Asked on Feb 20, 2014

How to Remove Melted Plastic on Stainless Steel?

by Jill
My daughter decided to make popcorn late one night and turned on the wrong burner of the stove (All while not paying attention to what she was doing and talking on the phone). On the back burner sat an empty stainless steel pot that was left with tea bags in it and a very large black plastic spoon. After a few minutes the smoke alarm went off. She realized there was a burning stench of plastic and saw the mistake she had made. The tea bags were history, but the plastic spoon all melted into a puddle at the bottom of the pot. These were a very expensive set of pots and pans that can no longer be replaced, and I would hate to have to throw another pot she destroyed away. I have scrubbed the areas around the burn clean, but the plastic has not budged. I have even tried to scrape it up with a sharp edge, but don't want to run the risk of injuring myself or breaking a knife blade, screw driver and damaging the pot. Can anyone give me any ideas on how to remove the plastic from the bottom of the pot? Any help would be appreciated!
  33 answers
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Feb 20, 2014
    I had plastic melted onto one of my oven racks. Put it outside for a couple of really cold days, and was able to break it loose. Prior to that, I couldn't even scrape it off. Once the heavy stuff was off, I was able to scrape the rest.
    • Jill Jill on Feb 20, 2014
      @Cynthia H Sadly, I live in So. CA and it doesn't get cold enough to do this. does give me the idea of putting the pan in the freezer for a few hours and trying it. Thanks!
  • Janet Smith Janet Smith on Feb 20, 2014
    You might try heating the pan until the plastic is softened and then scrape with a paint scraper with a new blade in it. Hope you can get that off!!
    • Jill Jill on Feb 20, 2014
      @Janet Smith I don't think I would want to try this. Burning plastic lets off toxic gas. The smell lasted in my kitchen for days when she did it, even with the windows open.
  • Kim Diss Kim Diss on Feb 20, 2014
  • Carole Carole on Feb 20, 2014
    Usually for anything burnt to the bottom of a pan, biological soap powder dissolved in water if left for a day or so will get the burnt stuff off. I don't know if it would work on loosening the plastic though. If all else fails, it might be worth a try??
    • Jill Jill on Feb 20, 2014
      @Carole I don't think biological soap powder will not work. It only works on carbon based burnt on food.
  • Carole Carole on Feb 20, 2014
    This reminds me of one Christmas where a friend tried to steam a Xmas plum pudding in a saucepan and let it boil dry. Result was red plastic bowl, mixed with Xmas pud stuck to the bottom of the pan! I think she threw the pan away!
  • I would suggest heating the pot on the outside BBQ grill then using heavy gloves use a old chisel to scrape the softened material off. You can also use a propane torch to try to burn what is left off. In any case, the pot will always have a stain on the bottom now that is has had this happen. But you should be able to make it serviceable once again.
  • try putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes ad it might just pop right works for wax!
  • Lori T Lori T on Feb 21, 2014
    Have you tried ice?
  • Carmen Carnegie Carmen Carnegie on Feb 21, 2014
    I wonder if oven cleaner would get it off?
    • See 3 previous
    • Dee Dee on Dec 10, 2020

      I don't know much, but all of this sounds like it could be a problem with toxic fumes and the possibility of re-using the pan might result in ingesting lots of toxins.

