Whether you’re sticking them in the freezer for ice cubes or filling them with batter for cupcakes, silicone trays can come in serious handy. Unfortunately, they also tend to absorb the aroma of whatever they’ve contained. Even worse, using them to make ice can cause the trays to take on all the other smells in your freezer — which can lead to some funky-tasting ice. If you’re struggling to get rid of the leftover smells on any of your silicone trays, you’ll be happy to know there’s a simple solution.
The experts at Cook’s Illustrated tested a theory: Bake the trays at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, without anything in them, for an hour. As anyone who’s used these often fun-shaped trays to whip up a batch of cupcakes or other delicious treats knows, the silicone of these flexible trays can withstand a heat as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so there’s no need to worry about them melting away. Cook's Illustrated really put the idea to the test by coating their trays with some of the most pungent items folks might like to freeze in their trays for later use: “We filled silicone ice trays with a paste of pureed onions, shallots, garlic, anchovies, and olive oil and refrigerated them overnight.” That mixture might not sound too appetizing, but it would certainly help figure out if this method really works — which it did! In fact, they reported that it worked “beautifully, eliminating all odors.”
Before you pop your trays into the oven, be sure yours are actually oven-safe silicone and not rubber. The smell of hot rubber boiling will fill your house with a much more offending odor than the one you were trying to get rid of in the first place. Other cleaning techniques like baking soda and vinegar can remove some of the scents sticking to your silicone trays, but will probably not completely get rid of them as well as a simple bake in the oven.
Enjoy your smell-free silicone!