How To Remove Baked On Cooking Spray

There is nothing more annoying than reaching into the cupboard for a cookie sheet and noticing patches of baked-on cooking spray.  You know you washed it, so why is it covered in baked-on cooking spray?  It feels sticky, has a yellow/brown tinge to it; in addition, it isn’t fit to use to bake your Great-Aunt Alma’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, is it?  You needn’t worry, as there are some excellent methods to get rid of the unwanted, greasy cooking spray from your favorite cookware.

How to remove baked on cooking spray

What is Cooking Spray Made of?

Most cooking sprays have several ingredients in common:  oil (olive, canola, corn, etc.) which serves as a lubricant, lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier (making the oil stick to the pan), and a propellant (causing the ingredients to spray from a container), such as carbon dioxide. Together, these substances prevent food from sticking to cookware.  It’s ironic that the cooking spray itself does a terrific job at keeping cookies from sticking to the pan, but the spray itself adheres to the surface of the cookware.

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Why Does Cooking Spray Stay on Cookware?

When you combine high heat (on the stove or in the oven) with a cooking spray, the chemical reaction that occurs is similar to a polymer (in the same vein as a plastic adhering to a surface).  The cooking spray and heat ‘bond’ to the cooking surface, which is why it becomes a messy, sticky substance on cooking surfaces after cooking or baking.

How About Non-Stick Cookware?

Do you use cooking spray on non-stick cooking surfaces?  It’s never recommended to do this, as the non-stick surfaces should do the trick to keep your food from sticking.  Interestingly, if you find yourself in this situation, it actually makes the cooking spray even harder to clean than traditional cooking surfaces. Usually non-stick pans are dark coated, and tend to heat up and cool down quicker than non-stick surfaces, making the cooking spray stick or harden more rapidly, thereby making them tougher to clean.

What Works to Remove Baked on Cooking Spray?

When it comes to getting rid of tacky, baked-on cooking spray, one method does not fit all.  There are different procedures for various types of cookware.  Here are some step-by-step, tried and true ideas that will have you baking up a non-stick storm in no time.

Non-Stick Pans

  • Wash the pan in a sink of warm water and dish soap (a mild variety is best); be certain that all food pieces are removed.
  • Mix together equal parts of baking soda and water (creating a paste-like mixture).
  • Put the paste onto the cooking spray residue areas, and scrub with a non-scratch brush (or a sponge).
  • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, and dry the cookware with a soft towel.

Glass or Stoneware Pans

  • Let the cookware cool thoroughly.
  • Wash the glass pan or stoneware dish in the sink with warm (not hot) water and dish detergent (mild is best); ensure food particles are removed.
  • Mix together equal parts of vinegar and water, and pour into the cookware. Let it soak for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Leaving the mixture in the pan, scrub the residue area with a brush or sponge (make sure it’s soft).
  • Rinse the cookware with cool water; dry with a soft towel.

All-Purpose Home-made Cleaner (traditional and non-stick pans)

  • Mix together 2 tablespoons of Borax, 12oz warm water, and 12oz white vinegar.
  • Pour ingredients into a spray bottle; spray a generous amount onto a wet sponge and wipe the greasy surfaces. Rinse with warm water.

Additional Information – Are There Other Methods That Work?

Here are a few, ‘not-so typical’ methods to use that will finally get rid of greasy cooking spray residue.  Although not traditional by any stretch of the imagination, they might just work for you.

Cold-Oven Cleaner

Not exactly a method that everyone would like to try, using an oven cleaner is another solution to remove baked-on cooking spray (non-stick and traditional):

  • Place the dish in the sink and generously spray with oven cleaner (make certain you use a cold-oven formula, as opposed to the type that requires heat from the oven).
  • Let the oven cleaner sit for five to ten minutes, then vigorously scrub the cookware. This method might require repeating a few times in order to completely remove the residue.

** Note:  A word of warning whenever you are using any kind of oven cleaner:  Although a cold-oven cleaner might not appear as dangerous as its hot-oven counterpart, it is still made from chemicals.  Use caution whenever using this method to remove baked on cooking sprays from cookware.

Barkeeper’s Friend (for stainless steel and glass)

Barkeeper’s Friend is a cleaner that comes in a variety of formulas for all kinds of cleaning in and around your home.  The, “Superior Cookware Cleanser and Polish” formulation works wonders to remove baked on cooking spray for stainless steel and glass cookware:

  • Wet the area that contains the sticky residue. Sprinkle the Barkeeper’s Friend over the area, and rub it in with a kitchen cloth.
  • Let it sit for about ten minutes. Using good old fashioned elbow grease, rub in the mixture for a few minutes; rinse with warm water and repeat if necessary.

Dryer Sheet

Although not an item you would usually associate with removing baked on cooking spray from your cookware, this method is worth trying.  Here is what to do:

  • Put a dryer sheet on the cookware.
  • Fill the pan/sheet/pot with warm water.
  • Let it sit overnight; in the morning, using a sponge, wipe clean.

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Wrapping Up:

How To Clean Baked On Cooking Spray

Cooking spray is essentially used to prevent food from sticking to cookware surfaces. However, it can leave a residue that is caused from a chemical reaction between the cooking spray ingredients, and the heat from an oven or cooktop.  Luckily, there are many do-it-yourself methods that will remove the sticky residue.  There are also non-traditional methods that are worth checking out, especially if throwing away your cookware becomes the alternative.

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