Can this cookie sheet be saved?
April 13, 2010 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Can this cookie sheet be saved?

My mom (I love her) tonight cooked, in my kitchen, a spaghetti squash. She cooked it on my (formerly) shiny and new cookie sheet, and she cooked it by spraying the pan with a non-stick spray, then simply laying the two halves of the squash on the pan, and baking it at 400 degrees for about an hour.

We ate it with tomato sauce and it was delicious.

When dinner was over, I went to wash the pan, and found this:
image 1 - image 2.

Everywhere you see the brown gunk it feels sticky to the touch. So far I've tried running it through the dishwasher (which did nothing) and scrubbing it for about 20 minutes with a blue scrubby sponge + Dawn dishwashing liquid, which tired me out but left the pan in basically the same condition it started in. (The photos are taken after the scrubbing.)

Any ideas how to get this clean? Its disgusting and sticky as is and could not be used for cooking anything in its current state - but its almost new and it pains me to think of throwing it out over this.

Contents of the cooking spray: organic soybean oil, organic grain alcohol, soy lecithin, propellant.
posted by anastasiav to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will make it look new. It will take effort, but if you want to keep it, this will do the trick.
posted by littleflowers at 8:00 PM on April 13, 2010

Doesn't this just happen to cookie sheets?
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:00 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

SOS pads?
posted by Dr. Send at 8:00 PM on April 13, 2010

Bon Ami is like magic for this kind of thing.
posted by mmf at 8:00 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

My mother's old aluminum(?) cookie sheets lasted for years and years without any problems; my girlfriends nonstick-coated cookie sheets used to be gray, but are now covered in brown, kind of sticky stuff but we continue to use them.

I'd love to hear from people more informed on how to 1) prevent this, or 2) what kinds of pans don't get like this!
posted by InsanePenguin at 8:02 PM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. Magic Eraser, SOS, Bon Ami -- aren't all those too abrasive to use on this (formerly) smooth and shiny sheet? Won't I end up with a scratched and dull sheet to whose surface everything in the world wants to cling?
posted by anastasiav at 8:02 PM on April 13, 2010

Best answer: This is what all my cookie sheets look like. If your question is purely functional then they are fine. If it's aesthetic, you can try the remedies people suggest.
posted by jessamyn at 8:02 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck cleaning baked-on grease residue with [lots of] Comet powder + a little water + scrubbing. You might also try Easy Off or a the equivalent oven cleaner. Even if they don't get all the discoloration off, they'll probably cut the gunkiness down enough to make the pan usable again. It wasn't a nonstick pan, was it?
posted by Bardolph at 8:03 PM on April 13, 2010

Barkeeper's Friend is great. I have cleaned up some seriously baked on gunk with that stuff. It's really cheap too.

I have heard that it's the propellant in the spray-on oil that gets everything so sticky and ruined, though. It doesn't seem to happen if you just wipe on some oil with a paper towel.
posted by artychoke at 8:04 PM on April 13, 2010

I use Magic Erasers on my bakeware. It's not at all abrasive. I promise it won't scratch it. But if you're wary, try it on the back part. SOS will mess it up beyond use. No experience with Bon Ami.
posted by littleflowers at 8:04 PM on April 13, 2010

I don't know if I'm upset or happy that I'm not the only person with this problem.
posted by InsanePenguin at 8:05 PM on April 13, 2010

It looks like it is aluminum? (not teflon coated?) Scotch Brite heavy duty scrubby pads remove pretty much everything, and I find them to be a little less nasty than brillo/SOS pads (Steel wool). I use them on my aluminum pans all the time after gross cooking incidents. Also, my mom raves about the Dawn Power Dissolver, although I have never used it myself.

And yes, over time you will get a little brown on the edges that won't scrub off, but it shouldn't be sticky.
posted by sararah at 8:05 PM on April 13, 2010

Oven cleaner might work.
posted by procrastination at 8:05 PM on April 13, 2010

I don't know about this Magic Eraser kablooey, but I can assure you that Bon Ami is most definitely not too abrasive for a cookie sheet. I use it frequently even for Teflon surfaces - it doesn't hurt these. (That's why it says right on the tin - non-abrasive cleaner.)

