How to Get Burnt Plastic Smell Out of Dishwasher: Practical Tips

You eagerly load your dishwasher with a day’s worth of dishes, press start, and wait for the familiar hum of the washing cycle to begin. However, instead of the usual clean, fresh scent, you’re met with the acrid smell of burnt plastic. It’s an unsettling experience, a reminder that even the most reliable appliances can encounter hiccups. So you can get to know how to get the burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher.

How to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher

The burnt plastic smell in your dishwasher is more than an inconvenience; it’s a culinary conundrum that can affect your dishes and your peace of mind.

It’s the unwelcome guest that disrupts the 

harmony in your kitchen, a reminder that something needs attention

But fear not, for this journey is about to unfold.

We’ll explore practical solutions to banish that burnt plastic smell from your dishwasher, restoring the freshness and convenience that your kitchen deserves.

It’s a story of care, of maintaining the heartbeat of your culinary haven, ensuring that your dishes emerge spotless and your kitchen remains an aromatic delight.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

How to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher
How to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher

How to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher, with practical steps that anyone can follow. These are not intricate maneuvers but straightforward methods to refresh your dishwasher and your kitchen:

Gather Necessary Cleaning Supplies

Imagine your kitchen as a battlefield, and your dishwasher as the soldier in need of rescue. To save the day, you’ll need a few trusty tools. Grab white vinegar, baking soda, a soft brush or toothbrush, a small bowl, and a cleaning cloth.

They’re your arsenal for this mission.

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Preparing the Dishwasher for Cleaning

Your dishwasher’s like a seasoned warrior about to go into battle. Start by removing the lower rack to access the filter. It’s there where the odor culprit often hides. Be gentle.

Detailed Instructions for Cleaning and Deodorizing

Mix one cup of white vinegar with a cup of baking soda in a bowl. It’s like creating a healing potion.

  •  Place the bowl on the bottom rack of your dishwasher, and then run a hot-water cycle without any dishes inside. 
  • The vinegar and baking soda work together to break down grime and neutralize odors.
  • While your dishwasher is healing itself, use the soft brush or toothbrush to scrub the edges, seals, and hidden corners.
  •  This is a delicate surgery, removing any debris or buildup that might be causing the unpleasant smell.

Tips for Maintenance and Prevention

Regularly clean the dishwasher filter. Run an empty hot water cycle with a cup of vinegar once a month to keep your dishwasher in top shape.

Avoid overloading dishes and always scrape off food remnants before loading, much like giving your dishwasher a lighter workload.

As the hot water cycle comes to an end, your dishwasher will have transformed. 

The once persistent burnt plastic smell is now replaced by a fresh, clean scent. It’s like a soldier returning from a successful mission, ready to serve you with renewed vigor.

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Detailed Instructions for Cleaning and Deodorizing

The next steps will guide you through the process of cleaning and deodorizing, ensuring that your kitchen’s peace and tranquility are fully restored:

The Healing Elixir

In a small bowl, mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of baking soda. Think of this mixture as a magical elixir, ready to banish the burnt plastic smell. Stir it gently, as though preparing a soothing remedy for your dishwasher.

Placement of the Elixir

Place the bowl with your vinegar and baking soda mixture on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. It’s like laying out a healing charm in the heart of the machine, ready to work its magic.

Running the Cleaning Cycle

With the elixir in place, run a hot water cycle without any dishes inside. This is the transformative moment, where the healing potion springs to life. The vinegar and baking soda combination breaks down grime, neutralizes odors, and leaves your dishwasher fresh and clean.

Scrubbing Away Residues

While your dishwasher is basking in the elixir’s effects, use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the dishwasher’s edges, seals, and hidden corners:

  • This is the delicate surgery, where you ensure that no remnants of debris or odor linger.
  • As the cycle finishes, your dishwasher emerges as if from a rejuvenating spa day, not with the smell of burnt plastic, but with a refreshing and clean scent.
  • It’s ready to continue its duties with renewed vigor, like a loyal companion that you’ve nurtured back to health.
  • In these practical steps, you’ve not only provided a cleaning ritual for your dishwasher, but you’ve also nurtured the heart of your kitchen on how to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher. 
  • Ensuring that your culinary haven remains fresh and free from unpleasant odors, a place where meals are created and cherished.

Common Causes of the Problem

Understanding the roots of a burnt plastic smell in your dishwasher is the first step towards solving the issue of how to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher. So, let’s delve into the common culprits behind this unpleasant odor:

Choosing the Best Air Gap for Dishwasher

Residue Buildup

Imagine your dishwasher as a bustling kitchen, and every meal you prepare leaves behind a trace of its ingredients. Over time, these residues accumulate, much like an attic gathering dust. The result? A combination of food remnants and grease, slowly roasting to create that burnt plastic smell.

Overloading the Dishwasher

Overloading your dishwasher, much like overburdening a colleague, can lead to dishes not getting cleaned properly. When bits of food are left behind, they contribute to the burnt smell.

