Confession: For all my Type A cleanliness requirements in the kitchen, my cooling racks are almost always a hot mess. A little slick of oil here, bits of browned crust clinging in the crevices, random smudges of chocolate on the undersides. I mean, it's not that I don't try to clean my cooling racks, because usually, I do. And I usually also end up looking like Chris Farley in that scene from Tommy Boy, hot water ricocheting off every wire, into my eyes, running down my arms, driving me mad until I just sort of give up on the whole thing, bits of clinging hardened crumbs and soap suds left behind, telling myself that they're clean enough. Even a run through the dishwasher doesn't always give the desired results of a squeaky clean cooling rack.
Granted, this is absolutely a first world problem, and perhaps your cooling rack cleanliness is totally on point and I am the only one on the planet with this issue. But! Recently I had a brainstorm about a great way to clean cooling racks, and because such flashes of brilliance tend to be so rare and effective, I had to share this tip with you guys.
Pull out a rimmed sheet pan that is big enough for your cooling rack to nest in (your standard half sheet pan with 1-inch tall sides should fit the bill for most racks). Maybe you've got a sheet pan that needs a little cleaning as well--bonus! If your sink is big enough, set the pan in it; if not, cover the counter with a towel and work on top of it. Set the cooling rack in the sheet pan, and fill the pan with the hottest water you've got and some dish soap. Let the whole thing soak for a few minutes, and then have at the submerged cooling rack with the scrubby side of a sponge. Flip the rack over and clean the underside. Dump out the dirty water, give the sheet pan a quick rinse, and fill with clean water. Set the rack back in the pan and swish the clean water over it to rinse the rack. Simple, effective and leaves you with a dry kitchen ceiling. Hooray!