Silicone baking sheets, bakeware, candy molds, ice cube trays, spatulas, and tools are available everywhere thanks to their diversity, nonstick properties, and ease of use. Silicone is a nonstick surface because it doesn't absorb any oil or grease from food—all the oil stays on the surface of the bakeware so that foods slide right off the surface. That's great—until the oils are not removed completely during cleaning. They build up and become sticky traps for food particles, and the silicone bakeware just doesn't work as well anymore.
While silicone kitchenware can go into the dishwasher, it will take hand-washing to restore sticky silicone pieces. Fortunately, removing those oils, residues, and any stains from silicone is easy if you follow a few simple steps.
How Often to Clean Silicone Kitchenware
Silicone kitchenware should be washed after every use. As soon as the pieces begin to feel sticky, a more thorough cleaning is necessary or the situation will only become worse.
Equipment / Tools
- Nonabrasive sponge
- Microfiber cloth
- Sink or large bucket
- Rubber dishwashing gloves
- Dishwashing liquid with a degreaser
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Chlorine bleach
- Distilled white vinegar
How to Clean Sticky Silicone Kitchenware
There are two methods for cleaning and restoring sticky silicone pieces. Start by washing the pieces properly before you move on to the next step.
Create a Soaking Solution
Fill a sink or large bucket with very hot water—lukewarm won't work. If your water does not get very hot, add some boiling water heated in a microwave or kettle. Add one teaspoon of a dishwashing detergent that includes a degreaser or a grease-cutting agent. Swish the detergent through the water with a spoon or your hands to make sure it is dispersed well.
Wearing rubber dishwashing gloves will allow you to work longer in hot water.
Add the Silicone to the Soaking Solution
Submerge the silicone in the hot, soapy water and allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes—an hour or longer is even better. This will give the degreaser time to work effectively.
Scrub the Silicone
Remove the silicone from the soaking solution. If the water is cold, drain it away and add more hot water. Put a few drops of the dishwashing liquid on a nonabrasive sponge and scrub the silicone well.
Do not use a scouring pad or plastic scrubber on silicone. Abrasive cleaners and tools will damage the surface and destroy the nonstick qualities.
Rinse and Repeat
Rinse the silicone piece well in hot water and dry with a microfiber cloth. Use your fingers to feel every inch of the surface. If the piece still feels sticky, repeat the steps, or move on to a more aggressive cleaning step.
Use Oven Heat
If silicone pieces are really sticky and washing doesn't seem to be cleaning them easily, you can use the oven to help speed up the process. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). When the proper temperature has been reached, place the silicone pieces in the oven for 10 minutes. This will help the residue soften for easier removal.
Apply Baking Soda
Carefully remove the pieces from the oven. Rinse them with water just to dampen and sprinkle them liberally with dry baking soda. Use the water clinging to the silicone to make a paste with the baking soda. Be sure to cover all of the surfaces with the paste. Allow the baking soda to dry completely (this may take several hours).
Scrub Tough Stains With Baking Soda
Once the baking soda is dry, rinse away the paste in hot water. Wash the silicone in hot, soapy water. Use your fingers to feel for any remaining sticky spots. If you find them, sprinkle a sponge with baking soda and scrub gently.
Rinse and Repeat
Rinse the silicone well in hot water. If no stickiness remains on the surface, dry the piece with a microfiber cloth or allow it to air-dry in a dish drainer. If the silicone still feels sticky, repeat the steps.
How to Remove Tough Stains from Silicone
Some foods can leave stains on light-colored silicone pieces, and poor-quality water can leave a residue that should be removed to preserve the non-stick quality of the silicone. Here's how.
Remove Discoloration From Silicone
If light-colored silicone pieces have stains from darker foods, you can use hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach to remove the discoloration.
Since hydrogen peroxide is a slow-acting bleaching agent, simply place the discolored item in a bowl or sink and pour on enough hydrogen peroxide to cover the stained area. Let it soak for 24 hours. Rinse well before using it.
Chlorine bleach is stronger and must be diluted. Add two tablespoons of bleach for every two cups of water. Submerge the stained item and soak for 24 hours. Rinse well before using it.
Remove White Powdery Residue From Silicone
If you live in an area that has hard water, the minerals can leave a powdery white residue on silicone. It's not dangerous, but it will interfere with the nonstick properties. To remove the problem, soak the silicone pieces in distilled white vinegar for about 30 minutes. The vinegar will cut through the mineral deposits. Rinse the pieces well and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Tips to Keep Your Silicone Clean Longer
- Do not use cooking sprays or add a coating of grease on silicone bakeware. They will only make the situation worse!
- Always use a dishwashing liquid that contains a grease-cutting agent when washing silicone.
- Never use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on silicone. They leave scratches that catch food and oils, and they diminish the nonstick qualities of the piece.
- Wash silicone well after every use. Do not let oils build up on the surface.
- Be sure that silicone bakeware is completely dry before using it. Air-drying may take several hours.