Is it safe to eat (off of) this?
July 17, 2014 4:03 PM   Subscribe

This silicone spatula has post-mold spots on it, after cleaning. What are they?

After leaving the dregs of a broccoli soup in its covered pot for the better part of a week, I had a moldy mess to clean up. The stainless steel pot cleaned up fine, but the spatula now has two dark spots on it. It looks similar to what would happen if someone held a match under something for just a little while and left some soot on it. I've scrubbed it a few times, and its not coming off. What is this dark mold-remnant, and is it safe to use anymore? It's right on the food-scooping part, so I'm extra curious.
posted by Phredward to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you ought to be concerned. It could just be a stain from the mold. I'd bleach it, and probably use it only to cook food that'll be heated above 165F.
posted by magdalemon at 4:06 PM on July 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does it smell?

That's a professional question I am curious about.

I'm sure plastic gets mold stained and should DEFINITELY be thrown away on principle. I would hope silicone would be less porous and would resist mold, but, *oh well.*

NO. Do Not Bleach.

Bleach breaks down everything, you'll only ruin the spatula and guarantee it will pick up and give off more than is wise for food consumption with further use.

Chuck it. Buy a new one. Don't look back.
posted by jbenben at 5:11 PM on July 17, 2014

Acrylic paintings get mold. When this happens in acrylic paintings, the resin makes a hexagonal link that leaves open spaces. When acrylic paintings are exposed to mold spores, the spores colonize the paint film structure and build themselves outward. I would say that your spatula had a similar condition. Personally, I would replace the spatula.
posted by effluvia at 5:30 PM on July 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

The risk of it being something terrible outweighs the cost of a new spatula. Since it says that it won't stain, I would assume that it is mold. Buy a new one.
posted by myselfasme at 8:01 PM on July 17, 2014

Some bacteria and mold can form tenacious biofilms if left to grow. On some materials, though I wouldn't expect silicone to be one, they can also etch the surface, which makes it a lot harder to scrub them off. I would just throw it away.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:10 PM on July 17, 2014

Dude? A week? You messed up. I use silicone spatulas with bamboo handles, about $5 at my grocery store. I don't leave them to soak more than a day, let alone a week. Throw that sucker out. Really? That's just gross.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:20 PM on July 17, 2014

Bleach breaks down everything ...

Well, no, not everything. For instance, it doesn't break down plastic bleach bottles.

I wouldn't worry about it, myself. But if I were worried and had bleach in the house, I'd soak it in bleach, probably standing up in a glass, so only the silicone was in the bleach.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:54 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

jbenben: NO. Do Not Bleach.

Bleach breaks down everything, you'll only ruin the spatula and guarantee it will pick up and give off more than is wise for food consumption with further use.

This is... a bizarre piece of superstition. Bleach is not a universal reactant; in particular, it is not reactive with silicone; even if it were, almost by definition any byproducts would tend to be less reactive than the original chemicals (for instance, table salt is produced by many of its interactions with reactive materials).
posted by IAmBroom at 12:37 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

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