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December 8, 2009 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Can I use automotive-type silicone sealant to coat the metal handle of a kitchen utensil?

I'm looking for some help in an inelegant solution to an intractable problem in the kitchen. Because our household heritage might best be described as Rednec-Tino (or Lat-Nec), a lot of messy, spattery frying and sauteeing goes on around here.

I finally found a 13-inch spatter screen that covers all but my largest (14-inch) pan, but it doesn't cover that one unless I rest part of the handle on the lip of the pan, which would make the stay-cool plastic center melt and leak out of the wire-loop handle of the splatter screen.

Here's what I want to do: I want to punch the plastic center out of the wire loop and replace it by coating the wire loop with silicone sealant, like Form-A-Gasket.

Will this poison me and everyone I cook for? How long should I let it cure?

caveat: I live in BFE, so bonus points for cheaper brands of silicone sealant that I can buy at ACE hardware.
posted by toodleydoodley to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
 
Look for a food safe silicone sealant. I used some about a decade ago to heal a cracked water dispenser & it's still holding strong.
posted by torquemaniac at 4:20 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't give you a definite answer, but if you have to ask, you probably don't want to cook with it.

Who knows what trace metals (like lead), rat droppings, or weird chemicals might have gotten in during manufacturing. Pretty sure the manufacturer doesn't know or care, since it's not for food use.
posted by zippy at 4:24 PM on December 8, 2009


No. Do not do this. You are looking to use this not in a stable environment, and instead are using something that will need operate in temperatures between freezing and 600F.

While yes, industrial grade silicones do this, they are not safe for ingestion (stable but not safe). google the terms: MSDS+poison+control+silicone+sealant+ingestion.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2009


Who knows what trace metals (like lead), rat droppings, or weird chemicals might have gotten in during manufacturing.

yeah, but I've just quit using dime-store nonstick pans. how much worse could it be?

Nanukthedog, does your warning include food-safe silicone sealant, as suggested by torquemaniac? I googled as you suggested, but honestly it seems more like they're concerned with people huffing, swallowing, moisturizing or eye-lubricating with the wet, uncured silicone gel.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:42 PM on December 8, 2009


Maybe you don't need to coat the wire handle with anything at all. The plastic sits in the middle but the metal is exposed along the sides and you touch the metal directly there, yes? I don't see how the plastic center would keep the wire cool - I think it just gives the handle a more comfortable shape to grasp.

Before you do anything drastic, use the cover on one of your smaller pans and touch the wire carefully at various points along the handle. You might find that the place you normally put your hand stays pretty cool. (I have a bunch of pots with long metal handles and the ends, where I grab them, stay cool without any insulation.)
posted by Quietgal at 5:00 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are aquariums put together with silicone and tropical fish, which will be instantly poisoned if you look at them wrong (or so they say) seem to do alright in them. There is that issue of grades of material, but frankly I think your real issue is going to be it coming apart and chunks of silicone ending up in your food rather than any real health issues.

Is there a way you could adapt a wooden handle to it? That would probably be more durable and if you really scorched it the worst that would happen is it would smell like you'd been cooking on a grill.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:05 PM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


you guys rock. Christmas is saved!
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2009


Let me offer a simpler, about the same expense solution. Go to the hardware store and get about six feet of very heavy gauge aluminum or steel wire (something about the thickness of a chopstick). Bend it into a star shape, not the kind you draw with a pencil, but the kind you would get from tracing a deputy sheriff's badge. Make it large enough to hang over the edge of your fourteen inch pan and small enough that the inside part holds up the screen. Place star on pan; screen on star. Voila! (If a star is too daunting, you could make a square about twelve inches on a side. That would work also.)
posted by Old Geezer at 5:13 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about just getting a splatter screen that's big enough?
posted by Rhomboid at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2009


well, that's pretty damn expensive - I was working on the "leftover stuff from around the garage" plan - but it's certainly something to aspire to.

Old Geezer, I like your coat hanger idea too.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:23 PM on December 8, 2009


pop the plastic out and use a pot holder to grab the handle when you need to. I paid a redic amount ($2.95) for a pair of specially designed handle holders that slip over the handle of pots and things. I had to fill up an amazon cart to get to $25 and free shipping ...

Do a search on "handle mitt" at Amazon. They have some of cloth and silicone (though the ones I got are now selling for $15!). I've also seen them at Target if you ever get out that way.
posted by tilde at 5:13 AM on December 9, 2009


How about getting a second screen and placing them over lapped on the fry pan, in order to cover the entire area?
posted by tman99 at 6:18 AM on December 9, 2009


There is also this Plasti-Grip coating that was originally meant for use on tool handles. However, I don't know (1) it toxicity or (2) whether it can withstand high heat.
posted by rtimmel at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2009


yeah, my original idea was based on using plasti-dip, but I thought silicone gasket sealant would be more heat tolerant. I wanted to avoid the whole pot-holder route because they're awkward. but as Quietgal suggests, I might get away with just using the plain wire handle, and maybe it won't heat up that much.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:52 AM on December 10, 2009


The handle mitt is really tiny. Just the size to slip over the handle.
posted by tilde at 10:11 AM on December 10, 2009


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