The Best Way To Clean Silicone

Silicone is an incredibly popular material that has found many uses in households all over the world. Unsurprisingly, it makes many appearances in modern kitchens, especially on items like spatulas, brushes, and bakeware. Its popularity in the kitchen is mainly due to its versatility, durability, and ability to stand up to high temperatures. Although this material is quite useful, it tends to get dirty and sticky over time if not properly cleaned. And, let's face it, sometimes even the best of us fail to clean our kitchenware properly.

It's worth stating that silicone kitchenware is relatively easy to use because food slides right off the tools. However, are they just as easy to clean? The good news is that there are several ways of cleaning silicone materials in your household. In fact, kitchenware made with this material can usually go into the dishwasher without worrying about damage. Even so, not every method guarantees your silicone products a thorough cleaning.

Why does silicone get sticky?

One of silicone's fundamental properties that make it an ideal material for the kitchen is its nonstick nature; Food will slide off a silicone surface because it is generally non-absorbent. However, this means that oils and grease may remain on the surface, creating a sticky residue that often lingers around after cleaning. This usually happens when a particular item is left for extended periods without cleaning or when it wasn't cleaned thoroughly. But, of course, this is not just exclusive to kitchenware, it also occurs on other items made of silicone, such as mobile phone covers. 

A sticky residue on an item's surface is usually a good indicator that you should consider a deep cleaning. Similar to any other material used in your household, regular maintenance is necessary to keep your silicone products in tip-top shape. So be sure to clean them regularly, preferably right after use. 

Hot water and detergents

One of the most effective methods of cleaning silicone only requires hot water and detergent. All you need to do is bring some water to a boil before adding the cleaning agent. Because the sticky substance that plagues silicone is often made of oil or grease, be sure to use a product that includes a degreaser, as this will provide superior results. Dip the items in the hot, soapy water and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes to give enough time for the solution to work its magic. Then, using a soft cloth, scrub the surface of the silicone. 

Silpat's Chelsea David (via recommends using a soft sponge or a dry dishwashing towel to retain the integrity of the nonstick property of the silicone. Once you are done, rinse using hot water and feel the item's surface. If the stickiness has washed off, dry the silicone with a soft cloth. However, if some spots are still affected, you may give that particular item another soak.

Oven heat and baking soda

Another stellar combo for removing the dirty, sticky residue from silicone items is heat and baking soda. This method effectively removes sticky areas that won't wash off using the method above. To begin, Oh So Spotless recommends heating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before placing the silicone in for about 10 minutes. The high temperature softens the sticky residue for easy washing. Right after, rinse with some water to dampen the surface and cover the item with a sprinkling of baking soda. 

You can leave the silicone items overnight to dry or simply wait three or four hours. After that, rinse with soapy water. While this method works for the most part, if problem areas remain, you can add some more baking soda and scrub gently using a toothbrush (per Oh So Spotless). Finally, dry the item using a soft cloth and store it. Although this method works like magic, it's worth pointing out that you must ensure the silicone item is oven safe beforehand.

Getting rid of odor from silicone

One aspect of cleaning silicone that is not mentioned enough is odor elimination. If you have used silicone items in the kitchen before, you already know how easily they take up potent smells. Similar to cleaning dirt from silicone, there are many methods to remove the unwanted odor from this material. However, one method outperforms the rest. Before we get to that, you first need to clean the item well, preferably in hot soapy water, to eliminate any food residue. 

Next, bring your oven to a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit and put the item in for about 20 minutes. If the odor lingers, return it to the oven for a bit longer until the smell is gone. Leigh Krietsch Boerner (via The New York Times Wirecutter) believes that the odor particles evaporate in the same fashion as water when exposed to heat, making this method as effective as it is simple.