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How to Remove Aluminum from Bottom of Oven

I lined the bottom of my oven with aluminum foil with the intention of catching drips etc.. to make clean-up easier. I found out afterwards that this is something that should not be done since the aluminum will "melt" and fuse on to the surface of the bottom of the oven. AND this is what happened. Does anyone know an effective, safe way of removing the aluminum without also ruining the surface of the oven?

I can't replace the bottom surface and I have already called the manufacturers of the range and aluminum foil and no one can provide an answer. Apparantly, this is a known issue.

Thanks for reading.

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  1. Is it interfering with the use of the oven? If not you could just leave it.

    1. Lining the bottom of an oven with aluminum foil or a foil liner is quite common and acceptable provided that the electric heating element is ABOVE the oven bottom, not below and that the liner is between the element and the bottom. This of course is not possible with a gas oven.

      With that said, you could try scraping the foil off with a putty knife, but as paulj stated, if it is not interfering with the operation of the oven, leave it. Unsightly, but better than scratching up the porcelain finish of the oven. The oven bottom should be removable and you could order another and be back to pristine in a matter of a few days. Probably not what you wanted to hear. If you are thinking of ordering a new bottom pan, you might get a friend to try heating the stuck on aluminum with a portable propane torch to soften the aluminum and maybe it can be scraped off with little to no damage to the underlying oven bottom thus saving you some money. And if it doesn't work you can go ahead with buying a new bottom. Or just leave everything as is.

      1. I have lined the bottom of my oven with heavy-duty foil for years, and never had this problem. How weird.

        1 Reply
        1. re: FitMom4Life

          Some modern electric ovens (including mine) have various heating elements which come on depending on the oven function selected. One of these is located directly under the enameled oven floor and my user manual is very clear that nothing should be placed on the oven floor when using a setting which turns this element on, otherwise damage may result. However, it does not warn specifically against using a foil floor liner. My guess is that this is the misfortune suffered by Entore, to which I doubt there's a simple solution.

          Ovens with side elements are fine with liners.

        2. Most lye (Sodium Hydroxide) based oven cleaners will dissolve the Aluminum foil. This can be a fairly violent reaction depending upon the temperature and concentration of the lye, so be sure to wear your PPE.

          7 Replies
          1. re: NVJims

            Really? An alkali will dissolve aluminum? That doesn't sound likely to me - although I admit I've never tried it. I'd think you'd need an acid (or perhaps vinegar) and I wouldn't even think of recommending one without knowing more about the composition of the affected area.

            1. re: kagemusha49

              2 Al (s) + 2 NaOH (aq) + 2 H2O = 2 NaAlO2 (aq) + 3 H2 (g).

              BTW this reaction gives off a lot of hydrogen gas--ventilation and PPE required.

              1. re: NVJims

                Yeah aluminum can swing and act nonmetallic in some reactions - what is that sodium aluminate. Didn't realise it would react that easily.

                1. re: kagemusha49

                  It not only reacts easily, it is a violent exothermic reaction totally dissolving the aluminum. Do not heat the oven while you are using this method, and, oh yes, it will remove the grease in the process. Just be sure to wear your PPE.

                2. re: NVJims

                  Wow NVjims, are you a chemistry prof.? I did read that sodium hydroxide would work, but I am hesitant to try it (too unsure about the gas that would be given off). I also heard that sodium bicarbonate solution heated up to 150C would slowly "etch" away the aluminum. Do you or anyone else know about this reaction? And if yes, then how can I heat the sodium bicarbonate solution to 150C and have this solution in direct contact with the affected area for a period of time (this is supposed to be a very slow reaction), and is this a safe reaction?

                  For anyone that is reading this, aluminum will melt onto the surface of the bottom of some ovens where the heating elements are "hidden" underneath the surface. When the oven is used above certain temperature, the bottom surface gets above the melting point of aluminum, the aluminum melts. I should have been more careful in reading through the user's manual. :) BTW, nothing should be placed directly on the bottom surface of these types of ovens while in use.

                  1. re: NVJims

                    Re: your suggestion to remove aluminum foil from an oven: Can you tell me what I should ask for at Lowes or Home Depot? Or will I have to order these from a chemical supply co & can you recommend one on line?- kimpadula@gmail.com

                    1. re: Kimistry

                      I haven't been checking this thread... Ask for Lye or Sodium Hydroxide. Oven cleaners or drain cleaners that have Sodium Hydroxide as the first listed chemical will work. They will have the skull and crossbones symbol and will carry the same PPE warning that I have been saying.

              2. I use aluminum foil as an oven liner, both regular and heavy duty foil, and disposable foil pans designed (made large and flat) for oven liners and have not had any sticking problems. I am doing this in both electric and gas ovens.

                I am guessing that "food" got between the oven and foil and cooked/polymerized/burnt and this is acting as an adhesive.

                I was thinking about something mechanical: scraping off the foil......oven is probably enamel over steel, what type of brush or 3M sponge product would remove the foil without scratching the enamel......Then I read NVJims suggestion, and I agree with him.

