Silicone baking mats have become a baker's best friend. They protect cookie and baking sheets from hard-to-remove stains. They help prevent foods from sticking and burning. And, if cared for correctly, they can last for many years.
Silpat, the original silicone baking mat, was developed by French baker Guy Demarle in the 1960s. The mats combine a fiberglass mesh and a silicone coating that will withstand temperatures from -40 to 480°F. The baking sheets work so well because silicone does not absorb grease or oils from food, leaving them on the surface of the mat and allowing the food to slide right off. Today, there are dozens of silicone baking mat brands available that can be used in the kitchen for:
- keeping cookie and baking sheets clean
- preventing sticking while baking items or when reheating foods in the oven
- reducing waste by replacing parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil on baking sheets
- kneading or rolling out dough on a countertop
- protecting baking sheets from pie plate or cake ring spills
To keep silicone baking mats and other types of silicone bakeware working well, food oils must be removed completely after use, or the oils build up and become sticky. When that happens, food particles begin to stick and the silicone mat won't work well. Learn the easy way to keep your baking mats in top shape.
How Often to Clean Silicone Baking Mats
Silicone baking mats should be washed at the end of every baking session. While silicone mats can go into the dishwasher, hand-washing is recommended to prolong the life of the mat. If the mat begins to feel sticky, a more thorough cleaning is necessary to remove the build-up of oils that is causing the stickiness.
Equipment / Tools
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Microfiber cloths
- Sink or large bucket
- Dishwashing gloves
- Oven mitt
- Dishwashing liquid with a degreaser
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Distilled white vinegar
Perform Regular Cleaning
Wash the mats in a sink of warm water with a dishwashing liquid that contains a degreaser. Use a non-abrasive sponge to carefully wipe down each side of the mat. Rinse well with warm water. Dry the mat with a lint-free microfiber dish towel or place it in a dishrack to air-dry, which may take several hours.
To clean the mats in the dishwasher, choose a dishwasher detergent that does not contain chlorine bleach. Frequent use of too much chlorine bleach on silicone can deteriorate the surface. When placing the mat in the dishwasher rack, be sure the mat is not creased. If it must be folded, form a gentle curve to prevent damage.
Do a Hot Water Soak to Remove Sticky Residue
To remove excess oils from the mat, fill a sink or large bucket with boiling water. Add one teaspoon of a degreasing dishwasher detergent. Wearing rubber gloves, swish your hands through the water to disperse the detergent, and add the silicone baking mat.
Allow the mat to soak for at least 30 minutes, up to one hour is fine. Drain the cooled water. Refill the sink with hot tap water. Put a few drops of dishwashing detergent on a non-abrasive sponge and scrub both sides of the mat.
Rinse with hot water and dry with a microfiber towel. Rub your fingers over the mat to feel for any remaining stickiness. If the mat still feels sticky, move to the next step of scrubbing with baking soda.
Use Oven Heat and Baking Soda to Remove Stubborn Residue
Heat the oven to 350°F (177°C). When the oven is fully heated, place the silicone baking mat directly on an oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes to soften the residue.
Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the mat and dampen it with hot water. Sprinkle the wet mat with enough baking soda to make a paste over the surfaces. Allow the baking soda paste to dry completely.
Once the baking soda is dry, fill the sink with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Wash the mat, wiping the surface with a non-abrasive sponge. Rinse in warm water and dry thoroughly. Feel the mat for any remaining sticky spots. Clean those areas with a bit of dry baking soda on a damp sponge. Rinse and allow to dry.
While discoloration from foods will not affect the performance of the baking mat, you may wish to remove the stains with hydrogen peroxide, a slow-acting bleaching agent. Place the mat in a bucket or sink and pour on enough 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to cover the stained area. Let it soak for 24 hours. Rinse well before using it.
Tips to Keep Your Silicone Baking Mat Clean Longer
- Do not use cooking sprays or add a coating of grease on silicone mats.
- Always use a dishwashing liquid that contains a grease-cutting agent when washing the mat.
- Never use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on silicone: These can leave scratches that catch food and oils and lessen the non-stick qualities of the piece.
- Wash silicone mats well after every baking session to prevent oily build-up.
- Do not use the baking mat while it is wet.