  • Pat Dollar Pat Dollar on Feb 21, 2014
    I just read an article here where oven grates came out beautiful by enclosing them in a plastic bag along with 2/3 cup of ammonia. Perhaps after freezing the pot and removing the bulk of plastic the stain can be removed using the ammonia method. Worth a try.
  • Angelika Angelika on Feb 22, 2014
    use a heath gun out side and try it that way or fire up the grill and place the pot on it
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Feb 22, 2014
    You might try this. Put come Cream Of Tarter in some water inside bring to a boil put on lid and let sit for a long while. If that doesn't work Oven cleaner is what I use all the time on My Salad Master stainless steel cook ware. Use it on anything stainless steel matter of fact. Also use it on all corning ware glass stuff. Yes I know it is toxic. I cover my nose , spray and run for the hills for about 20 minutes. It works always. I'd also warm not get hot on a low burner to remelt. Maybe set on a heater if you have one. You could also contact maker and ask them.HTH
  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Feb 22, 2014
    Possibly start heating the pan enough to get the plastic to the melting stage (but before the toxic fumes stage) use your range hood fan to help control the smell, then add soapy water and see if it turns loose .. bring the water to a boil even to try to dislodge the plastic... salt is also a good ingredient to soften cooked on problems
  • Linda Weeks Linda Weeks on Feb 22, 2014
    Yeah, I was thinking that you'd have to try some heat to get it back to a soft stage. and then maybe ruin another kitchen item scraping it off... let us know what you have some luck with
  • Eyesdebo Eyesdebo on Feb 22, 2014
    If you try ammonia in a bag, it needs to sit's the fumes that cleans...
  • April E April E on Feb 22, 2014
    1/4 cup baking soda 1/4 boiling cup white vineger let soak till all bubbles disappear the use a copper scrubby to take it all off
  • Megan Hantz Megan Hantz on Feb 22, 2014
    Sometimes people think of cleaning as using some magical mixture of product to remove something hard-to-get-off, but sometimes, you just have to physically remove it. At my cleaning company, I use not only abrasive cleaners like pumice stones and baking soda, but a good old steel wool and my hand held razor blade for scraping. I know you might not want to damage your pan, but if you consider it already damaged unless you can remove the melted plastic, I would suggest using a razor scraping tool to remove the majority, then steel wool, and see what else might melt off with heat as well.
  • Barbara Ahern Barbara Ahern on Feb 22, 2014
    I have no clue how you would get the burnt plastic off, but I use the powder cleanser for my stainless steel pans, such as Cameo or Bar Keepers Friend...if you ever get the burnt plastic off....I think the Cameo or Bar Keepers friend will take out the stain...lets hope and cross our fingers!! I don't think the handles would last under too much heat, good luck!!
  • Ronda Ronda on Feb 23, 2014
    You could use a heat gun on it to heat up and scrap the pan with a putty knife and if you use a extension cord you could do it outside weather permitting and that way your home will not get many fumes in it, Then after you get as much as you can off the run it in a automatic oven cleaner built into your stove. I have cleaned some stainless steel items in my oven and they came out a little dull in color but I could continue using them for cooking you probably should remove your handle off the pan before you put them in the oven. Good Luck Wish You Well!!
  • Jill Jill on Feb 25, 2014
    Well, I tried Cynthia H's idea and put it in my freezer. I added a little water to the pot hoping that when it froze it would freeze in between the plastic and the pot and it worked to almost get it all off. Then I filled the pot with water and let it boil for a while. While this wouldn't have removed all the plastic in the first place, it did help to soften it without the fumes bothering me. I then scraped it off and scoured it with steel wool. There are still a few flakes in the bottom, but I think I can scrape them off as time goes by. Thanks everyone for your ideas!
  • Robin Robin on Oct 20, 2014
    I have done that way too many times! Vinegar and baking soda will work every time! Mix in the pan and let sit for a while-I usually let sit for half an hour to an hour, depending upon the damage I've done. I usually keep a plastic putty knife next to my sink. Does NOT scratch my iron skillets nor my new teflon pans. Use the putty knife to "chip" off the big pieces.
  • Marci N Marci N on Oct 21, 2014
    Heat will get it off. Have to heat it up to where the plastic starts to get soft then scrap it off with a scraper.
  • Car1104258 Car1104258 on Jan 12, 2015
    I just had that happen to me. The simplest way to get melted plastic off a fry pan is to put it in hot water with Dawn liquid dishwasher soap. I soaked it for 10 Minutes and the plastic came off with my fingers in one solid piece. No harsh chemicals or anything. So easy. Please try
  • Sus4239479 Sus4239479 on Jan 27, 2016
    Clean melted fabric from stainless steel pot
  • Jacqui Kneeland Jacqui Kneeland on Jul 08, 2016
    I did this when trying to sterilize a pacifier. I found a paint scraper to be the best tool for scratching the plastic out. It worked great. Just don't recommend it for non-stick coating.
  • Michael Stewart Michael Stewart on Jun 15, 2017

    what about phosphoric acid. It is useful for washing dishes. You can also put the pot on the front porch and yell and scream at it how horrible it is that it and the pot like to stick together.

  • Iml28903180 Iml28903180 on Aug 08, 2017

    I turned on my instant pot pressure cooker with plastic bag left in and tried everything. THE ONLY WAY TO REMOVE IT is to put the burnt pot in a larger pot of boiling water. Add water to the burnt pot - about a quarter of the way up - and add to that about a half cup of Dawn dish detergent. Let boil quite a while. I did for 90 mins to 2 hours. Should slide off easily with gently scraping. Hope this helps!

  • Janice Janice on Feb 19, 2018

    Have you tried hard freezing the pot? Maybe try that, then remove and hit the pan on something very hard...maybe sidewalk outside and see if it releases the burned on plastic.

  • Doug Doug on Sep 22, 2018

    buy a new pot

  • Lorraine Lorraine on Sep 23, 2018

    Throw it out!

  • Terry Terry on May 20, 2019

    We just had this happen to our Pampered Chef 10” skillet. . I reheated the pan and used a metal spatula to remove the large pieces and paper towels to wipe thin the smaller pieces and strings. Now looks like black coating on most of the skillet. Then heat lightly again and sprayed oven cleaner on warm pan (several times) hand washing after each application. Lastly, a medium polishing compound with green cleaning pad (wash), then a light polishing compound (wash). It looks almost brand new.

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  • Try making a paste of baking soda and water and letting it sit. Scrub off with a crumpled ball of aluminum foil