HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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.