It is almost impossible to step into a kitchen and not find utensils made of silicone in this era. In fact, almost every other household item is made up of this durable rubber-like polymer. However, these products can get stubborn stains and discolouration with constant use. Even though it is not easy to stain this material, it can lose its shine and colour with continual neglect.
If you have a few items lying around in your house made up of this polymer that needs a thorough cleaning, then you are at the right place. Check out our easy-to-follow guide on how to clean silicone at home without damaging the product. Not only that, read on to find a complete care guide for your belongings made or this versatile polymer. With just a few cleaning supplies and simple tools, you can effortlessly remove dirt and stains from your items.
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What are silicones?
It is a kind of polymer that is a standard part of your everyday life. Fun fact, there are more silicone products in your house than you think. It’s a form of rubber-like plastic also known as polysiloxanes. They are highly popular for their shape moulding properties; they are rubber or oil-like materials, usually colourless in the initial stage. This substance is used to make adhesives, cooking ware, lubricants, medicines, sealants, as well as thermal and electrical insulation.
They have high resistance to chemical and thermal energy. It also efficiently resists oxygen and UV rays. Often used in medicines, it is used to treat weak bones, ageing, vitamin deficiencies, and heart diseases. It’s also used for making body implants, breast and cheek implants being the most common.
Silicones are also one of the most used materials in the transportation and construction industries. Marine vessels, coatings, airbags, and automobile parts are made up of this material due to its high resistivity. In addition, due to its durable nature, most of the food containers, baking utensils, cups, plates, and moulds are made out of this polymer. It is often considered toxic or dangerous for the human body and environment as an artificial substance. However, contrary to popular belief, it is very safe to use for humans, having no adverse effects.
This material comes with many benefits compared to other forms of rubber and plastic. Here are the top six advantages of this polymer:
1. It is flexible:
This material is famous for its reliability and flexibility. Unfortunately, most plastics are prone to breakage if twisted and folded. However, since this polymer form has the flexibility of rubber and durability of plastic, it is an ideal fit for everyday use.
2. It is FDA-approved:
The problem with most plastics is that they are not safe in the kitchen. They react with warm food that indirectly promotes the growth of cancer cells in your body. Fortunately, with this material, it is not the case. It is an FDA-approved rubber-like plastic that can be used for storing, organising, and packaging food contents.
3. It is pretty versatile:
The best part about this polymer is that it is not used for one particular industry. You can easily find it in your kitchen, garage, school supplies, furniture, tech stores, and high fashion. You can even find silicone caulk between your tiles, sides of your plumbing fixtures, and around your windows as a sealant. It is such a versatile material, which makes it the top choice among many different companies.
4. It is flame retardant:
This polymer is highly flame retardant and chemical resistant, which is why it is the top choice for making kitchenware. However, this does not mean that it can not melt. Continuous exposure to direct flame can melt the surface of this material. While cooking or baking, your moulds will retain their colour and shape without melting or burning.
5. It is easy to sterilise:
It is also relatively easy to sterilise because of its heat-resisting properties. You can submerge it in boiling or hot water to get rid of any bacterial build-up. It is also dishwasher safe and can withstand various chemical cleaners to properly sanitise and sterilise the surface.
6. It is colour-friendly:
Most plastics lose their colour because of constant use or exposure to different temperatures. When silicone is manufactured, it is thoroughly bonded with the colour that becomes a part of its structure. Therefore any pigment on this material is quite difficult to fade. They are available in a spectrum of shades that you can pick and choose according to the aesthetic of your house.
How to clean different items made from silicone
Cleaning your stainless steel cutlery might be straightforward. But what about your silicone belongings? Even though all silicone items can be cleaned similarly, a few differences are required when the item is used for different purposes. A unique way of use means each item will have another type of stain that needs to be catered to in a specific manner. Read on to know how to clean essential household items with cleaning products available at home.
Your cooking utensils can have tough stains caused by oil, turmeric, pesto, and tomato sauce. The biggest victim of these stains is the silicone spatulas that are used in everyday cooking. These stains are usually greasy and deeply rooted that need to be cleaned with something that repels grease.
With dish soap and baking soda:
Dishwashing detergent and baking soda is a powerful combination that can clean tough stains like a burnt pan. To remove stains and grime from your cookware, dilute three tablespoons of dish soap in hot water. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda and make a thick paste. Next, apply this paste to the affected area and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Once the paste dries, gently scrub your utensil and rinse it with tap water. This technique will help you get rid of stains and grease build-up from your kitchenware with ease.
It is common for silicone bakeware to have a sticky residue and grease marks due to the usage of creams, sugars, and cooking sprays. In addition, semi-permanent stains can form on silicone baking mats because of continuous use. Cleaning silicone bakeware is not a tedious task; just a rinse with soapy water can do the trick. However, neglecting your baking utensils for a long time can damage them in the long run.
With baking soda and white vinegar:
To eliminate any sticky residue or tough grease stains, mix equal amounts of bicarb and white vinegar and apply it to the surface. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes and scrub it with a gentle toothbrush. This stain removal method is ideal for all kinds of polymer-based utensils in your kitchen. For tough stains, you might need to use some elbow grease, but make sure not to use abrasive sponges as they can damage the surface of your bakeware.
3. Phone cases
Phone covers made up of this material are quite common because of their durability and safety. They are also known as jelly covers because of how soft and flexible they are. The only drawback to these covers is that they turn yellow over time. There is no set way of preventing this from happening, but you can always reverse the yellowing process. You can renew your phone case with products used for cleaning stains from everyday household items.
With bleach or hydrogen peroxide:
In a bowl, spread a few sheets of paper towel and fill it up with warm water. Add half a cup of bleach and a tablespoon of laundry detergent to that solution. Next, submerge the phone case in the cleaning solution and leave it for half-hour. During this process, wear rubber gloves as bleach can irritate your skin.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach, which is also a fantastic cleaning agent. For example, you can use it to bleach your white clothes. Once your case is cleansed, rinse in your kitchen sink and let it air dry. After drying it completely, our phone case is now ready to use.
Preventing stains from common silicone items
It is essential to take proper care of this material to avoid any stains and damage. Here is what you should keep in mind when dealing with products made of this polymer:
1. Do not leave it greasy:
Leaving grease and oils on your cooking ware and baking utensils can cause yellowing in the long term. Always wash your utensils with soapy water to eliminate any dirt and grease.
2. Remove any staining product immediately:
Wash it immediately with tap water and dish soap in case of any staining. It will prevent any stubborn stains from building up over time.
3. Never use abrasive cleaners:
Abrasive sponges and scouring pads can severely damage your silicone products. Instead, use gentle sponges and or a soft toothbrush to clean items made up of this polymer.
4. Store it in a cool, dry cabinet:
Even though this material is fungus-resistant, constant moisture can cause tiny mould spots to grow on its surface. Store it in a dry and cool cabinet to avoid this from happening.
With just a few essential cleaning products, you can keep the silicone items at your home in optimal condition. This material is quite stain-resistant, which means regular cleaning will keep your belongings as good as new. It is a polymer-based product which means it is still part of the plastic family. Throwing your stained houseware out and replacing them with new ones can be pretty hazardous for the environment. Since this polymer is relatively easy to clean, invest a little time of your day for keeping it grime and stain free. This way, you will keep your household items tidy and the Earth safe.