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Remove melted plastic from a pot...


lorea
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Umm....so, I was distracted over the holidays and I accidentally left the stove on with my little copper Falk pan and a silicone spatula (with a plastic handle!) in it. When I came home 20 minutes later, my entire kitchen was filled with smoke because the plastic handle of my silicone spatula (I know, I know...bad design! But it was one of the first silicone spatulas on the market) had completely melted into my precious copper pan. :sad:

1) How the heck do I remove the burned/melted plastic from my pan? It's isolated to the inside of the pan, which has a stainless steel interior.

2) Is it still safe to use this pan?

Thanks!!

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If you can get the plastic off the pan, it will be safe to use the pan.

What have you tried so far? Are you saying that the entire bottom is coated with this plastic? If not, can you get a spatula under it and pry it up? If it's too broadly coated over the bottom then you may have to re-melt the plastic and scrape it up, then burn (or scour at the hottest temps you can stand) off the last residue. You'd want to do that in a very well-ventilated area, however.

In the "don't feel too bad" department: I once melted a good portion of a spatula into a batch of caramel. It was NOT a silicone spatula. I didn't realize caramel would get hot enough to melt the plastic spatula until these peculiar white streaks began appearing in the caramel. "That's odd," I thought, "they talk about bubbling in the instructions, but they don't talk about the caramel going an opaque white." Then I noticed that the spatula was getting shorter. :blush: The good news, in my case, is that not much of the spatula was on the pan itself. The bad news was that I had to get all that caramel/plastic mess out of the pan before it set up.

Let us know what you've tried so far.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Thanks....that sounds like something I would do too! For that reason alone, I've replaced all of my non-silicone spatulas with silicone! :)

To tell you the truth, I haven't done ANYthing....I've just been waiting for a kind answer to my dilemma. :P So far, I've tried soaking it with soapy water and scrubbing it with a scrubby sponge. I've also tried prying under neath it, but it's REALLY hard so nothing came off. I'm more worried about the parts where there's just little drips of plastic...I would think the larger parts would be easier to scrub off.

I think I'll try scrubbing it with some steel soon. Sigh...

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I think, given that it's too hard to pry off, heating the pan first and then taking a razor blade (that IS better than a spatula, now that beccaboo mentions it) is a good thing to try. Freezing it, per choux's suggestion, can't hurt - I somehow doubt that it will help, but I could be wrong, and it can't make things worse. Either way has to be better than pure scrubbing...that would take a loooong time.

I've been wracking my brains for some solvent that would remove the plastic without killing you, so far to no avail. Maybe some organic chemist will tune in with something, if we keep this up top long enough.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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a thought- oven cleaner spray?

Also, I think I've seen it mentioned in the Queen of Clean's book (don't have it- was skimming in a bookstore) to soak a fabric softener sheet in your dinged up baking ware. Maybe that would help here?

A total last resort try: in my metal fabrication class we're always burning off stickers and glue with the torches under a hood. Maybe you can burn it off using an application that's hotter and more directed than an oven?

flavor floozy

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I've been wracking my brains for some solvent that would remove the plastic without killing you, so far to no avail.  Maybe some organic chemist will tune in with something, if we keep this up top long enough.

The first thing I would try for common plastics is acetone. It should be available in a hardware store. I dont know what you handle is made of, some plastics such as polystyrene are readily soluble in acetone, some take more time. In most cases, if you wait long enough the plastic should swell in the solvent and become easily removable.

Acetone is volatile and the fumes are not good for you (not highly toxic but still basic caution is advised. Acetone fumes are dangerous for contact lenses (and for the eyes) so in all cases wear glasses.

I would advise putting a small amount in the bottom of the pan, put the lid on, put the pan under the kitchen hood and wait a bit. After a while, pour the remaining liquid in some recuparation container, wait for the remainer to evaporate and scrape the bottom of the pan.

Acetone is flamable, so stay away from sparks and heat sources. Also try not to get too much of it on ontact with your skin.

I gave you a lot of warning here, but this is just general safety precautions. Acetone is comonly used by college students and was previously used as nail polish remover (now replaced by ethyl acetate).

If that dosnt work, you can try lighter fluid, toluen or even chloroform if you can get some.

Since the plastic was heated, it may have denatured and may not be soluble anymore, but it is still worth a try.

Slow heating and scraping may also be a good solution.

In any cases, I woudnt advice attemting pyrolisis in the first steps. It could ruin your pan. Maybe only as a last resort attempt.

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