Seriously, Bon Ami is going to be what you want. It's awesome stuff.
posted by koeselitz at 8:06 PM on April 13, 2010

Response by poster: If your question is purely functional then they are fine.

Really? I mean, its very sticky to the touch - so sticky a paper towel will stick to it and have to be peeled off with a fingernail. If it was just aesthetic I wouldn't be as concerned, but it seems like whatever is on there is going to stick to the next thing I cook.....
posted by anastasiav at 8:06 PM on April 13, 2010

Saw your reply after my post: Scotch brite heavy duty scrubby pads may leave some scratches, so I only use them on aluminum pans, but it doesn't really affect the quality of the cooking surface. I'd try Mr. Clean erasers first, and then switch to the Scotch Brite pads if that doesn't do the trick.
posted by sararah at 8:08 PM on April 13, 2010

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will make it look new

Is it safe to use those on something you're going to eat off of?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:09 PM on April 13, 2010

Barkeeper's Friend. And if you want to avoid this happening in the future, or if for some reason your fears of creating more stick-promoting surface by using BKF or Bon Ami are realized (which I doubt they will be), then buy some Silpats and use them for savory foods henceforth. (They hold odors, so my philosophy is to use Silpats for savories and parchment paper for sweets).
posted by HotToddy at 8:09 PM on April 13, 2010

Bon Ami or Barkeeper's Friend. Even if the sheet is Teflon, a light scouring of the surface will be fine. That stuff is amazing.

Or how about Goo Gone?
posted by barnone at 8:12 PM on April 13, 2010

I had heard of Coca-Cola glazed hams many times before I made one, but the most amazing thing about making one was that it somehow made my roasting pan that looked very much like your cookie sheets spotless. I was afraid this new found knowledge would make it impossible for me to drink Coke again, but luckily I've been spared that fate.
posted by advicepig at 8:15 PM on April 13, 2010

ThePinkSuperhero - Mr Clean Erasers (at least the original variety) are essentially a really, really fine grain sandpaper, no chemicals (although there are some that contain Febreeze or something). As long as you thoroughly rinse off the surface with more soap and water after the erasing, I think the residue from the Eraser will be minimal.
posted by sararah at 8:17 PM on April 13, 2010

Best answer: I mean, its very sticky to the touch

depends on your sensibilities I guess. I scrub mine down with soap and a green scrubbit and super hot water and they're not too sticky [a little sticky but not much] and then they're fine, My understanding is there's the glop and then there's the stain the glop leaves. You can pretty well degloppify a baking pan without wrecking it, but you can't really get the stain out, has been my experience.
posted by jessamyn at 8:17 PM on April 13, 2010

Bardolph: “Comet powder”

Just a note: Comet will damage some surfaces, particularly Teflon. That's why Bon Ami (or Barkeeper's Friend, which is about the same stuff, although it smells a little better) is a good alternative; it does about the same thing, but without hurting the surface.
posted by koeselitz at 8:20 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you can't get it off, another alternative is to get it more on. Put the cookie sheets back in the oven for awhile, and you can bake away the tackiness of the residue. It'll still be there and you'll see it, but nearly every cookie sheet I've ever owned has ended up looking like that, and it hasn't killed anyone yet.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:40 PM on April 13, 2010

You could always use a piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet or a silicone baking mat
posted by mmascolino at 8:43 PM on April 13, 2010

Best answer: This is just how baking pans get, once they have been used. You'll find that over time the build-up will just burn on and stuff won't stick to it any more than it sticks to the the other parts of the pan ... :-)
You just have to recognize that pans don't last very long without getting stuff burned on - you'll probably need to scour some parts with steel wool to keep them usable. I keep a separate pan for stuff likely to burn and stuff needing non-stick. But the non-stick pan still gets gunged up over time (and relegated to the "messy" pan).
HotToddy is right - Silpat baking sheets are priceless when you really need non-stick (such as cooking cookies). You can use these to re-surface your old baking pans without worrying about the burned-on bits.
posted by Susurration at 8:44 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

2nding Susurration. That stuff happens to everything, and on balance, it's more of a pain to scrape off than it is a danger to your diet. If you can scrub it off w/ soap and water, good; if you can't, good.
posted by Gilbert at 9:06 PM on April 13, 2010

