How To Clean Melted Plastic From Oven Racks And Floor

Somehow a wayward spatula, a wad of plastic wrap, Tupperware lid, or even a stray toy accidentally made it into the oven, and now you have a blob of noxious-smelling melted plastic fused onto the inside of the appliance. Don't fret, there is definitely a way forward, but it just might take a little patience.

First and foremost, you'll want to cut the heat, turn on the hood vent to deal with the harmful fumes, and allow the plastic to cool completely. It may be tempting to mess with it while still hot, but that can result in burns and actually make the melted plastic spread even more. For any type of plastic or affected surface, freezing the offender is actually the best first step.

If the melted plastic is on your oven racks and you happen to have the space, you can pop the entire grate in the freezer. If you don't have room or need to clean plastic off of the floor of your oven, fill a sturdy plastic bag with ice and place it directly on the area where the plastic melted. It should take around 20 minutes for the plastic to freeze. The texture will change, becoming brittle. This should make it easier to scrape away or chip off with a razor blade, butter knife, plastic scraper, or wooden spoon. Just be gentle so you avoid scratches, and don't use a metal tool in a continuous cleaning oven because it will damage the finish.

Cleaning products can you use to remove melted plastic

Once you try to scrape away the frozen plastic, there may still be some stubborn pieces left behind. Tackle these with a gentle homemade cleaner: Make a paste out of baking soda and water and spread liberally on the stuck-on plastic. After a few minutes, the residue should soften some. Continue scraping, or opt for an abrasive sponge or damp cloth. This method will work on both glass and metal. 

You can go through the same process with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. You can also use WD-40, acetone, or nail polish remover to soften plastic, which may be especially necessary to clean oven glass. After using these products, it is very important to wash the surface well with soap and water before turning on the oven again to avoid creating toxic fumes.

If all else fails, you can remove the left-on plastic with heat. Turn your oven on a very low setting, just warm enough so that the plastic becomes pliable. Alternatively, you can use a hair dryer to do the trick. Once pliable, scrape the softened plastic off with a wooden spoon or chopstick, and clean the tool on a damp rag after each pass. Clean the surface thoroughly after removing all of the plastic, and then for good measure, run your self-cleaning oven. Just make sure to keep the hood vent on, crack a window, and turn on a fan just in case it creates some fumes.