Melty Styrofoam, Go Away
January 18, 2011 9:47 PM   Subscribe

How can I remove melted styrofoam from an electric burner?

I accidentally placed a styrofoam food container onto a still-warm electric burner. There is now a thin layer of hard plastic bumps on part of the burner. It's possible to scrape off most of the melted styrofoam. How can I remove all of it? Should I be worried about toxic fumes?
posted by asphericalcow to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
(I am not a chemist) Personally, I would use something that won't damage the burner to scrape off all I could, then I would turn the burner on and burn the rest off.. (windows open, and making sure that there wasn't a fire)....
posted by HuronBob at 9:56 PM on January 18, 2011

Is the burner for your stove? Because those are cheap and easy to replace. I mean "under thirty bucks" cheap, in many cases.
posted by KathrynT at 9:59 PM on January 18, 2011

I'd take a propane torch and wave it back and forth across the area until it's burnt off. Have lots of ventilation like was mentioned before. I wouldn't get the burner too hot though, meaning keep the torch moving. Then take an old tooth brush brush and brush the residue off, after it cools of course.
posted by Taurid at 10:07 PM on January 18, 2011

Acetone. Make sure the burner is cool, and then get some nail polish remover and a paper towel or something to wipe it off with.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:07 PM on January 18, 2011

Generally you can yank and pull those things out entirely. Then you have a loopy coil just ready for some scrubbing! You can even take it outside and blast it with the torch and not worry as much about the fumes. I'd probably start off with something for scraping and some brillo pads though, maybe try the acetone first.
posted by that girl at 10:42 PM on January 18, 2011

Generally you can yank and pull those things out entirely. Then you have a loopy coil just ready for some scrubbing!

This is exactly what I was going to say.

Moreover, you can pull them out and replace them just as easily. Bonus: They'll work better than the ones you have now.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:13 PM on January 18, 2011

I would try a little bit of kerosene on a rag...
posted by Glendale at 6:40 AM on January 19, 2011

DISCLAIMER: I work for a major appliance manufacturer. Here's what we tell the general public for this sort of question.


Turn the range vent hood on.

Turn the surface unit on to the lowest temperature and let it warm up. Be careful not to warm too much or it may burn the utensil used to scrap off the melted plastic/foil/styrofoam/etc. .

When the plastic/foil/styrofoam/etc. softens, gently scrape as much off as possible using a wooden spoon or spatula. DO NOT USE A METAL SPOON OR SPATULA.

Turn the unit on high and allow the rest of the plastic/foil/styrofoam/etc. to burn off.


If any plastic melts/hardens onto the glass it usually can not be removed because it bonds to the glass. The cooktop glass will have to be replaced.

IF the plastic has not already hardened, you may try gently removing it as per below (no promises here):

Allow the cooktop to cool.

Spread a few drops of Cerama Bryte® [or other glass cooktop cleaning creme] over the entire burned-on area.

Hold a razor scraper at approximately a 45º angle against the ceramic glass surface and scrape soil. It will be necessary to apply pressure to the razor scraper in order to remove the residue.

Keep small amount of cream on the residue as you scrape.

After scraping with razor scraper, use the scrub sponge to remove any remaining residue.
For additional protection, after all residue has been removed, polish the entire surface with the Cerama Bryte® and a paper towel.

If this is unsuccessful, the cooktop glass will have to be replaced.

Good luck!
posted by magstheaxe at 8:30 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

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