How to Clean a Silicone Baking Mat

Silicone baking mats are a handy kitchen tool that can be used in place of parchment paper or greasing pans. They provide a non-stick surface for baking cookies, rolls, breads, and more. With proper care, a silicone mat can last for years. However, they do require occasional cleaning to keep them in good condition. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean a silicone baking mat.

Why Clean a Silicone Baking Mat

There are a few key reasons to clean your silicone baking mat on a regular basis:

  • Remove baked-on food residue: Like any cooking surface, silicone mats can accumulate burnt-on grease, oil, and food particles over time. Regular cleaning keeps the mat’s surface smooth and non-stick.
  • Prevent staining: Ingredients like turmeric, berries, tomatoes, and oil can stain and discolor the mat if left on for too long. Cleaning after each use prevents permanent staining.
  • Eliminate odors: Silicone naturally repels odors. However, lingering food smells can build up in the small pores of the mat. A good cleaning restores the mat’s neutral odor.
  • Extend its lifespan: Frequent cleaning and proper care keep a silicone mat in good condition for many years of baking. A well-cared for mat will last longer than one that rarely gets washed.

Supplies Needed

Cleaning a silicone baking mat is a simple process. You likely already have most, if not all, of the supplies needed at home:

  • Dish soap: Use a small amount of mild dish soap to break up oil and grease. Dishwashing liquid works better than bar soap for cleaning silicone.
  • Washcloth: A soft washcloth, sponge, or brush is ideal for scrubbing the mat’s textured surface.
  • Baking soda: Works as a gentle abrasive to lift stubborn baked-on stains without damaging the silicone.
  • Vinegar: Helps remove odors and has disinfectant properties. White vinegar works best.
  • Toothbrush: For tackling stuck-on bits of food in crevices or patterns. The bristles allow for focused cleaning.
  • Drying rack: Let the mat air dry completely before rolling or storing to prevent mildew growth.

Optional extras that may help with cleaning silicone:

  • Denture cleaner: Cleans and sanitizes without being too abrasive. Soak mat in a denture cleaning solution.
  • Bleach cleaner: Diluted non-chlorine bleach cleaner can sanitize and remove stains.
  • Old toothbrush: Dedicate an old toothbrush for mat cleaning. Keeps bristles from getting ruined.

Cleaning Steps

Follow these steps to thoroughly clean your silicone baking mat:

1. Remove Excess Food Debris

After baking, allow the mat to cool completely. Use a dry paper towel to wipe away any large crumbs or food debris. Take care to avoid spreading grease stains.

2. Wash With Dish Soap

Add a small squirt of dish soap to a bowl of warm water. Submerge the mat and wash it gently but thoroughly with a soft washcloth or sponge. The textured surface can trap food particles so be diligent.

Rinse well with clean water to remove all the soap.

3. Spot Treat Stubborn Stains

Create a paste by mixing 2 tablespoons baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable consistency. Using an old toothbrush or your finger, gently scrub the paste onto any remaining food stains or discolored spots.

Let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing. The baking soda will lift stains without damaging the silicone.

For tough grease spots, spray with undiluted white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes prior to scrubbing.

4. Sanitize

For an occasional deep clean and sanitization, soak the mat in a solution of 2 cups warm water and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar for 10-15 minutes.

Rinse thoroughly. The vinegar will eliminate odors and disinfect the mat.

Diluted non-chlorine bleach cleaner can also be used to sanitize, following package directions. Rinse well after soaking.

5. Air Dry

Stand the mat on its side in a drying rack or lay flat on a towel. Allow to air dry completely before storing or using.

Do not fold or roll up the mat until fully dry, as moisture trapped inside can lead to mildew growth.

6. Store Properly

Once the silicone mat is clean and dry, store it flat or rolled up with the silicone side facing outwards. Avoid long-term creasing or folding.

Store in a dry spot away from heat and light to prevent damage over time. If hung on a wall rack, make sure air can circulate around both sides.

Cleaning Tips

  • Avoid scrubbing too aggressively during cleaning as this can damage the silicone. Be gentle when using abrasives like baking soda or bleach.
  • Do not wring or twist the mat to dry. This can cause creases and cracks to form. Roll up or lay flat while drying.
  • For best results, hand wash silicone mats. The high heat of a dishwasher can cause the silicone to deteriorate over time.
  • Check manufacturer’s care instructions – some mats may have specific cleaning methods.
  • Replace baking mats that become excessively stained or worn. Harsh scrubbing ruins the non-stick surface.
  • Avoid setting mats on hot stovetop burners, even if rated for high heat. This speeds up breakdown of the material.
  • To prevent stains, avoid using brightly pigmented wet ingredients like turmeric, berries, and tomatoes directly on the mat. Line with parchment first.
  • Oil spills can be difficult to remove fully. For best results, clean up oil immediately before drying.

