How to Rid Your Silicone Baking Mat of Sticky Residue

Silicone baking mats are handy tools, but they can get pretty dirty over time. What's the best way to clean them?

Silicone baking mats are a terrific alternative to parchment paper. Pop the mat into a baking sheet and you instantly have a nonstick baking (or even roasting) surface that you can use, wash, and reuse. (Our winner, the Demarle Silpat Silicone Cookie Baking Mat, is ovensafe up to 500 degrees.) But over time, these mats can build up a sticky—and often stinky—residue of polymerized fats that no amount of scrubbing will remove. To find a remedy, we followed suggestions we found online, including soaking the sticky mats in solutions made with vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. The only promising method came from the website Food52: placing the mat in a hot oven. We found that leaving the mat in the oven for a full hour made it significantly easier to remove the residue with soap and water. That's because heat not only broke down the fat but also disrupted the bond between the residue and the silicone. In addition, heating longer and hotter helped break down and burn off sticky, partially polymerized fats.

How To Do It: Place baking mat on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake in 450-degree oven until mat no longer smokes, about 1 hour. Using tongs, transfer mat to sink and wash thoroughly with soap and hot water. If oily residue remains, scrub gently with Bar Keepers Friend or similar nonabrasive scrub. Note: This method will not remove the brown spots that these mats acquire over time.

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