Silicone bakeware is 100 percent dishwasher safe, but that doesn't mean the dishwasher is always the best way to clean it. It's easy to see why silicone bakeware is so popular: it's colorful, microwave safe and viable in the oven at temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Available in a plethora of shapes, silicone baking pans make both cakes and frozen treats in a variety of shapes and feature a stainless finish that leaves you free to experiment with food coloring and dyes. Silicone bakeware isn't all sunshine and flowers, however. Over time, it tends to develop a greasy film that is hard to remove. Your dishwasher might do the trick, but if it doesn't, you'll need to wash the bakeware by hand or absorb the grease with a bit of baking soda.
Slipping and Sliding
Silicone bakeware is nonstick and nonporous, but sometimes it's also slimy. There are two reasons for this greasy residue. One is that bakers often spray silicone bakeware with cooking spray before using it. Greasing silicone bakeware is generally unnecessary, but bakers used to using glass and metal pans often grease their silicone out of habit. The other source of grease is the food itself. Because silicone bakeware is nonporous, none of the grease or oils naturally found in baked goods penetrate the cooking pan. It always stays floating on the surface where you can feel it.
Because the contents of silicone bakeware slide out of the pan so easily, it doesn't need a trip through the dishwasher after each use. Instead, wipe it clean with a cloth dampened with soapy water. Rinse and dry the bakeware before putting it away. If you notice a greasy feel, it's time to put the bakeware in the dishwasher for a more thorough clean. The top and bottom racks are both acceptable, so long as you keep your bakeware away from sharp objects, Knives and other sharp utensils can cut or poke through silicone, so place them on a different dishwasher rack than your bakeware.
Giving Your Bakeware a Hand
In most cases, your dishwasher will do an admirable job of removing the greasy film from your silicone bakeware. If you notice any remaining residue when unloading the dishwasher, wash your silicone bakeware by hand. Use a high-quality dish soap to better cut through the grease. If that's not enough, liberally sprinkle some baking soda in the bakeware and allow it to sit overnight, absorbing the oil. Dispose of the baking soda the next morning and wash your bakeware again, by hand or in the dishwasher.
In the unusual instance that neither you, the dishwasher or the baking soda can get your silicone bakeware clean, try letting your oven do the work. Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and pop the empty bakeware into it for 10 minutes. When the time is up, take the bakeware from the oven directly to the sink and fill it with hot water. After soaking a few minutes any residue will come right off. Exercise caution when using this cleaning method as the silicone bakeware will be very hot when it comes out of the oven.
Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.