June 22

How to Clean Silicone

Written by: Nadia El-Yaouti

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Silicone cookware and utensils have always been one of my favorite types of kitchen tools. Not only do they come in fun colors, they can truly be a game changer in the kitchen.  

But what happens when your silicone cookware and utensils start developing sticky spots or odd discolorations? No, your silicone is not defective, and no, you don’t need to throw it out.

Before you give up on your stash of silicone, try these tips that will not only get them looking like new, but will help you understand how to use them properly to give them a longer life.

Enjoy!

What Is Silicone Bakeware Made Of?


Clean silicone spoons

Before we get into the nitty gritty, we need to know what we’re dealing with. Silicone bakeware is growing in popularity because bakers who enjoy playing with different shapes and styles love how flexible this material can be. 

Silicone bakeware is made out of a synthetic polymer which is created from a mixture of naturally occurring silicone and either carbon, oxygen or both. This synthetic mixture results in the rubbery material we know as silicone bakeware. It's this unique synthetic polymer that allows this cookware to be entirely non-stick, making it a baker’s dream.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Silicone?


Silicone is unique because depending on how you bake or cook with it will determine how you should clean it. The two main issues that exist with silicone are sticky spots that can be annoying to remove and discoloration from strongly colored ingredients. Today, we’ll take a look at how to clean both.

What Causes Sticky Silicone?


Sticky spot on silicone mold

If you use silicone bakeware often, then chances are you may have noticed over time that your baked goods are not coming out as cleanly as they first did. Fortunately there is a simple fix for this.

If you don't clean your silicone bakeware properly after each use, a caked-on film will be left behind. This film is baked-on grease seeping out from your food as you bake it.

You can tell whether or not this film is left behind after you clean your silicone bakeware and it's fully dry. If you feel around the surface of the bakeware, you may be able to find sticky spots that appear to be clean but feel unclean. 

Not cleaning your silicone bakeware properly can make it lose its non-stick functionality, and the leftover greasy film can even become a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.


Avoid Adding Extra Oil 

One of the best ways to avoid sticky silicone is by fighting the temptation of adding oil to your bakeware. Unlike traditional bakeware that requires a coating of fat to create a non-stick barrier, silicone does not always need that extra layer of protection, and it will do more harm than good.

The grease and oils that are in your recipe will melt onto the silicone as it bakes, creating an extra non-stick coating. When you add extra oil, you are only making this film harder to remove. 

How to Clean Silicone Bakeware


Rinsing clean silicone mold

Silicone bakeware can be a frustrating thing to clean. After frequent use, you will be left with thicker grease films over time. While it’s certainly possible to lift away a thick grease film, it does take a bit more effort. All you need is some hot water, a tough degreasing soap, and some baking soda. Here’s what you’ll need to do:  


1. Start by washing your silicone bakeware using a soft sponge, hot water and a tough decreasing soap. Scrub the silicone bakeware as you would any other dish.

2. Once you have rinsed the bakeware, feel around for any remaining greasy or sticky spots. Apply a generous amount of baking powder and gently rub it into stubborn stains. Do not use an abrasive scrubber, as this could damage the nonstick coating of the silicone.

3. Let the baking soda dry onto your bakeware. This could take anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours. Don’t rush this part as this is where the magic happens.

4. After the baking soda has dried over the sticky spots, work at it again using degreasing soap and hot water. This time the remaining grease will lift away entirely. 

5. Dry the silicone bakeware using a drying towel and store it until you're ready to use it again. 

Baking soda to clean silicone baking mat

You can use this method to clean silicone baking mats that have tough grease stains on them as well. For a more routine, easier cleaning method, you can allow your baking mats to soak in a hot water and degreasing soap solution for a couple of hours. This will help to lift away and break down any stubborn grease.

How To Remove Stains From Silicone Cooking Utensils


Cleaning silicon using hydrogen peroxide

Silicone utensils are great because of how easy they are to use and how hassle free they are to clean. But, if you’re like me and you cook with lots of pigmented ingredients like turmeric and tomato sauce, then overtime, you might notice your light colored silicone spatulas turning an unsightly shade of yellow.


With Hydrogen Peroxide

The silicone stains and discoloration can be tough to remove, but this simple cleaning method can help get rid of the discoloration. Here’s what you need to do: 

1. Start by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide in a tall glass that your silicone spatula can fit into. You can also pour the hydrogen peroxide into a tray so you can lay your spatula flat.

2. Put your spatula into the hydrogen peroxide solution and make sure that the silicone is covered entirely. Allow the spatula to sit for at least 24 hours. Then remove and rinse well using soap and water.


*If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, you can still get your spatula sparkling clean using diluted bleach. Here’s what to do: 


With Bleach

1. Mix together 2 cups of water and 2 ½ tablespoons of bleach.

2. Put your silicone spatula in the diluted bleach, making sure the solution covers the spatula entirely. 

3. Allow the spatula to sit in the solution for 24 hours. Then remove the spatula and wash it with soap and water.


It’s important to remember that stains and discoloration on your silicone spatulas doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't clean. It just means that the compounds creating the lingering color need to be broken down using oxidants like bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

Once these compounds are broken down, your spatulas will be clean and clear the way they were when you first used them.

Benefits of Using Silicone Bakeware


What makes silicone bakeware so great is that by nature, it’s designed to not absorb oils and grease, thus rendering it “non-stick." Silicone’s non-stick nature can make the cooking process easy and mess free. However, if it's not cleaned properly, then this natural non-stick coating becomes super sticky over time.


Unlike traditional baking tins, you don’t have to worry much about breaking your baked goods when removing them from their mold. Instead, you can just fold away the silicone until your baked goods pop right out. Bakers like myself love silicone because it can be molded to create virtually any type of shape for you to bake with. 

Purchasing Silicone Bakeware


There are so many types of silicone bakeware on the market right now, and you can find them at varying price points. Higher quality silicone like this Caketime set will not emit an odor when you bake with it and won't stain as easily or discolor over time.

Lower quality silicone which is made using additives and fillers can emit odors and will likely stain easier and discolor over time. There’s an easy method to tell whether or not silicone cookware has additives or fillers. If you pinch and twist a flat surface of silicone cookware, you should not see any white appear. Also, pure silicone bakeware should not change color when it’s twisted or bent.

Conclusion


Silicone bakeware and utensils can be intimidating to use and if you don’t clean them properly, you won’t be reaping their full benefits. It’s important to know how to clean silicone properly, because these underrated kitchen tools can really change up your cooking game, especially if you are a baker.

Let us know in the comment section below what you love about silicone cookware and other hacks you use to clean yours. 

Cheers,

Nadia


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About the author

Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and three kids. When she's not exploring new and improved ways of cleaning and organizing the kitchen on a budget, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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