Oh dear...I've just opened the oven door while wearing my glasses...and that was a mistake because the inner glass door is grim and it'd be better to simply not mention the racks...
Same with the taps over the sink actually...they look perfectly alright, nice and clean and shiny...until I put my specs on and then I recoil in horror at the thick layer of limescale which has accumulated where the top bit meets the bottom bit...our taps are seriously old-fashioned. Not antiques, just old and out of date and they woggle about a bit...
The taps in the bathroom basin are seriously old...the basin is as well...a friend found it in a salvage yard and I suspect it came from a boarding school or similar institution...it's big and heavy and clumpy and a total pig to clean unless I have an old toothbrush to get behind the taps 'cos they're so close to the china part...
Old toothbrushes are brilliant for reaching hard to reach places but rather than waiting for ours to grow old gracefully I've often resorted to buying a pack of cheap extra hard new ones just for cleaning stuff...
A couple of years ago I'd been unwell for a few days and resorted to watching day-time television...so you know if I did that, I really was poorly...there was a programme I watched with horrified fascination called 'How Clean is Your House' presented by two ghastly women who ran swabs around 'fridges to see how many lethal germs were lurking there and they'd throw cupboard doors open and squeal at the grot inside...
They used toothbrushes, which is probably where I got the idea from in the first place come to think of it...and they used toothpaste as well as a cleaning agent for those seals around 'fridge doors and so on...I just use hot soapy water when I feel inclined to clean the seals around the 'fridge door...
But back to the gas cooker...it comes to bits...every single part can be taken off or unscrewed...the glass door comes off...the grill can be totally dismantled...the oven is supposed to be self-clean, it does no such thing, but I've found the sides can be hoisted out with a bit of brute force...so everything can be soaked and that's fine. Until you come to the controls.
They are very close together...they were once covered in shiny silver stuff which is now peeling off...if I scrub them too hard the lettering for the temp etc simply comes off ...in sheer desperation one day I unscrewed them all and then spent an entire afternoon trying to work out how to put them on again, so I haven't risked it since...now I just squirt them with something powerful and wipe the grease off and hope there aren't too many lingering germs...
Another tip I learned while watching that programme was to use a cat litter tray to soak all your cooker bits in...if you shove everything into the sink it never fits properly and then you're obliged to get it done before you do the washing up...but a deep plastic cat litter tray is grand...I bought a bright pink one and it was very cheap...I never ever use oven cleaner though...after reading the endless warnings on the side of the tin I decided that germs were safer.
But that wasn't always so...once upon a time I was a proper housewife...in the dim and distant past...and I'd spray the inside of whatever cooker I had at the time with something powerful and full of heaven knows what...the smell was enough to knock you sideways and I don't think it actually worked awfully well either...now it's scalding hot water and washing up liquid...or if I'm desperate, a cupful of biological washing powder. Mind you, that works so well I'd never use it on clothes...
Sometimes when you have a think about your so-called labour saving devices which require oodles of care and maintenance, having one or two cast iron pots that could be scrubbed out with a handful of Mares Tail pulled from the roadside must have made cleaning so simple and relatively easy...