Tips for cleaning silicone baking mats

 silpat

Silicone baking mats and other silicone tools are indispensable to chefs and home cooks alike. They allow you to roll out dough using less flour and to bake gooey items without fear of sticking. The downside to these wonderful tools - besides a fairly steep price tag - is that they tend to absorb odors. Indexed blog Food52 provided several ideas on how to clean silicone mats, and I decided to put a couple of them to the test. 

Before we get into the testing, let's start with the information that Food52 provided about why the mats collect odors in the first place. The answer is simple enough - silicone expands when heated, allowing oils and their accompanying odors to seep into the mat. This can lead to an unattractive oily sheen as well as a funky smell. 

The first tip involves everyone's favorite deodorizer: baking soda. The instructions are to make a paste with warm water and baking soda, rub it into the mat, and let it sit for ten minutes. I proceeded to scrub my several-year-old Silpat with the baking soda paste. I let the mat sit for twenty minutes because I was busy doing other tasks. After a thorough warm water rinse, I gave the Silpat a sniff. While the odor was not entirely eliminated, it was significantly reduced. 

A second tip involved heating the mat in an oven to let the silicone expand (although it doesn't specify at what temperature or for how long), then plunging it into a bath of warm water mixed with vinegar or lemon juice (again with  no instruction as to how much to use). I heated my generic silicone mat in a low oven for a few minutes until it was warm but not too hot to touch. I soaked the mat in a water and vinegar bath - approximately 1/4 cup vinegar in a gallon of water) for about ten minutes. The result?  After rinsing, the mat's odor was reduced, but not as much as the Silpat's was. 

I decided to try a combo of the two methods, returning both mats to the oven for a couple of minutes to warm up, then scrubbing both with the baking soda paste. After sitting for 10 minutes, the mats received a warm water rinse. Once they were dry and cool, both mats had almost no residual odor. I applied this treatment to the silicone ring of my travel mug and its lingering stale coffee odor was virtually eliminated as well. This tip proved to be a winner. What's your favorite method for cleaning silicone kitchen items? 

4 Comments

  • monicatgood  on  12/26/2017 at 8:33 PM

    Simple....a couple of hours out in the day light. Same with silicone rings for pressure cookers.

  • chawkins  on  12/27/2017 at 6:51 AM

    Could the heating be done in a microwave oven instead of a regular oven?

  • darcie_b  on  12/27/2017 at 9:06 AM

    I'm not sure that the mats would get warm in a microwave but you could give it a shot. You could also put very hot water into a sink or dishpan and let them soak in the hot water for a few minutes prior to putting on the baking soda paste.

  • sir_ken_g  on  12/27/2017 at 12:56 PM

    Heating a mat in a microwave is like running a MW empty. Not a good idea.

Post a comment

You may only comment on the blog if you are signed in. Sign In

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!

Archives