Can You Put Silicone Baking Mats in the Dishwasher?

Silicone baking mats are sometimes advertised as dishwasher safe. However, high heat and harsh detergents can break down silicone over time, damaging the mat.

It is recommended to hand wash silicone mats to extend their lifespan. Use low water temperatures and mild detergent. Let the mat air dry completely before storing.

If choosing to run silicone mats through the dishwasher, take these precautions:

  • Use the lowest temperature setting. High heat deteriorates silicone.
  • Avoid detergent pods which have higher alkalinity. Use a mild, liquid detergent.
  • Place mats on the top rack only. The bottom rack’s high heat damages silicone.
  • Allow mats to completely air dry before rolling up or storing. Trapped moisture breeds mildew.
  • Replace mats at the first sign of damage like cracking, peeling, or loss of stickiness.
  • Expect the mat to wear out faster than with hand washing. Plan to replace dishwasher-cleaned mats sooner.

With care, silicone baking mats can last for years. Handwashing and air drying is best, but occasional dishwasher cleaning won’t ruin them right away. Monitor wear and tear closely if machine washing.

Silicone Baking Mat Alternatives

While silicone baking mats are convenient and reusable, there are some alternative non-stick baking surfaces to consider:

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is an old standby for baking. It provides a disposable non-stick surface that prevents food from sticking. Parchment paper works for most baking and reaches high temperatures. However, it is a single use option that creates waste over time.

Reusable Liners

Some companies make reusable baking liners from materials like Teflon, Mylar, and fiberglass mesh. These provide a non-stick surface that can be washed and reused like silicone mats. However, durability varies by brand and material.

Metal Baking Sheets

Unpainted aluminum and stainless steel baking sheets allow food to brown while releasing easily. With added oil or non-stick spray, metal pans provide a reusable non-stick surface. However, food is more likely to stick without silicone’s premium release properties.

Glass Bakeware

Glass baking dishes like Pyrex can often be used without any liner. Food releases easily if the glass is well-seasoned. However, batter-based baked goods may stick without a liner.

Each option has pros and cons compared to silicone mats. Consider cleanup, cost savings, and what bakes best on different materials when deciding what meets your baking needs.

How to Clean a Silicone Baking Mat: FAQs

Still have some questions about cleaning silicone baking mats? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can I put my silicone baking mat in the oven?

Yes, silicone mats are designed for oven use up to about 450°F – 500°F. Avoid direct contact with oven heating elements which get hotter than the rated temp.

Should silicone mats be washed before first use?

It’s recommended to give new silicone mats a wash before the first use to remove any residue from manufacturing and packaging. Use mild dish soap and warm water.

How do you clean burn stains off a silicone baking mat?

For stubborn baked-on stains, make a paste from baking soda and water. Gently scrub onto stained areas and let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda lifts burns without damaging silicone.

What removes grease stains from silicone baking mats?

Dish soap helps break up grease while gentle scrubbing lifts the stain. For tough grease, spray with undiluted white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing. The vinegar cuts through stubborn grease.

How do you sanitize a silicone baking mat?

Sanitize mats by soaking in a solution of 2 cups warm water and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar for 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Vinegar disinfects the mat.

How do I get rid of odors on my silicone baking mat?

Soak mats in warm water mixed with 1/4 cup white vinegar to eliminate odors. Vinegar removes stubborn food smells that get trapped in the silicone pores.

Can I use rubbing alcohol to clean a silicone baking mat?

It’s not recommended. While alcohol can sanitize, it can also break down silicone over repeated use. Vinegar or bleach cleaners work well for disinfecting and are gentler on silicone.

How do I dry a silicone baking mat quickly?

Lay mats flat or stand on a drying rack. Use a fan directed at the mat to speed drying. Roll up for storage only when the mat is completely dry. Storing wet can cause mildew.

How do you soften a silicone baking mat?

Mix together equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray mat and let sit for 5 minutes. The vinegar treatment keeps silicone soft and flexible. Rinse before use.


Silicone baking mats are designed to provide years of use with proper care. Regular cleaning keeps them in good condition and prevents permanent staining or damage.

Be sure to fully wash mats after each use with mild dish soap and warm water. Spot treat stubborn spots with baking soda or vinegar. Occasionally sanitize mats to disinfect and remove odors.

Always allow silicone mats to completely air dry before storage to prevent mildew growth. With routine cleaning and proper storage, silicone baking mats can be a long-lasting and eco-friendly baking option.