Just a short while ago, silicone was best known for, well, a particular type of enhancement. These days, there are plenty of tools—kitchen and otherwise—that are made out of silicone due to the flexible, non-stick material’s durability. In fact, silicone’s lack of porosity makes it the perfect material for cutting boards, knives, baking sheets, and other kitchen tools because it doesn’t absorb oils or dirt the way, say, a wooden cutting board might. But because it’s not a dishwasher-safe material, silicone gadgets require hand-washing, and after repeated use, they can accumulate grime that you may have missed with a simple soap-and-sponge routine.
You’ll know your silicone pieces need a deep clean once they start to feel sticky or tacky to the touch even after they’ve been washed. To deep clean your silicone products, start by creating a cleaning solution made of boiling hot water (lukewarm won’t do) and one tablespoon of grease-fighting Dishwashing Liquid in a tub or a plugged sink. Drop your silicone pieces in and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour to degrease, adding in more hot water every 15 minutes if you can remember. Take them out and scrub them one by one with a gentle material like a sponge and dry them with a towel. If you can still feel any residual tackiness on them, throw them back in and start the process once more.
Another great—albeit slightly more dangerous—method is to put the dirty silicone pieces in the oven, as the heat will help melt off the grime, literally. Let them sit in a 350-degree preheated oven for about ten minutes, then rinse them with just enough water just to dampen them, and sprinkle them liberally with dry baking soda. This should form a bit of a paste that’ll adhere to the dirt while it dries over the next two to three hours. Once it’s set (it’ll look a little like plaster), scrub them with a sponge in a sink filled with hot soapy water.
If you’re a regular in the kitchen, try to add this process into your monthly deep-clean. Otherwise, once per quarter should do the trick.