Kitchen Hacks

How to Clean those Slippery Silicone Mats, Once and For All

December 26, 2017

If I was allowed to bring only one kitchen tool to a desert island (assuming that desert island had ovens and sheet pans), it would probably be my trusty silicone mat (I use Silpat). I finally invested in one a few years ago, and ever since it has stood by me through countless nutty caramels and toffees, off-the-cuff granolas, and even a roasted fish or two, giving me confidence that I'll never have to deal with sticky, burned bits.

However, recently my Silpat has begun to look (and smell) a bit, well, funky. But silicone mats aren't super cheap, and I stubbornly refuse to invest in a new one. So, of course, I turned to our hotline to find out the best ways to clean a silicone mat to make it as fresh as the first day I used it. Here's what they said:

That Silpat is in need of a good clean. Photo by Julia Gartland

First, a bit of scientific background on why your silicon mats get funky with time:

Shop the Story

Silpats (and other silicone mats, duh) are made of silicone, which is why they're so nonstick. As they heat up in the oven, the silicone molecules expand, absorbing the oils (and, consequently, some residual flavors and fragrances) of whatever you're cooking. After they cool down, it's very difficult to remove the oils from the mat; that's why they can become covered in an unpleasant, oily sheen. Thankfully, we've got a few trusted cleaning methods that will have your silicone mat looking (and smelling) new:

  • Longtime community member MrVittles gave what the hotline voted as the best answer: Scrub your dirty silicone mat with a paste made of warm water and baking soda, let it sit for ten minutes, then rinse. Voila! Fresh and clean.

  • Food52 co-founder Amanda Hesser recommends soaking your silicone mat in hot water dosed with the juice of a few lemons to give it a deep refresh.

  • User passifloraedulis got scientific: Warm the silicon mat up in the oven first, so that the silicone molecules can expand and secrete the flavored, smelly oils. Then, while the mat is hot, immediately plunge it into a bath of warm water and white vinegar (or lemon juice). It should emerge smelling like new!

So next time you use your silicone mat to cook some oily (and delicious!) mackerel, don't forget to clean it right—you don't want your next batch of brittle tasting fishy.

A clean silpat, ready for the stickiest nut brittle. Photo by Bobbi Lin

How do you get rid of oily residue or lingering odors on your silicone mat? Share your cleaning tricks (or Silpat woes) in the comments!

Grab your copy

It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.

Grab your copy

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • MikeS_inFL
  • CoffeeAndBaconYum
  • Lisa Wilnau
    Lisa Wilnau
  • Randi Cekosh
    Randi Cekosh
  • Chris Bygonaise
    Chris Bygonaise
A kitchen scientist and dog-lover. Someday I want to have you over for dinner.


MikeS_inFL February 16, 2023
I know this is a bit old, but in case it helps - I've used a paste of oatmeal. Just prepared regular old fashioned oats and smeared on the silicone pad and baked at 400 for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how thick the oats are. Then I let it cool, and then pop it in the freezer for about 2 hours (after cooling on the counter first). When I peel the oatmeal plank off the silicone, it's nice and shiny and not smelly.

I haven't tried it with Dawn and a pastry brush tho. You might try stirring the oats after they've cooled a bit and making clump on the brush and then do the freezing bit.

Oatmeal does wonders for sucking up all kinds of stuff.

CoffeeAndBaconYum May 10, 2021
Can anyone please advise how to remove the taste of Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent from a silicone pastry brush with a plastic handle? The brush was inadvertently left overnight in a cup with 50% Dawn liquid detergent and 50% white vinegar. I rinsed the brush well, soaked it in hot water, then washed in dishwasher.

Used the brush to brush oil on griddle. Some bites of pancake (but not all) taste like Dawn detergent! 😳

Since the handle is plastic, I can’t hear the brush in the oven. Any suggestions to salvage this brush?
Lisa W. February 13, 2020
I have used multiple Demarle Silpat, Flexipan & Flexiflat products for the past 15 years when my Mom started selling them for a short time. I have collected no less than 30 products and have only had to dedicate 2 in all those years to "craft only" projects after they became discolored and no longer useable for baking. (They are great for painting projects, or as a mat to protect my workstation from hot glue! Another way I've used them is as a puzzle mat....I just roll an uncompleted puzzle up to keep it safe until finished!)
In respect to the many questions about cleaning, here are a few tips and tricks I've found that work great for me:

I wash my Silpat mats and Flexipans immediately after using with Dawn dish soap (it seems to be the best at cutting grease) and dry them, or lay them out to air dry. In case I've baked something that has a strong odor, I will wash them with Dawn and then wash them in the dishwasher immediately afterwards. My next step if anything stubborn remains would be to add a dishwasher tablet to the sink with 3" of boiling water poured over the mat & let it soak for 30 minutes. These steps will take care of 99% of any issues you may have!

I have had a couple incidents where my mats still had lingering smells (or grease from especially baked on butter or oil) and found that heating them in the oven for 10 minutes @ 350° and then filling my sink 1/4 of the way with boiling water with 2 cups of vinegar and letting the Silpat/Flexipan soak in the vinegar water for 30 minutes helped tremendously. If there is STILL a lingering scent or grease trouble spot after all these steps, I sprinkle a cup or two of baking soda on the mat/pan in the sink and add a cup of lemon juice (NO WATER) to the baking soda and let the baking soda/lemon juice mixture bubble up and sit for 30 minutes. Voila! No more smells or grease for even the worst offenders! This is a fail safe step by step for ANY mishap you might have with your mats or pans. I've never had to get rid of any mats except my very first ones purchased all those years ago before learning the proper way to care for them. 😊

For those wanting to clean your perforated baking sheets, I use baking soda and vinegar to scrub them clean. If they are heavily discolored, I use oven cleaner on them to make them nice and shiny again.

