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Plastic Container Melted In Oven: Is The Food Safe?

Plastic Container Melted In Oven: Is The Food Safe?

We’ve all made the mistake of placing a plastic container in the oven, mistaking it for being oven-proof, and then finding it half an hour later melted completely. The real question is though, is the food inside the container safe to eat or should you throw it out?

We highly recommend avoiding eating food that has been in a melted plastic container in an oven. This is because plastics can contain certain chemicals such as bisphenol A that are associated with health problems – these chemicals can also leach into foods and this happens more prominently at higher temperatures. 

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the reasons why you should avoid eating food that is inside a melted plastic container, as well as what you can do to clean an oven if there is melted plastic stuck inside.

Why You Should Avoid Food Inside Melted Plastic

When the plastic melts, the chemicals inside can leach into the food that is contained within it.

Certain chemicals within the plastic, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS), can lead to health issues with hormones, brain function and other related problems.

Not all plastic contains these harmful chemicals, but it’s almost impossible to tell how much of the plastic has leached into the food during melting without testing it in a lab. It is for this reason that we believe eating food that has been in a melted plastic container in an oven is not worth it.

What If Only A Small Amount Of Plastic Melts?

If a small amount of plastic melts, the food may well be safe to eat, but this judgement is up to you.

It’s incredibly difficult to determine whether harmful chemicals have leached into the food, so it really is hard to give solid advice in this regard.

What Plastic Can Be Used In Ovens?

A common reason for plastic melting in an oven is because people assume that plastic that can withstand the microwave can be used in the oven, but this is incorrect.

Ovens cause the plastic to reach much higher temperatures, so for oven-safe plastic, you need to look for CPET. CPET can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and is therefore suited up to these temperatures to be used in ovens.

What Do You Do If You Accidentally Melt Plastic In The Oven?

If you have melted some plastic in your oven it will likely stick to the oven tray as it cools down, becoming difficult to remove.

Depending on the type of oven you have there are a few easy methods for removing the plastic without causing damage to the oven.

Self-Cleaning Ovens

Self-cleaning ovens use a cleaning setting that increases the temperature beyond the normal limit of the oven to burn off any debris, but this is not effective against plastics.

Instead, turn the oven on to a low-temperature setting and gradually heat it up. As it heats up, the plastic will soften and start to melt again.

At this point, use a non-abrasive tool such as a wooden or plastic spoon and try to remove the plastic. Remember to wear oven gloves, and make sure not to burn your arms as you try to dislodge the plastic.

Metal Oven Racks

A lot of electric ovens, as well as gas ovens, have metal racks that can be removed.

For these types of ovens, you’ll want to remove the metal oven racks completely and place them on your countertop, ideally on top of an old rag to keep the countertop safe.

Once you’ve got the racks out, we’re going to cool them down using ice. If you have a bag of ice, this will work best.

Start by placing the ice on top of the areas where the melted plastic is stuck and leave it for a few minutes. Once the plastic has cooled it will become more brittle, and you can use a scraper to gently work away at it.

A razor blade will work best, but you’ll want to be extra careful not to scratch the metal itself. Repeat the cooling process until all of the plastic has been scraped away.

How To Remove The Plastic Smell From Oven

Even after removing the plastic itself, you may still notice a strong smell of burnt plastic coming from the oven, which can actually affect the food that you cook inside it.

To remove this smell, simply follow the steps below:

Ensure All Plastic Is Removed

If a strong plastic smell remains in your oven, it could be due to a small amount of plastic that you have missed during cleaning.

Check the bottom of the oven for any plastic that could have ended up there, and remove it if you discover any.

Use Baking Soda Paste To Clean The Rest Of The Oven

If your oven hasn’t been cleaned in a while then other debris within it could absorb the plastic scent.

The easiest way to clean an oven is to first remove the oven trays and soak them in a solution of hot water and dish soap. Afterwards, mix equal amounts of baking soda and distilled white vinegar to create a paste (avoid cleaning agents like bleach for this purpose).

Apply the paste generously to the interior surfaces of the oven, let it sit for 20 minutes and then scrub it away using a non-abrasive scrubber. Wipe the walls clean afterwards with a damp cloth, and then put the racks back in place after wiping them clean and drying them.

Use Distilled White Vinegar To Remove Any Remaining Odor

Place a bowl of distilled white vinegar on the bottom shelf of your oven and turn it on to a low setting for an hour.

This will get rid of any remaining plastic odor that might be present – just make sure that the container is oven proof!

Use Self Cleaning Mode

An alternative option to using vinegar is to use the self-cleaning mode on your oven if you have that option.

How To Remove Plastic Smell From Kitchen

Removing the plastic smell from your oven is one challenge, but the smell can remain in your kitchen for a long time as well, so it’s also important to know how to remove it effectively.

White and black kitchen

Luckily, this step is quite easy and involves opening windows to improve circulation, as well as utilizing the kitchen extractor fan and deodorizing sprays to freshen the air.

Open Windows

One of the easiest things to do is to open the windows in your kitchen.

This will allow air to quickly circulate through, getting rid of the plastic smell in a matter of minutes.

Deodorize

Using an air freshener to get rid of the plastic smell is another great option, but you need to be sure that you’ve gotten rid of all the plastic before you jump into masking the odor.

Use The Kitchen Extractor Fan

For a particularly stubborn plastic smell, you can utilise the kitchen extractor fan to speed up the process. This works well because the fan is right above the stove which in turn is (usually) above the oven.

Turn it on to its maximum setting for the best impact and leave it on for a few minutes to remove any remaining smell.

Final Thoughts

When a plastic container melts in your oven, it’s advisable to avoid eating the food due to the chemicals that may leach into it.

Luckily, cleaning the plastic is relatively simple if you follow the methods outlined in this article, and you’ll be able to get your oven and kitchen smelling like normal again in no time.