How do I clean melted shrinky dinks off my toaster oven?
December 7, 2014 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Shrinky Dinks were placed in our toaster oven without being on a tray, and the plastic melted onto the oven's heating element. How do I get the toaster oven clean?

Specifically, it's on the metal bar atop the heating coil, so it's safe but it stinks. (A little bit of the shrinky dink pattern is visible on the metal, which would be cute if it weren't smelling up the joint.) We have 20 people coming over for brunch in a few hours. Any help would be welcome, Google is failing me on how to scrub melted plastic off of the inside of a toaster oven.

If it matters, it's an old Black & Decker, and an off-brand Shrinky Dink package.
posted by werty to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
I suspect that the solution is the use of good old time and elbow grease. Put ice on it to make it hard/brittle if possible, use a razor blade or utility type knife to scrape off all that you can and then steel wool to remove the rest.

Or, buy a new toaster oven....
posted by HuronBob at 5:44 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would make a quick run to Target or a large drugstore and buy a new toaster oven. It sounds like a fire risk.
posted by Kangaroo at 5:45 AM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

This qualifies for pre-party emergency favor asking. Ask your closest brunch guest friend (especially one who also has one or more small ones around and automatically gets things like shrinky dink contingencies) to come a little early and bring their toaster oven. If you're in a public transit place, pay for their cab.
posted by third rail at 5:48 AM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is now an ex-toaster oven. Sorry!
posted by DarlingBri at 6:14 AM on December 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

Assuming you can manage the dissassembly a combination of hot and cold should do the trick. Freeze it and scrape/ sand off as much as you can. Heat it and try and wipe off as much as you can (without burning yourself). Repeat until done. You could also try oven cleaner on it in your regular oven (on a day when you don't have guests coming because double stink)

There is no need to throw it out unless your time is worth more than a new toaster oven would cost.
posted by srboisvert at 6:21 AM on December 7, 2014

This is now an ex-toaster oven. Sorry!

Yeah...this, most likely, I'm afraid. Toaster ovens are relatively cheap, especially at this time of the year (the perfect stocking stuffer!) Retire the old one (permanent ShrinkyDink duty?) and gift yourself with a new one.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:33 AM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

If it were me, assuming it is dry outside, I would plug it in outside and attempt to burn it off. Just keep an eye on it in case of a bigger than wanted burn.
posted by 724A at 7:20 AM on December 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

Warm up the oven use a bamboo skewer to lift off softened plastic ,
turn up the heat and let the residue burn off , after it cools use a damp sponge baking soda with elbow grease to remove the visible soot .
posted by hortense at 7:21 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Now is not the time to be cleaning that thing, you have other things to do! Buy or borrow another, and if you can get the stuff off, you'll have two toaster ovens. (Although personally, I wouldn't ever use it, even if it got to be 90% clean, for fear of plastic particles weaving their way into my toast. Maybe for other projects, but not food :/)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:40 AM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding the cotton dress sock. Plastics migrate into food.
posted by effluvia at 8:34 AM on December 7, 2014

Probably too late now, but I would get a long extension cord - take the oven outside (away from the house if you really think it's a fire hazard) and turn it on high. It will smoke until clean, or until the plastic falls from the element.
posted by NoDef at 11:57 AM on December 7, 2014

Response by poster: Update: after failing to figure out how to burn off the plastic outside (I live in an apartment building) I now have a new toaster oven. Bonus fun fact: Black & Decker still makes the exact same model I bought ~10 years ago.
posted by werty at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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