It happens out of nowhere and quite often. Whether you accidentally leave a knife in the oven, the fork after checking on food, or a spatula while reheating lasagna, plastic left in the oven can and will melt. The handle will get deformed and the smell will come out from the oven and you will know you messed up before even cooking your food. At this point, you probably ask yourself, I have melted plastic in oven can I still eat food? The answer can go in two different directions and depends on more factors. Most importantly, it depends on what kind of material it is, as well as how much it is. To keep it safe, most people would rather get rid of the food, but is this really the case?
The truth is yes, you can eat your food, even if you have left plastic in the oven and it melted. How much plastic it is? If there is too much plastic, it could hurt you, so it is better to get rid of the food. If the handle of your utensil has just started melting and it is not fully ruined, chances are you can eat your food even if it smells a bit sketchy.
So If There’s Melted Plastic In Oven Can I Still Eat Food?
Before we answer that, let’s dive deep into detail first.
Why Plastic Can Be Unsafe
Plastics are rich in BPS or BPA. You might have noticed that certain utensils, cooking instruments or bottles are advertised to be BPA free or BPS free. These chemicals are found in more things out there, such as the lining of canned foods too. Sometimes, they can leak into foods, especially if the respective foods are too spicy or acidic.
When these chemicals face high temperatures, they will end up leaking into food. They are associated with various conditions, such as chest cancer or early puberty. Obviously, a small dose will not necessarily harm you, but more and more people turn to BPA or BPS free plastic material. Melted plastic in oven can I still eat food? If your stuff is BPA or BPS free, absolutely.
Even if it is not, a tiny amount will not always leak into your food. Assuming you have just forgotten the spatula inside the pan and you can smell burnt plastic. The plastic handle still has its shape, but it smells. In this case, there is nothing to worry about. The smell could be problematic, indeed, but the food is safe to eat.
Oven Friendly Types Of Plastic
You can find some types of plastic specifically designed for the oven. Certain utensils, for example, are safe to leave in the oven as well as some pats or pans with plastic handles. CPET is also known as oven-safe type of plastic. It will take high temperatures too and usually up to 204 degrees C, but not higher. Containers made of this type of plastic are also safe to go in the oven, as well as the microwave.
What To Do When Plastic Melts Inside The Oven
Whether the whole handle has melted and your whole house smells like plastic or you have taken it out before it started melting, it will smell. Your oven will smell like burnt plastic and maybe even your home. First, determine whether or not the food is still edible. Then, you need to get rid of the smell. Plastic fumes can be quite harmful when exposed to them for long periods of time.
How To Get Rid Of The Smell Of Burnt Plastic
There are more ways to get rid of the smell of burnt plastic. Obviously, it depends on how severe the situation is. Melted plastic in oven can I still eat food? You can, if the amount of melted plastic is low. But then, get rid of the smell or it will linger around for a while. It will also get into other foods, so you need to annihilate it straight away.
Once you identify the smell of burnt plastic, you need to turn the oven off straight away. Remove the food and the melting utensil or whatever it is, then let the oven open for a while. Avoid confining fumes in the oven. The same rule will apply to your kitchen, these fumes can be harmful. Therefore, open the windows and let the room aerate for a few good hours.
Deodorize The Room
At first, the smell of melted plastic might seem gone. Get out for a few minutes, have some fresh air and come back inside. Chances are you can still feel it. Keep aerating and bring in some deodorizers. White vinegar may help, as well as teabags, just in case you do not have any deodorizers. Keep in mind that air fresheners will not eliminate the smell, but hide it temporarily.
How To Lose The Burnt Plastic Smell From The Oven
Aerating a room and smashing deodorizers everywhere is not everything. Indeed, you will get rid of the smell, but you have to focus on the oven as well. The first step implies leaving it open and perhaps refreshing it with a thorough cleaning procedure. Now, there are more types of ovens out there, and losing the burnt plastic may ask for different procedures.
Classic Gas Oven
If you have a traditional gas oven, the first step implies turning the gas off. Make sure there is no supply to the oven before moving on to other procedures. The panel at the bottom is probably removable, yet you will need a screwdriver. These panels are normally fitted with screws. Check these screws at the back, find out what screwdriver you need and remove it. There are usually two screws only.
Get the base plate and put that panel into the freezer if your freezer is big enough. The plastic will harden and become brittle. At that point, you can easily scrape it off with a hard plastic tool. If you find this option too complicated, bring the ice to the oven and not vice versa. Get a bag of ice and cover the panel with that you should still take it out and keep it flat on the counter before placing the bag on top.
Most people believe that a self-cleaning oven will get the job done in no time, but this is only a misconception. Sure, the feature will work for general dirt, but it takes a bit more to work on melted plastic. Make sure you turn the oven on first. Then, set the feature to the lowest possible setting and give it a few minutes.
The plastic hardness will change a little. As it gets pliable, you can get a spatula, a spoon or just a wooden utensil and remove it from the surface. Try not to damage the surface. A spatula is likely to work, even if metallic. However, wooden materials are much more effective at preserving the surface of the oven floor.
Traditional Electric Oven
An electric oven is less likely to disassemble like a large gas one. Therefore, you will not necessarily be able to remove the actual plate from the bottom and stick it into the freezer. Luckily, the ice bag method will work wonders in this case. Simply grab a bag of ice and put it on the melted plastic. Give it a while to cool down maybe for around half an hour.
The plastic will become brittle and can be scraped without too much hassle. Lift the plastic puddle with a razor blade scraper. Be careful during the step, as the lack of experience could cause some mild injuries. There is not much to worry about the porcelain finish though, as you are less likely to damage it. Get rid of the plastic, let the oven aerate and you can solve the problem.
Microwave Friendly Plastic Versus Oven-Safe Plastic
Just because some utensils or containers are safe for microwaves, it does not mean that they can be safely used inside the oven. An oven will reach much higher temperatures, so you are likely to melt the plastic. Can I still eat food if the plastic melts? If the amount is small and it does not leak inside your food, the food is safe to eat. Otherwise, you should just chuck it in the bin and start all over.
For instance, 5 polyethylene is generally safe for microwaves, but not for ovens. Other types of plastic are not suitable for microwaves either. You shouldn’t use metallic containers in the microwave. Type 1 polyethylene might work, but not always, it depends if it is heat resistant. If in doubt, simply check the instructions on the packaging.
There are obviously some health and safety rules, as well as common mistakes that require a bit of research. Melted plastic in oven can I still eat food? In theory, yes, if the plastic has barely melted, the amount is small and the leak is not inside the food. In any other situation, it is safer to avoid the food.
If you enjoy reading this article, find out what causes your oven to smell like dead mouse.