Plastics make a lot of utensils and also make parts of others due to their low heat conductivity. But the problem is that they melt and leave a mess behind when not handled correctly. Here we’ll see just how to get melted plastic off oven heating element.
Basically to get melted plastic off, you can warm up the plastic and wipe it off when it’s soft. You can also cool it down with ice till its brittle and chip it off. Whatever little remains can be burnt off by raising the temperature.
Proper handling of items in the kitchen is essential because things can easily go wrong there. But if you ever find yourself in a situation where a plastic container has been misplaced and it turns out you melted it in your oven and it covered your heating element, don’t fret. You can scrape or burn it off.
Instead of rushing to get a replacement heating element, you could just clean the one you have and still wind up using it.
You should be careful when doing this as mistakes can cause damage to the oven itself.
Also Read: What is heating element made of?
These are the parts of the oven that produce the heat used to cook food. They use electricity and can generate a significant amount of heat.
If you end up placing plasticware inside the oven and it melts onto the heating element, you will have trouble cooking until you get this sorted out.
Not only will it smoke a lot, but you will also notice a smell of burning plastic whenever you use it. Additionally, the plastic may cause damage to the element if not properly sorted out.
How to Get Melted Plastic off Oven Heating Element?
Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about cleaning the melted plastic off the heating elements, and for most use cases, you will not need any highly specialized tools.
The only thing you need to do is be careful to not scrape too hard at the heating element and end up denting or puncturing it as this can result in irreparable damage.
The Cold Method
Just as it sounds, the cold method makes use of low temperatures to help with the removal of the plastic off the surface of the heating element.
To do this, you can either remove the heating element completely in the beginning or do it while the element is still inside the oven.
With the element still inside the oven, you should get a small plastic bag or any other material that can’t let the moisture seep through.
Fill it with ice from a freezer and ensure it is well sealed.
Once this is done, you can go ahead and place the bag on the area that’s got the molten plastic on the heating element.
You should then leave it for a few minutes to allow the molten plastic to get hard and brittle.
Once done, you can use any kitchen utensil like a knife to scrape off flakes of the plastic quite easily. Care should be taken here so that you don’t end up damaging the element in the process.
Once done, the remaining small bits of plastic can be removed by switching on the oven and allowing the remaining small particles to burn off.
Don’t turn up the heat if large amounts of melted plastic are still on the oven as this can lead to smoke and a terrible smell.
When scraping, you can use a wooden tool that will not easily damage the metal body of the heating element. You can also apply some light force for extra care.
Also Read: How to clean a toaster oven after a fire?
The Hot Method
While the name seems to imply that you use heat to completely melt the plastic off, this method starts off using some low heat and then an increase, in the end, to completely clear the melted plastic off the heating element.
Here’s how it goes.
First, you’ll need to switch on the oven. With this method, the element needs to stay within the oven so no need to extract it.
With the oven switched on, turn the heating element to the lowest temperature setting. This will allow the plastic on the element to start softening but it won’t begin to burn off from immense heat.
Next, you will need a piece of cloth or some serviettes. The main idea is to start wiping the soft plastic off the heating element while it’s warm so that it will be easier to remove.
You should proceed to wipe off as much of the plastic as you can off and once you cannot wipe any more off, or most of the plastic is gone, go ahead and switch on the oven to full power.
At full power, the element should glow bright orange, and it’ll be very hot. Leave the oven door open and allow the remaining plastic to burn off for a few minutes before turning off the oven.
Ovens are different so for some, the low setting might be hotter than others. For this to work and to avoid any injuries, ensure that the low setting on your unit is a temperature you can comfortably work in.
You should avoid further spreading of the soft plastic when wiping it off as this may complicate the cleaning process and leave behind a lot of plastic to burn off during the high-temperature step.
After you’re done cleaning the melted plastic off the oven’s heating element, inspect your work to ensure everything is fine.
This might also be a good time to check if it still works.
If you smell something odd then you should turn the oven off immediately. Plastic burning has a distinct smell. Therefore, if there is still a hint of plastic left on your heating element, you will know.
If after trying the methods above, you still cannot repair the damages caused to the heating elements, then it is worth seeking expert help or replacing the heating element all together.
Choosing Oven Safe Utensils
It goes without saying that you should pay heed to the safety specification of the utensil before ever putting them in the oven.
The most common question usually asked is if something is microwave safe, then is it oven safe?
The answer to that question is a resounding NO! While there are utensils that are both microwave and oven safe, most of the times that is not the case.
The easiest way to judge a utensil is to check for its oven safe label.
While most of the times plastic is not considered oven safe, there are a few certified plastic utensils out there that CAN be used for oven.
In short, you must pay heed to the safety labels of everything that you ever put into any oven.
Melted plastic can be a nuisance when it covers up parts of the heating element.
Do not worry though as we have seen how to get melted plastic off oven heating element, and how to do it safely.
Two of the easiest methods include using cold temperatures to freeze the plastic and make it brittle enough to safely chip off. An alternative is to warm up the plastic, make it soft and wipe it off with a spare cloth or some kitchen serviettes.
The remaining small bits of plastic, if any, can then be burnt off with some heat.
1. What do you do if you accidentally melt plastic in the oven?
On the melted plastic, place a bag of ice. Allow for hardening of the plastic before scraping it away using a razor blade scraper. Continuous-cleaning ovens: Turn the oven to the lowest temperature and heat for only a few minutes, or until the plastic becomes malleable enough to scrape away.
2. Can melted plastic fumes be harmful?
According to Healthline, burning plastic can cause toxic symptoms and is extremely harmful to the lungs and respiratory system. According to the Des Moines Register, it can potentially emit deadly carcinogens that are lethal. The environmental consequences of burning plastics are extremely severe.
3. Is melted plastic oven toxic?
It is not toxic in the sense that it will cause a person to die. However, there are many other things that can happen when you melt plastic in an oven. The fumes from heated plastics are harmful and can get into your lungs or skin pores. If this happens, then you could experience respiratory problems like asthma or bronchitis as well as increased risk for cancer, especially if the fumes have been around for long periods of time.
4. How do you get melted plastic off a stove top burner?
Using a soup ladle, pour hot water onto the plastic. After that, scrape the plastic away with a rubber scraper. Then, using an old rag, pat dry. You may need to repeat this step several times to remove all of the plastic from the stovetop.
5. Is burnt plastic smell harmful?
This is a great question! Burning plastic will emit chemicals that are harmful to both humans and the environment. The fumes can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other health problems. It's also not good for the environment because it emits toxic substances into the air.
I hope you found this helpful!