I hope these tips will help anyone who finds that nothing seems to work in getting them clean. I absolutely cannot live without my set of baking items (so much so, I recently had to start buying small/toaster oven sizes as well for our new RV because the oven and convection oven appliances are just an inch smaller than the standard medium Silpat Mat/Baking Sheets that I use daily at home.) Many of the Flexipans can still be used but having to once again buy new mats/sheets for an RV was quite an investment! 😂 I thought I had everything I could ever need but was sadly mistaken! There is NOTHING in the world I'd trade for my set of bakeware. I can't help but tell everyone about how amazing they've been these past 15 years. Thank you so much Sasa Demarle for such incredible products. They are truly life-changing. 🙌
Randi C. May 13, 2019
I have tried dishwasher, baking soda, boiling water, Dawn dish soap & degreasers on my silicone baking mats and they just would not let go of this greasy film! I read this blog and several others and didn't find any suggestions that differed from what I had previously tried.
Then I had a thought, how about dish soap and Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser?
IT WORKED!!!! It is available at most grocery & hardware stores. I have it in my home at all times as it is a gem on cookware. Not sure why it took me so long to try but sure glad I did!
Chris B. March 4, 2019
Does anybody else have a problem with their silpats holding on to a soapy taste after cleaning? Any suggestions?
Bill March 4, 2019
I know this will sound insane but we have a front loading washing machine and I just throw them into the wash with the towels.
Come out clean every time and I've been using the same mats regularly for over 4 years.
Bonniejane S. March 1, 2019
I have been washing my silpats in the dishwasher for ages, no problems noted to date .
tastysweet March 2, 2019
Top or bottom?
Bonniejane S. March 3, 2019
standing between the cookie sheets on the bottom
tastysweet March 3, 2019
CWL March 1, 2019
Only way to clean silpat & other silicone kitchen items (like ice cube trays) so they are odor free & non-greasy is to bake them in the oven at 350+ for 20 minutes. This oxidizes the funky oils and removes any lingering odors. Works better & easier than soaks & scrubs or dishwasher.
Susan March 1, 2019
Dishwasher. Works perfectly! Every time .
Bill December 30, 2018
We have a front loading washer. I just throw them into the wash in a hot water cycle with the kitchen towels and they come out grease & order free. Haven’t damaged one yet.
Liz A. May 24, 2019
Ok Bill, I'm about to try it with my two brown mats... I'll let you know how I go. 😊
ButterYum December 17, 2018
I clean have a number of silpats and use them almost daily. I cook everything from cookies to shrimp on them and I've never had a problem with odors. I usually clean them with a soapy washcloth followed by a rinse, but when they start to get too oily, I put them right in the dishwasher. I simply fold them over the times like an upside down taco shell. It works like a charm.
I have occasionally put them in the dishwasher. That is probably immoral and shortens its’ life but it works.
Dina S. December 16, 2018
Can I try this on a silicone bundt mold? I’ve not used it since over time it started to feel sticky & it’s as if it’s “sweating” sticky stuff.... i feel weird using it even if I wash it. I think this is how silicone molds get over time 🙁 is it still safe to use? Would a vinegar bath save it?
Christine S. January 2, 2018
Sounds like an option for silicone baking molds and pans, too.
Jess December 27, 2017
Has anyone been successful using similar cleaning methods on silicone ice cube trays? Despite only being used to freeze ice, the trays now make ice cubes that taste like plastic.
ButterYum December 17, 2018
You may have a silicone ice cube tray that contains plastic fillers. There's a test you can do to determine if it has filler or not. Fold over the corner of the piece and begin to pinch it where the fold is (being careful not to crease the item). If you see a white stress mark along the fold, it contains fillers. A lot of the rainbow colored silicone pieces I've tested contain plastic fillers. I hope that helps!
sarahepardee December 27, 2017
Thank you for for the tips, I can’t wait to do this! I’ve owned my silicone mats for years (6? 8?) and they smell heavily of cookies, in a bad way (if that’s possible...) so I’ve mostly stopped using them and am doing parchment only. I can’t wait to try these tips and hope to restore them!
Jonna B. December 27, 2017
I recently used the vinegar method after baking Springerle on mine, so everything after that wouldn’t be Anise flavored. It worked great.
jan December 27, 2017
Thank You😁😃☺
Peyton B. December 27, 2017
While I have no desire to have snapper scented snicker doodles, I seem to recall the silpat manufacturers advice that they're supposed to be slightly slimy feeling, it's kind of the nonstick point. Perhaps I'm just lazy about getting out the baking powder or lemons but I just use the leading grease cutting dishwashing stuff. My issue is washing and properly drying a non ridged thin piece of silicone, what a pain!
Daniel T. February 20, 2018
I'll match your laziness with mine. Once I finish washing it, I put it in the oven wet or pat dry a little! A slightly warm oven takes care of the rest!
Liz A. May 24, 2019
After washing and drying, roll in up in a bath towel to absorb last bits of moisture.
Tracy A. December 27, 2017
Well, I put mine in the dishwasher. Perhaps I shouldn’t! It comes out squeaky clean however!
Ann P. December 27, 2017
I also put mine in the dishwasher, and so far it has retained its original "slick" feel.