High temperatures and some plastics—especially those usually found in the kitchen—don't always mix well. Bread bags are left too close to the toaster or a plastic cutting board ends up in a preheating oven. Accidents happen, and when they do, a sticky mess is left behind.
Melted plastic is unsightly, but it can also be a dangerous health and fire risk so it must be removed. Fumes from some plastics can be toxic to respiratory systems and flash fires can damage appliances and kitchens.
When removing melted plastic from any surface, be sure the work area is well-ventilated, all appliances are unplugged or turned off, and that you use patience. It may take several attempts to remove the plastic.
01 of 05
Remove Melted Plastic From a Glass Cooktop
Ceramic glass cooktops can remain hot after the heating elements have been turned off. It's easy to forget and allow a plastic bag or lid to touch the hot glass and melt.
If that happens, immediately turn on the kitchen hood to vent away fumes while the cooktop cools. Once it is safe to touch, use a dull kitchen knife or plastic scraper to remove as much of the melted plastic as possible. To remove the final bits of plastic that are clinging to the glass, you will need a chemical-based cleaner to react with the plastic and break the bond with the glass so you can scrape the residue away. Try one of these products:
- WD-40: Spray the plastic with a light coating of WD-40. Let it sit for at least five minutes before you begin to scape the plastic away a safety razor blade held at a 45-degree angle.
- Acetone or nail polish remover: Saturate the plastic residue with acetone-based nail polish remover and allow it to work for five minutes before scraping.
- Baking soda: If you prefer a more natural method, mix some baking soda with a few drops of water to make a paste. Spread the paste on the plastic to act as a gentle abrasive to help scrub away the mess.
No matter which method you use, the glass cooktop must be cleaned after the treatment to remove any residue that might burn the next time the cooktop is used.
02 of 05
Remove Melted Plastic From a Stovetop Burner
Melted plastic can also make a mess on gas burners and electric coil heating elements. When it happens, open windows and turn on vent fans as quickly as possible to remove the fumes.
If the accident happens while the burners are on high, immediately turn off the heating element. Allow the element to cool completely so you can remove as much of the plastic as you can with your hands or a dull knife. Be sure to check for plastic in the drip pans under electric burners.
To remove the remaining residue, turn the burner on the lowest setting — never over two. This will soften the plastic so it can be scraped away with a wooden spatula, spoon, or chopstick. As the plastic is transferred to the wooden utensil, use a paper towel to wipe the wooden tool so that the melted plastic is not transferred back onto the burner. Continue scraping until no more plastic can be removed.
With the kitchen hood vent open, turn the burner control on high to burn away any bits of remaining plastic. Use a circulating fan to blow the fumes toward an open window. The burner should be on high no longer than two or three minutes.
03 of 05
Remove Melted Plastic From an Oven
How you clean a puddle of melted plastic from the oven floor depends on the type of oven. Always allow the oven to cool completely before you begin, work with the room well-vented, and take your time. You may need to repeat the cleaning recommendations several times before all the plastic is gone.
- Electric ovens with interior porcelain finishes: Once the oven is cool, remove the metal oven racks. Fill a plastic bag with ice and place it on the melted plastic. The ice will make the plastic more brittle for easier removal. Use a safety razor blade scraper to chip away the plastic. Chill and chip until all of the plastic is gone.
- Gas ovens: Turn off the gas. Remove the bottom oven panel using the two screws at the back of the panel. Protect your countertops with a cloth or newspapers and place the panel on the counter so it lies flat. Place a bag of ice on the melted plastic. Allow time for the plastic to harden and then scrape it away with a razor blade scraper.
- Ovens with Continuous Cleaning Features: With the room well-vented, turn the oven to the lowest setting and heat for just a few minutes until the plastic is pliable enough to scrape away. Use only a wooden spoon, spatula, or chopstick to remove the plastic (metal utensils will harm the finish). Wipe the wooden utensil with paper towels between each scrape to prevent spreading the plastic.
To clean the metal oven racks, use an ice bag to harden the plastic and then scrape it away with a plastic or metal scraper.
04 of 05
Remove Melted Plastic From Metal Finishes
Continue to 5 of 5 below.
- Freeze the plastic. If you can't put the item in the freezer for a few hours, place a bag of ice on the plastic to harden it.
- Scrape off the plastic: Use a wooden or hard plastic scraper to pry off the hardened plastic. Work slowly so that you won't mar the metal finish. Refreeze if the plastic doesn't pop off easily.
- Use baking soda: To remove the final bits of plastic, mix a paste of baking soda and water to create a gentle abrasive. Scrub the area with the paste and a sponge. For melted plastic on the interior of a pot or pan, add a few inches of water and a generous scoop of baking soda. Heat the water and allow it to simmer for several minutes. Scour with a scrubbing brush when the water cools a bit.
05 of 05
Remove Melted Plastic From Countertops
If plastic melts on stone, laminate, or concrete countertops, try ice to harden the plastic and then a wooden or hard plastic scraper to pop it off the surface. Remove final traces with a baking soda and water paste. Finish by cleaning the countertop as recommended by the manufacturer.