After the roast, the cleanup

I don’t like cooking. The preparation can be tedious. The smells hang around for days, depending on the configuration of your house and the day’s menu. Worst of all, there’s the washing up.

If you have done a roast on any kind of wire grill/cooking rack arrangement in the oven or a turbo broiler you’ll be familiar with the after-dinner results: a manky thing caked with grease and burnt animal product that needs cleaning.

You’ll spend some (meaning lots of) time with scrubber/brush/steel wool/whatever, plus detergent and hot water, in an effort to make it all good again. When you’re finally done you may have a bit of a mess to clean up after the cleanup. You may also notice some deposits that got missed the first time around.

Now that’s annoying.

I’ve found a better (i.e. faster and yes, better) way to clean the wire rack, using stuff I first encountered many years ago when I was an amateur winemaker and said stuff was sold as an expensive glassware cleaner. It’s so nice to make its acquaintance again.

These days you can find it in Napisan powder or its home-brand equivalent (laundry aisle, your local supermarket, yadda yadda). The important ingredient to look out for is:

sodium percarbonate, a.k.a.
sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate, a.k.a.
disodium carbonate hydrogen peroxide 2:3

Choose the generic supermarket product rather than brand-name version because the latter will contain more ingredients, all of which are irrelevant in this context.

Using it is easy-peasy:

1. Find a container large enough to soak the Thing That Takes Forever To Clean (hereinafter known as the Thing).
2. Put the Thing into it.
3. Chuck a spoonful or two of the cleaning stuff into the container.
4. Add enough boiling water to cover the Thing. (If the Thing is glassware use hot, not boiling).
5. Be briefly mesmerised by the bubbles. Foamy!
6. Go away and read a book/watch TV/have a picnic or anything else for several hours. I like to leave the Thing soaking four to eight hours, but the sodium percarbonate probably doesn’t need that long to work.
7. Pour off all the water and rinse. A bit of scrubbing may still be needed but all the crud will come off quite easily.
8. Voila!

You know what else it works on? Teapots! Weeks/months/years of tannin deposits can be removed in a single soak. Casserole dishes! Baked-on cheese product goes away in a jiffy. So happy.

Is it safe? Yes, if not used in excessive amounts. It is basically an oxygen-based bleach. Common-sense precautions include the following:

Do not eat it.
Do not breathe it in.
Do not let it get into your eyes.
If you get it onto yourself, wash it off immediately.
Keep it dry except the bit you’re actually using. If it gets damp all the hydrogen peroxide bubbles off and you’re left with an inert product.

And that’s all.


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