Did you leave a plastic item in a hot frying pan? Did your plastic spatula melt and get stuck to your pan? Or perhaps, you placed a hot pan on a plastic surface?
In any case, the plastic’s probably melted now, sticking inside or on the bottom of the pan. Scrubbing doesn’t help and it looks like the pan is ruined for good.
Well, don’t beat yourself up – it’s an honest mistake that anyone can make.
The good news is that you can easily get melted plastic off your pan. In fact, doing so is easier than you may have imagined!
How to Get Melted Plastic Off Pans
It is important to know the right way to get rid of melted plastic from pans.
Otherwise, you may damage the pan in the process.
Let’s take a look at some tried and tested methods of removing melted plastic off pans.
Use Baking Soda
You can use baking soda to remove melted plastic from your pans.
The method is extremely easy to follow yet super effective. The best part is that you can use this method regardless of where the plastic has pooled.
Check out how to use baking soda to get rid of melted plastic inside and outside of the pan.
Inside the Pan
The safest way is to fill the pan about one inch with water. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the water and mix thoroughly.
3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda should be enough for a medium-sized pan.
However, you can adjust the quantity of baking soda based on the size of the pan.
Place the pan on low heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it simmer for a few minutes and the melted plastic will come right off.
If it persists, use a spatula to gently pry it off. Your pan will be as good as new!
PRO TIP: If you are out of baking soda, you can use cream of tartar instead. Use it the same way as baking soda to get the same results!
Outside the Pan
Is plastic stuck to the sides or bottom of your pan? Well, baking soda is all you need.
Fill a large pot with water and place it on heat. Keep in mind that the pot you use must be large enough to fit your pan.
Also, don’t fill it to the top. Leave some place to submerge the pan in the water.
Now add a few tablespoons of baking soda in the water and mix thoroughly. 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda should be enough for a medium-sized pan.
However, this is not a hard and fast rule. You can adjust the quantity as you see fit. Submerge the pan in the water and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Let it sit for a few minutes before removing the pan from the water. Use a butter knife to scrape the plastic off. It should come off easily.
Once you’ve removed the plastic, wash the pan thoroughly with soap and cold water before using it again.
Remember, the pan will be hot so you must be careful while handling it to avoid any injury.
Be careful with the knife as well to make sure you don’t damage the pan. Also, keep in mind that you may have to repeat the process a couple of times to remove melted plastic completely.
The baking soda helped one of our reader who sent me this email 🙂
Freeze and Remove
This method works like a charm. It works especially well for melted plastic that is stuck at the bottom of frying pans.
Keep in mind that this is a high-risk method.
So, if you are not careful, you can end up damaging your pan.
However, you are good to go as long as you follow the directions to the tee.
- Place the Pan in the Freezer: Instead of scrubbing or scratching the melted plastic, simply place your pan in the freezer. Let the pan sit in the freezer for at least 3 to 5 hours.
- Find a Non-marring Hefty Object: Look around the house for a hefty object that you can use to strike the pan. However, keep in mind that the object you choose must be softer than the metal of your pan. Otherwise, it can dent the pan. Opt for things like a soft yet heavy wooden spoon or a plastic mallet.
- Remove the Pan from the Freezer: The pan must be chilled when you take it out of the freezer. Make sure that the plastic has hardened. This makes it easier to get rid of it without damaging the pan.
- Gently Strike the Pan to Remove Melted Plastic: Place the pan upside down on a hard surface. It is advisable to place it on the floor instead of on kitchen shelves. Using whatever non-marrying hefty object you’ve picked, gently tap the bottom of the pan. Focus on the areas where the plastic has pooled.
- Adjust the Strength: Start tapping as lightly as possible. If it doesn’t work, slowly tap a bit harder. Keep in mind that you’ll have to be patient. Refrain from striking the pan too hard as that can lead to denting.
The hardened plastic should remove in a little while. Make sure you wash the pan thoroughly before cooking in it again.
It is important to understand that while this method is effective, you must choose the right object to tap the pan.
Since you are using heavy objects, it is best to wear working gloves to avoid any injuries.
Remember, safety first!
PRO TIP: Use a butter knife if your pan is delicate or you are unable to find the right tool to tap the pan. Pry the melted plastic off with the knife. It should pop right off!
Iron It Out!
Some people don’t like heating pans on the stove to remove melted plastic as it can give off a foul odor.
Plus, using a knife or a hefty object makes your pan susceptible to damage.
An easy alternative is to use an iron.
Here’s how you can use an iron to soften melted plastic and remove it.
- Place a Piece of Cloth over Melted Plastic: Take a piece of cloth and place it over the melted plastic. Make sure that the cloth you choose is thin but does not burn easily.
- Heat the Plastic: With the cloth covering the melted plastic, run the iron back and forth over the affected area. As the iron heats up, the plastic will become malleable.
- Wipe it Off: Once the plastic has softened enough, use the same cloth to wipe it off!
- Clean the Pan: Keep in mind that tiny pieces of plastic may be left behind. Scrub the pan with an abrasive material to get rid of them. It is best to use a cleaning agent like baking soda to scrub off the remaining plastic.
You can repeat the process if big chunks of plastic are left behind. However, don’t place the cloth over hot plastic.
Instead, let it cool. Once it is hard again, cover it with a new piece of cloth and repeat the process.
This method works well for removing melted plastic that is stuck at the bottom of the pan.
You can also use it to get rid of plastic stuck inside or on the sides of the pan. However, it will not be easy and you may not get the best results.
If you want to remove melted plastic stuck inside the pan, your iron must be smaller than the rim of the pan.
Otherwise, it can be pretty hard to create enough heat to melt the plastic.
For the same reason, it is not the best method for removing melted plastic from the sides of the pan. You won’t be able to run the iron smoothly on the sides.
Use a Hair Dryer
If you don’t want to handle a hot iron, a hairdryer is another great tool for heating and removing melted plastic.
However, this method is ideal for small quantities of plastic. So, it’ll work well if you’ve melted a plastic bag.
However, this method may not be the ideal choice for getting rid of, say, a melted plastic spoon that is stuck in the pan.
Here’s how you can use a hairdryer to remove melted plastic from your pans.
- Apply the Heat: Turn on the hairdryer and face it toward the affected area of the pan. Make sure it is set on maximum heat. Apply the hot air directly over the melted plastic. In a few seconds, the plastic will start to loosen.
- Wipe it Clean: Once the plastic is malleable enough, use a piece of clean cloth or rag to wipe it off. It should come right off!
- Clean the Pan: In case some plastic is left behind, use an abrasive cleaner to scrub it off.
This is one of the most convenient and safest methods of removing melted plastic from your pans.
However, you may have to repeat the process several times to remove the plastic completely.
The Bottom Line
Getting melted plastic on your stainless steel pans, cast iron pans, or other metal pans does not mean you have to throw it away.
Instead, try the methods discussed above to get rid of it.
Your pans will look as good as new. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fit-for-all solution when it comes to tackling melted plastic.
So, try out various methods to see what works best for you!
Other cooking pan related articles you may find useful:
- Why Do Pans Have Metal, Wooden, or Plastic Handles?
- Is It Safe to Put a Pan with Plastic Handle in the Oven?
- How to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Pans?
- How to Remove Cooking Spray Residue From Pans
- How To Clean Baked-On Grease From Pans?
- How to Get Out Burnt Foil in Baking Pan?
- How to Get Burnt Sugar off a Cooking Pan?
- What to Do When the Non-Stick Pan Coating Is Coming Off?