The Great Plastic Debacle

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Dear Home Ec 101,
I just had a kitchen fiasco and you ladies were the first people I thought of after it happened!

I burned carrots… how do you burn carrots? Anyway, while dumping the carrots in the trash the plastic bag that the carrots came in, that was in the trash can, jumped up and touched the bottom of the hot pot. Now I not only have no carrots for my daughters lunch… but I have a plastic bag stuck to the bottom of my pot. How do I get it off?
Bummed by the Burn

remove melted plastic from pan

Heather says:

Extremely handy tool to have on hand.

You burn carrots by getting distracted by a crying kid, a ringing phone, or a particularly riveting IM conversation with Ivy. You’re human and it happens to the best of us.

As far as your pan. Once it’s cool and you’ve washed out any food gunk, place the whole pan in the freezer. After it’s good and cold use a razor blade to scrape off the now brittle plastic. At worst a tiny bit will remain, but just run your exhaust fan the first time you use the pan or boil water in the pan before you use it too cook again if you are worried about toxic plastic fume particles falling into your food. (You can tell I’m not overly concerned, right?)

keeping the kitchen clean
Click the picture for more tips!

This kind of stuff happens all the time in my house, mostly because I’m a klutz. Typically I melt bread bags on my ceramic stove. Good times.

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14 thoughts on “The Great Plastic Debacle”

  1. I recall my grandmother used to freeze pans after truly burning stuff also. My mom found a pan in the freezer that she had forgotten about – I think it was prunes. Grandma could burn pots and pans with the best of them. I have several pieces of her old Revereware – the good heavy stuff, not the cheap stuff they sell now.

  2. I don’t have experience with burned on plastic, but I like to use a copper scrubber to remove all manner of scorched on gunk; it should work for removing plastic, too. Acetone (ordinary nail polish remover) dissolves some sorts of plastic.

    For burned-on food, fill your pan with water and liquid dish detergent with a little vinegar. Put back on the stove on low and let it cook for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat, let it cool, and the stuff should be soft enough to remove.

    A few times I’ve had something spill on my glass-top stove and leave a burned-on mess (egg is the worst!). Usually I wait until it is cool and drop a dishcloth on top of the spill and pour some vinegar on the cloth, then let that sit for an hour or so. The spill usually wipes up after that. If it doesn’t, I get out the Magic Eraser, or, as last resort, I have a single edged razor blade… And here I thought I was the only person on earth who scraped their stove like that. ;o)

  3. WARNING: If you have birds or other small pocket pets, remove them from the general area until all the plastic is gone and there are no more fumes. A few hours would be the best. Even though those fumes might only smell bad to us, to our little friends they can be deadly. Small animals have weak respiratory systems. Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems, and fumes and offgasses by this sort of thing can be more than an annoyance. It really can kill them. Very quickly. Also, do not use non stick cookware around birds.Non stick, at even medium temps (which the manufacturers recommend) are made of PFOAs, which give off fumes that are unseen and usually odorless. These offgasses (fumes) are deadly to birds. DEADLY. Even a room away is too close. Stainless steel, cast iron and ceramic cookware are best, and even our own lungs will thank you.

  4. Ah, the sweet smell of melted plastic!
    I generally melt bread bags to the side of my toaster, myself.
    I started early in my plastic-melting career. When I was in 4th grade, my big sister popped some popcorn and I said I would melt some butter for it. So I put the plastic butter dish on the electric burner to “warm it up”…… and was surprised when the plastic melted. Who would have thought?!?!

  5. Haven’t seen a resolution for this situation yet…The other day I was making roast in my crockpot and afterwhile the delicious smell of dinner mingled with the awful smell of burnt plastic. The bag I usually wrap the lid with had fallen between the cooker and the removable crock. Luckily the crock is fine, but the bag is burnt onto the inside of the cooker. Any ideas how to remove it. I can’t submerge it in anything and I’m concerned about damaging it by putting the electrical parts in the freezer. Any ideas would be appreciated!

  6. just burned three boil bags of rice into the bottom of my sister’s good farberware spaghetti pot – help – tried brillo & sos, soaking in dawn, mom said try a little bleach and let it soak – gonna go try the put it in the freezer trick – any other advice would be greatly appreciated – luckily i am the one who cooks around here so my sister hopefully will not notice the pot is missing for awhile – HELP ME!!!!!

  7. i cooking brownies but i didnt what to cook them in so i cook them in a pan in the overn but the but when it was ready it looked like the platic was wet and that praticla bit smelt of chemical i was only the plastic nob that was wet bit should i eat the brownies or are they infected

  8. It must be kismet, because a similar fate befell my mom and me this morning. My mother is of the habit of keeping plastic bags in a large cooking pot near the stove, i.e. when she needs a plastic bag for scaps and such, she can get one easily. Anyway, while I was cooking breakfast and moving things around to clean up, I absent-mindedly placed the cooking pot containing the plastic bags on a burner that I had not turned off. Mom first added hot water to the cooked-on mess. I then suggested that we put ice on it. Then, I suggested that we place the pot on a warm burner. After less than five minutes, we pulled the plastic from the pot with a pair of pliers, and removed the remnants with steel wool. Finally, we washed up the pot, and all was good. So, mom was right about adding heat to the plastic.

  9. My mom was trying to use her crockpot and she smelt burning plastic, and inside the crock pot, not the actual pot that you put food in the one under neath, has burnt plastic, how would you get that off?

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