh, and I decided to throw some baking soda in with the soaking shelves. I didn’t add a lot – maybe 2 tablespoons.

Then I scrub every inch. (Okay, I admit I lose a bit of steam with that underneath part where the shelf grids meet the sides. You can’t see that anyway.) I get a lot of the stuff off. They're not perfect, but they're pretty darn good. 

About that baking soda, I’ve been using it a lot lately. WHY did no one tell me that it’s amazing for getting tea stains out of cups and teapots??? I’m telling you, it’s amazing! You just pour a bit in the cup and rub it with a wet green scrubbie, rinse and the tea stain is gone

Look how sparkling clean the cup is! Now THAT'S a good day when that happens!

While the shelves were soaking, I Yahoo’ed “cleaning oven racks” just for fun. (I know! MY idea is fun is definitely unique.) I found this miraculous post. Jill soaked her shelves overnight (actually for 18 hours!) in water and detergent with 6 to 8 DRYER SHEETS and all the gook on the shelves just wiped away easily.

I couldn’t dedicate my kitchen sink to this endeavor for that long and I had already soaked them for a while, SO I took a dryer sheet…I got a box of them 22 years ago(!) in a gift basket and I’ve kept them all this time for lining garbage cans…and I used it to wipe all the stuff off the soaked, gungy oven shelves. AND IT WORKED! IT ACTUALLY WORKED!!! 


The truth is I have no idea if the baking soda made any contribution, but next time (which most likely will be next November ;-) I will definitely soak the shelves WITH the dryer sheets. It truly was one of the most amazing discoveries I’ve ever made.

On to the next miracle. I wish I were telling you this with the support and backing (and plenty of free products) from the good people at the SC Johnson Company, but, no, this is my own freely given evaluation of their product. I had been using and been very happy with Reynolds Plastic Wrap for years. And they had that cool dispenser with the sliding cutter on it. Then it became unavailable, so I was forced to buy another plastic wrap.. (I HAVE found it online in larger quantities for commercial use, but that giant roll doesn't fit in the appointed plastic wrap slot in my kitchen.) 

Incidentally, I NEVER MICROWAVE ANYTHING WITH PLASTIC WRAP ON IT. I use wax paper, a glass lid, a paper towel - ANYTHING BUT PLASTIC, but I do use plastic wrap to cover leftovers. I bought Glad Wrap for a long time to replace the Reynolds Wrap. I finally got sick of fighting with it, having the pieces never unroll properly from end to end, having to unravel thin strings of it from around the edge of the roll to get it moving properly and I bought Saran Wrap. OMG! What a difference. Saran Wrap is the best! There is never any fighting, fuming or fidgeting with the roll to make it unroll easily. I will NEVER buy Glad Wrap again and I will ALWAYS buy Saran wrap. 

Maybe the fact that it says PREMIUM has something to do with its excellence.

But there’s something else I recently learned that I can definitely characterize as life-changing. Whether you buy Saran Wrap, Glad Wrap or any kind of foil, did you know that the manufacturers put pressable tabs at the ends of each box, which secures the roll and ensures that it doesn’t come out of the box as you’re unrolling it???!!

Did you know this? I sure didn’t! I think I saw it on Hoda and Katheeeeee Leeeeeee and I cannot believe how much heartbreak and frustration I could have saved myself if I had only known that small fact. 

 I wish you happy oven cleaning and plastic wrap unrolling. That's it for now.


Heather said...

I knew about the tabs, but a funny thing about the Saran Wrap - I was looking for cling wrap last month and one brand (can't remember which) actually said "With more cling" or "clings better than original" or something like that. I was being advertized as "Super" or "Premium" and I thought - this whole time I've been buying the stuff that doesn't work. And now I have to pay more to get the kind that does what it's supposed to do in the first place.

Sue said...

Hi Heather,
HOW did you know about the tabs?!! And why didn't you tell ME? I can't believe I've been buying wraps for DECADES and I only just found out!

Sometimes the ones that say they cling better are really annoying, because they cling to themselves and it's a struggle to UNcling them. And, by the way, not to dump on the GLAD company too much, but I just bought some GLAD plastic containers (because the store brand had run out of the size I wanted) and I practically needed a wrench to get the lid off! I will NEVER buy those again EITHER.

Emily said...

I only clean my oven when I move out of an apartment! Haha.

Your racks and tea cups look nice and sparkly clean! Wow.

I buy the cheap, cheap plastic wrap. I'm going to buy premium saran wrap next time.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Isn't Saran Wrap kind of like Kleenex or Band Aids or Scotch Tape? In other words, it's kind of the definitive brand. I tried those self-sealing wraps recently. Big mistake. Very hard to work with.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,

I'm jealous that you have a sink big enough to fit your oven racks! Even the utility sink in the basement will only submerge them halfway.