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Plastic styrofoam cup melted into a cooktop.  DON'T do this.  NASTY HAZARDOUS Vapors.  Need ventilation!

So…I melted plastic into ceramic glass cooktop

NOW WHAT?

Your cooktop surface is both a hot cooking surface and a working preparation surface.   We have a small kitchen so we use every bit of space we have in meal prep, cooking, and then the clean-up.  It’s a problem just waiting to happen… A hot burner, possibly just free of the pan that was hovering over the burner, and plastic spatulas or wrappers or anything plastic that you need to set down somewhere.  Then you set it down without thinking and within seconds you notice something sizzling that doesn’t smell like dinner!  What to do with melted plastic into a ceramic glass cooktop?

These open hot cooking areas can be quite hazardous if you don’t stay attentive.  We try to keep the pan or something close by the burner area to remind us the area is hot as busy dinner prep can change your focus quickly.

So, what should you do when you put some plastic cling-wrap, Ziplock bag, or container on the hot burner, then it quickly melts into the glass-ceramic???

 

THE BEST METHOD:  While the burner is still hot…hopefully seconds after the accident, turn the burner off and CAREFULLY use a razor scraper to scrap the hot plastic to the cold area of the cooking surface.  You should use an oven mitt so you don’t burn your hand.  If the burner is off, should be no problem.  It is the COOLING OF THE PLATIC & GLASS-CERAMIC TOGETHER that is the problem.
 

“THAT’S NICE INFO, BUT I ALREADY COOLED IT DOWN!”

Being an “expert” I honestly have never done this to my cooktop but have seen examples of plastic burned into the glass and when the cooled plastic is pulled, some cooktop surface comes with it.  However, a friend called and informed me that she did this and asked what to do!  Not knowing any further details, I informed the “party line” to use a scraper and suggested she should have cleaned it while hot.  “Sorry, too late for you!”

She did her own homework (a little rebellious and untrusting of the “expert”) and found other suggestions to use WD40 to soften the plastic and then scrape it off.  She claims it worked.  SURPRISED (and a bit schooled)…I set off to create some burned in plastic and give it a try myself!  (it’s nice to have the amenities and material to work with at the office…Please don’t try this at home!)

The theory of  plastic and glass-ceramic bonding while hot, say above 400 F, is the plastic melts onto the glass surface and forms a very strong bond as it cools.  This new bonded material of glass-plastic may chip off pieces of the glass from the surface when it cools.  Below, I attempt to recreate the effect my friend saw and understand the effects and other possible solutions of melted plastic.

 

First, I melted plastic and then let it cool:

Ooops

Melted Ziplock Bag

Cooled Plastic Bag after Melting

Cooled top with bag melted in

 

I then scraped as much of the melted plastic as possible with razor scraper from the surface.

Removed melted plastic with scraper

Removed melted plastic with scraper

Then I divided the melted debris into two sections using white tape so I could keep track of the two methods.  The bottom I cleaned with Weiman Cooktop Cleaner and the top soaked with WD40 overnight

Divided Panel:  Lower half cleaned with Weiman Cooktop Cleaner

Divided Panel: Lower half cleaned with Weimann

Soaking melted plastic with WD40

Divided Panel: Top half soaked in WD40

Remaining residue after WD40

Remaining residue after WD40

The Weiman Cleaner was able to remove all the residue from the cooktop.  The mild abrasive in the cleaner buffed it off with a little effort.  The WD40 certainly softened the plastic, and made it easier to scrape off, but still a faint residue remained.  It seems this would burn off over time or come off with further scrubbing, or maybe need another WD-40 treatment.  But no sense getting some oil, useful for many mechanical things, on our cooking surface when the right cleaner takes the gunk off in minutes!  Below the picture after WD40 and before I cleaned the oil residue off.

SO, I learned something.  If the plastic isn’t deeply bonded with the glass and has only slight surface contact, it may be removable!  WD-40 can help with burned in plastic, but I would stick with a razor scraper and cooktop cleaner!  If the top is already room temperature and scraped with no signs of chipping, you may be in luck!

I tried melting other common plastic items into CERAN® Cooktops, noted below.  The results are the same.

  1. I was unsuccessful (which is a good thing) in destroying the glass-ceramic surface by melting plastic items into the surface, allowing them to cool, then pulling/cutting the plastic away.  I’m not saying it can’t be done!  I have seen examples, but I just couldn’t recreate the environment where such permanent damage occurs.
  2. I tried many items and surface temperatures, from so hot the plastic spontaneously burst into flames to a cool “simmer” of plastic on the surface.  (Please don’t try this, the fumes and hazards are plentiful.  We have a lab for this stuff!)
  3. The best solution in every case was scraping and cleaning with a cooktop cleaner.
  4. WD-40 may soften the plastic, but the abrasive of cooktop cleaner is just as effective and faster and  less gross to put on your cooktop.

OTHER EXAMPLES:

  • Grocery bag (with soup can) and plastic spoon

Grocery bag and plastic spoon

  • Cling Wrap

Cling Wrap

Cling Wrap

  • Spatula (before scraping and after)

Melted Plastic Spatula

Melted Plastic Spatula

Cooled & Scraped Spatula

Cooled & Scraped Spatula

 

 

  • Lastly:  a styrofoam cup!

⇒Finally, Whatever you do, DO NOT APPLY WD-40 or anything flammable to a HOT SURFACE.  Very dangerous!!!⇐

The summary of tests of cooled plastic onto a cooktop:  Use a razor scraper and cooktop specific cleaner.

OPTIMAL TOOLS for cleaning melted in plastic:

  • Razor Scraper
  • Oven Mitt
  • Cooktop Cleaner

WD40?  Some would say “yes”…I say “No need”

 

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6 Responses to “So…I melted plastic into ceramic glass cooktop”

  1. Steve Sans January 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    I used a metal file and sandpaper to take off the plastic-metal amalgam. Have I ruined my burner?

    • Ted Wegert January 21, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

      “Amalgam!” Great term…Gives me some recent bad memories at the dentist office though! If you removed the plastic-metal material, but scratched and marred the glass-ceramic, you haven’t ruined the cooktop from performance or use. You just may have marred or scratched the surface permanently and damaged the looks only. From a strength standpoint, it is the bottom surface, which you can’t reach, that is the key for strength. If it’s totally scratch free…nice work. I couldn’t do that. -T

  2. Colleen November 12, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    I melted a teflon spatula on my glass top and used the razor to peel it off purely accidental…. Unfortunately the spatula left pot marks on my stove top. I let it cool, which I know now was a mistake. But now I’m a little scared to use it. Any suggestions?

    • Ted Wegert November 13, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

      Well…I wouldn’t use that spatula any more! haha, sorry.

      The cooktop will be fine. First, since it’s cool, I would clean it thoroughly with the razor scraper. If there are bits of spatula left on the surface, get as much off as you can, if not all of it, with the razor blade. Then, clean it with the cooktop creme with as much force as you can muster using your hands and paper towel.

      After that

      • Colleen November 16, 2015 at 12:15 am #

        Thank you, I was most worried about the pot marks being defective. I appreciate your help!
        Colleen

  3. Diane Kelly April 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    my mom left the plastic microwave cover on my glass stove top. The plastic was hard. I put goo gone on a paper towel and rubbed it on .I used my nail to gently scrape it off. It came right off. It worked perfect .This just happened.My stove top looks like nothing ever happened

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