                I would first research (read the manual) regarding cleaning the oven, e.g. some ovens have a self cleaning cycle, others require cleanser and elbow grease. If your oven can use oven cleanser, try that. A putty knife might come in handy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Alan408

                  Your explanation sounds a lot more plausible than the aluminum melting. Some type of protein has basically become a glue and fused the aluminum to the oven. An alkali like sodium hydroxide could dissolve the organic material binding the aluminum to the oven. Won't dissolve the alumium but if the organic stuff gets softened up enough it all might peel off.

                2. I had the same situation, it stressed me out so much I couldn't let it out of my mind. So I just bought Easy Off heavy duty oven cleaner and it really works. Try it, it's a miracle product!!!!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Vickistar

                    I have read all the replies and resolutions with interest.
                    My wife and I just purchased a new Kenmore stove (no food deposits on the base).
                    She has laid large aluminum foil baking pans in all her stoves despite them all being self clean.
                    I shudda known betta, "When all else fails, read instructions"...
                    We didn't and at her instructions I laid down an aluminum foil baking pan before she cooked her first meal in her beautiful new stove, not realizing the main source of heat came from below the base pan and would melt the aluminum.
                    We now have fused, damaged layer of "tempered" aluminum foil on the base of the oven.
                    I have tried Easy off and drain cleaner, all to no avail.
                    Metal scrapers are out of the question as they will damage the enamel and a wire brush just "rides" over the surface.
                    Not being a chemist, I appreciate the input of NVjim and Kagemusha49, but can you please define what all those letters and numbers mean to the layman so I can go out and buy some.
                    Thanks to all,
                    Laurie.(husband to a very upset wife!!)

                    1. re: laurieretired

                      Please let me know how and if you end up removing the aluminum.

                      I decided to leave the melted aluminum where it is. I don't notice any difference in function of the oven. It just doesn't look as clean as I would like.

                      I know how your wife feels. My stove was new when I decided to keep it clean by putting aluminum foil on the bottom surface of the oven.

                      1. re: Entore

                        NAVAL JELLY....Phosphoric acid. (yes, it is the same as diet COKE.) Buy it at Lowes, ACE, HD, etc...in the paint section. Easy to work with. Slather it on thick with a cheap foam paint brush.... leave it. I am in my second week of soaking the fused aluminum and it is almost gone. I use my thumb nail to occasionally scrape...(no big deal, rinse off well when done.) This is slow! but it is working and I am causing no further damage. I HAVE NOT turned my oven on since starting this removal.

                  2. Hi Entore...I'm wondering if you had any success in removing your foil. I can appreciate others suggesting that a protein source causes the foil to stick, but laureretired can attest that this is not the case. My wife lined our oven bottom and viola, melted aluminum foil. Our particular oven even has the interior door stamped ("DO NOT PUT ANYTHING ON OVEN BOTTOM"). Apparently, it wasn't obvious to my wife. I'll start with Vickistar's recommendation of EasyOff as it is the least invasive and work my way up the list, but thought I should check back with you to determine your success.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: danielpbowser

                      I got most of it off by finally using a metal scraper.
                      I tried soaking it in oven off, drain cleaner and my wife's silver cleaner, none worked.
                      The aluminum was truly "bonded' to the base and tempered to the point the shards were like razors (be very careful handling them).
                      I understand your frustration after your wife put it on the base even though it has LARGE letters embossed on it saying not too!!
                      The "on line" cures especially, the Debbie Travers and another lady whose name escapes me, were rubbish, shows them for what they are.
                      I have spoken to several of our friends, they don't have the element under their bases, they all have the tried and trued element sitting on top of the base, all of the wives use foil to facilitate cleaning.
                      All of the stoves have the same embossed caution.
                      Obviously the manufacturer should highlight the lettering with a bright colour...
                      Back to my base; it is now scratched and has some patches of enamel missing but no foil.
                      I guess I'll order a new base when I think about it or when the wife stops using the oven!!! LOL.
                      I forgot to mention, the effect of one of the cleaning agents caused the racks to discolor, shade of green??
                      I have cleaned one with a soaped Brillo pad and am looking forward to spending another hour cleaning the other one, life is grand.........

                      1. re: danielpbowser

                        I decided to leave it as is. The melted aluminum doesn't interfere with the function of the oven. It really doesn't look as clean as I like, but I chose not to let it bother me. I don't use the self cleaning function however.

                        DId you read Richard6's reply above? It may be a solution. I am concerned that any chemical put on the oven surface may actually etch away the finish even though it is not visible.

                        My oven surface did not have any warning.

                      2. Taking a cue from one of the responses, I used Easy-Off fume free oven cleaner (the kind that you spray on a cold oven). It took several applications, scraping off the gunk with a plastic putty knife as well as carfully using a widget. Be patient--as i said, it takes several applications. I got off all of the foil, but a dark areas were left in its place. Better than shiny.

                        1. I used Drano Crystals. It has sodium hydroxide. Make sure it is well ventilated!! Pour Drano crystals onto a small area of foil and add a teaspoon of water to it at a time. Don't inhale the fumes. The foil should begin to dissolve. Use a plastic scraper to help with the removal process.

                          1. The Works toilet bowl cleaner worked very well for me. It is powerful so be sure to wear heavy rubber gloves. It only had to stay on for a few minutes to be effective.