Silicone baking pans — muffin tins, nonstick sheet pan liners, loaf pans — can be great if you are short on storage space, hate using cooking spray, or can't ever seem to get a Bundt cake out of the pan to save your life. But then you go to clean them.
They seem like they should be easy to clean. Yet somehow, they aren't. There never seems to be a way to get rid of that oily residue.
That's why we went to the experts to find out just how you should be cleaning those flexible pans.
All three of our experts — Brandon Iacometta, marketing and sales administrator for Silpat; Judi Alexander, VP of marketing, Casabella; and Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag and host of the Ask a Clean Person podcast — had similar tips. Here's what you need to know.
1. You really just need two key things.
You need two things to really clean your silicone bakeware: hot water and grease-cutting dish soap, like Dawn or Palmolive, recommends Kerr. This is one of those situations where the all-natural stuff might not cut it. You'll need something that will really tackle that oil.
And for the water, we're talking as hot as you can stand. (Actually, now would be a good time to break out those rubber gloves if you don't normally wear them.) When you have those two things, start scrubbing — and don't be surprised if it takes more than one wash.
The good news is that, if you have a dishwasher, both Iacometta and Alexander confirmed that their company's products, along with many other brands, are dishwasher-safe. Just be sure to check before you toss it in, and when in doubt, put it on the top rack.
2. Heat is your friend.
If you have bits of muffin or casserole that ended up a crispy mess on your bakeware, the key to getting them off is actually more heat. Put the silicone pan in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, and then soak it in really hot water. This should loosen things enough that you can get the bits and pieces off.
3. For really tough jobs, use baking soda.
When you've followed all the other steps, but you still have an oily film, there's only one place to turn, says Kerr: baking soda! (What can't baking soda do when it comes to cleaning?) She recommends "making a thick paste with baking soda and water and applying it to the sticky spots. Leave the paste to dry, and then wash it away with more hot water and dish soap."
4. There is one thing to avoid.
The one thing you should skip? Abrasives. Don't be tempted to tackle that Silpat with a scrubby sponge. Not only will it not help you clean the pan, but you might also damage it in the process. You can end up causing pieces of the silicone to flake off and ,according to Alexander, it can "remove the nonstick properties of the pan."
5. Know this one tip to avoid bad buildup.
And to prevent greasy buildup in the future, skip the cooking sprays. You don't really need them because the pan is nonstick already, and it will just make for a sticky mess later.
Do you use silicone baking pans in your kitchen? Why or why not?