How to Clean Melted Plastic from Your Oven with Freezer Trick

We know not to put plastic in the oven, but sometimes it accidentally ends up there anyway. Maybe you store plastic dishes in this kitchen appliance after you’ve run out of cabinet space, or a family member using the oven didn’t realize they shouldn’t have the material in there; either way, you’re left with a mess if your oven gets turned on with plastic inside. Since the material will typically melt and stick to the rack when exposed to oven temperatures, it can be difficult to wipe it off with simple cleaning tools. But luckily, one step can make it much easier to wash off.

Before you even attempt to rid your oven of plastic, stick your racks in the freezer. After a couple of hours, the material should become hard enough that you can scrape it off. While warm or room-temperature plastic is much more pliable and sticky, the molecules stiffen when frozen, making the material prone to cracking. While this isn’t ideal in most cases, when we’re trying to separate plastic from an oven rack, we want it to be nice and brittle so we can easily scrape it off.

How to scrape melted plastic off your oven racks

hand scraping oven

First things first — before you touch anything in your oven, it’s important to turn it off and let it cool completely. Then once your rack is nice and frigid after its time in the freezer, use a razor to scrape off the plastic. If you’d rather not get your razors dirty, however, you can buy a generic scraping tool from major retailers like Amazon. Make sure to collect the material as it comes off so you can throw it away afterward.

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This method works well if you have a freezer big enough to fit your oven rack — but what can you do if not? Apply the same logic and chill your plastic in a different way. After removing your rack, place a large bag of ice on the parts with the melted material until it hardens, which may take up to half an hour. If your entire rack is covered in plastic, you may have to repeat this process a few times, but there will typically only be a few spots that need your attention. Then once the material is cold, you can scrape it off in the same manner as if you froze the rack. 

Whichever method you go with, you may want to wear gloves to avoid accidentally cutting yourself. And after you’ve discarded all your plastic, feel free to clean your racks using a regular oven cleaner.

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