Seconding jessamyn. Your sheet should be just fine as is.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:31 PM on April 13, 2010

It's the oil, and it's baked on. Soak overnight with some Dawn, which has degreasers in it. I use steel scrubbies for projects like this, along with some dishwasher powder, which is incredibly strong detergent. Soak it in some of that if the Dawn doesn't work. If you scratch the aluminum, you can re-smooth it with steel wool, like sOS pads. That coke method sounds interesting.
posted by theora55 at 10:01 PM on April 13, 2010

Make a bicarb paste with lots of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and a little water, and cover the baking sheets with it. Leave overnight. Scrub.
posted by kjs4 at 10:25 PM on April 13, 2010

Leave them out in the garden for a few months, and let slugs and snails and sunshine work their magic.
posted by flabdablet at 10:34 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I did not know that you Americans call these things pans. I kept looking back at the picture to see whether I'd read something wrongly, looking for a handle. I learn a new thing every day.
posted by jpcooper at 12:31 AM on April 14, 2010

We line them with aluminum foil. That way we rarely even have to wash them.
posted by codswallop at 1:10 AM on April 14, 2010

Response by poster: We line them with aluminum foil. That way we rarely even have to wash them.

Normally that's what I would have done too, which is probably why I'm so shocked at the appearance of this pan. I will pick up a magic eraser and some bon ami today and then report back.
posted by anastasiav at 4:01 AM on April 14, 2010

I end up using oven cleaner to get rid of the baked on goop. I spray it, leave it overnight and it cleans up easily.
posted by govtdrone at 4:18 AM on April 14, 2010

I did not know that you Americans call these things pans.

Now that you mention it, that usage does sound a bit, er, off to my Michigan/Ontario-trained-ears. Although I didn't blink at it when I skimmed everything above your comment.

I guess to me a cookie sheet or baking tray is a pan in the sense that a refrigerator's a kitchen appliance: undeniably so, but a bit of an outlier when compared to other members of its category (most pans go on the stovetop, are circular and have handles; most kitchen appliances are small, often handheld, do not require a dedicated power source....)

Maybe I'm overthinking this. Strike that, I'm definitely overthinking this.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:38 AM on April 14, 2010

Another way to avoid this problem is to use a scorchless spray like everbake. No goop!
posted by philokalia at 4:45 AM on April 14, 2010

She's correct to call this a pan, because it has a lip around all 4 sides. Usually, this is referred to as a Jelly Roll pan (although I've never actually witnessed one being used to make jelly rolls)
posted by schmod at 7:24 AM on April 14, 2010

A note on Magic eraser from the safety guys at NIH - it's generally safe, but make sure to rinse thoroughly and don't let it come into contact with bleach.

Uncoated pans will look like that after just a few greasy recipes; the only preventative is parchment paper. These days it can be found cheaply at dollar stores. The only cure is regular scrubbing, but that doesn't have to be a pain.

I've always had success with a trick they use at the Ichi Ban restaurants: While the pan is still hot, grab an ice cube with a dish cloth and use its flat top to scour the pan. (Big pans may need a few cubes.) Something about the ice constantly melting and reforming a sharp edge as it rubs on the pan creates a very effective scraping tool. That and baking soda paste to clean the edges make for a worry-free cleanup.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:57 AM on April 14, 2010

Best answer: Jessamyn has it right: this is what happens to cookie sheets/baking trays. If you're just worried about stuff sticking, use parchment paper or tinfoil going forward. If you want it to look cleaner, nthing Bar Keeper's Friend and/or Dawn Power Dissolver.
posted by trip and a half at 8:21 AM on April 14, 2010

Scrape off what you can, then pour a little water and a fair amount of dishwasher detergent powder on it (like maybe half a load's worth) and let it soak overnight. Then give it a good scrub the next day.
posted by beandip at 10:20 AM on April 14, 2010

Nthing Bar Keeper's Friend or Bon Ami. I first started using Bon Ami at the recommendation of the care guide for my Cuisinart pan, and it works well--in conjunction with a bit of elbow grease--and doesn't cause scratches. You can even use BKF/Bon Ami on stainless steel appliances to get those water stains and spots off!
posted by choochoo at 10:34 AM on April 14, 2010

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