Dishwasher Filter Neglect

Now, consider your dishwasher’s filter defending your dishes from food debris. To know how to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher If the filter is clogged or hasn’t been cleaned regularly, it loses its efficiency, allowing the burnt plastic odor to seep through.

How do you neutralize burnt plastic smell?

To neutralize a burnt plastic smell, you can follow these steps:



Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate through the affected area. This helps in dissipating the odor.


Remove the Source

Identify and remove any burnt plastic items or residue that may be causing the smell. This could be anything from melted plastic cookware to packaging materials.


Baking Soda

Place bowls of baking soda around the area. Baking soda is effective in both absorbing and neutralizing odors. Leave the bowls out for several hours or overnight.


Activated Charcoal

Like baking soda, activated charcoal can absorb odors effectively—place activated charcoal in a bowl or small bag in the area with the smell.



Vinegar is known for its odor-neutralizing properties. You can place a bowl of white vinegar in the affected area or wipe down surfaces with a vinegar solution.


Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can absorb and mask odors. You can place a bowl of dry coffee grounds or used coffee grounds in the area.


Air Purifier

If the smell persists, consider using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help clean the air.



Clean the affected surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water to remove any remaining odor. For hard surfaces, a baking soda paste can also help.


Odor Absorbers

Consider using commercial odor absorbers or odor-neutralizing sprays designed for this purpose.



It may take some time for the smell to dissipate completely, so be patient and continue with these methods as needed.


Remember that the effectiveness of these methods may vary depending on the severity of the burnt plastic smell. In cases of significant and persistent odors, it might be best to consult a professional cleaning service or consider replacing any items that are heavily affected by the smell. Additionally, always prioritize safety, and ensure no health risks are associated with the burnt plastic, especially if inhaled.

Why does my dishwasher smell even after cleaning?

A dishwasher can continue to smell bad even after cleaning for several reasons. Here are some common causes of persistent dishwasher odors:

Residue Buildup

Over time, food particles, grease, and soap scum can accumulate in various parts of the dishwasher, including the filter, spray arms, and nozzles. If not properly cleaned, this residue can lead to odors.

Clogged or Dirty Filter

If the dishwasher filter is not regularly cleaned or replaced as needed, it can become clogged with debris, allowing foul odors to develop.

Improper Loading

If dishes are loaded in a way that obstructs water flow, it can result in incomplete rinsing and cleaning, leading to residue buildup and odors.

Leftover Food

If dishes are not pre-rinsed before loading them into the dishwasher, small food particles can accumulate and decompose, causing unpleasant smells.

Hard Water Deposits

Mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate on the dishwasher’s interior surfaces and contribute to odors. Using a dishwasher cleaner or descaler can help with this issue.

Rubber Gaskets and Seals

The rubber gaskets and seals around the dishwasher door can trap moisture and food particles, creating an environment for mold and mildew to grow.

Old Dishwasher

In some cases, older dishwashers may develop persistent odors as they age, and their components may deteriorate.

To address these issues and eliminate dishwasher odors:

Regular Maintenance

Clean the dishwasher filter and interior surfaces regularly. Refer to your dishwasher’s user manual for instructions on how to do this.

Pre-Rinse Dishes

Before loading dishes, give them a quick rinse to remove excess food particles.

Use Vinegar

Running a cycle with a cup of white vinegar in an empty dishwasher can help remove odors and mineral deposits.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short, hot water cycle to help neutralize odors.

Check Seals

Inspect and clean the rubber gaskets and seals around the dishwasher door. Ensure they are dry after each use to prevent mold growth.

Consider a Dishwasher Cleaner

Some commercial dishwasher cleaning products are designed to remove odors and buildup.

Is burnt plastic in the Dishwasher toxic?

Burnt plastic in the dishwasher can release harmful fumes and chemicals, and it is generally not safe. When plastic items in the dishwasher come into contact with the heating element or heating element cover, they can melt produce unpleasant odors, and potentially release toxic fumes. Here are some considerations:


The burning of plastic can produce fumes that contain potentially harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxic substances.

Taste and Odor

Burnt plastic can also leave a strong and unpleasant taste or odor on dishes and inside the dishwasher, which can affect the quality of your dishes and make them less appealing.

Dishwasher Damage

In addition to the health concerns, burnt plastic can damage the dishwasher itself, as it can adhere to the heating element and other components, potentially causing long-term problems and affecting the dishwasher’s performance.

To address burnt plastic in the dishwasher:


If you discover burnt plastic in the dishwasher, ensure the area is well-ventilated to help dissipate any lingering fumes.

Remove Affected Items

Carefully remove any plastic that has melted and stuck to the heating element or other parts of the dishwasher.

Clean the Dishwasher

After removing the burnt plastic, clean the dishwasher thoroughly. Run a cycle with an empty dishwasher using a cup of white vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner to help eliminate any remaining odors or residue.

Avoid Future Incidents

To prevent future incidents, be cautious when loading the dishwasher. Ensure that plastic items are placed away from the heating element and that they are dishwasher-safe. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for loading recommendations.

If you experience persistent odors, health concerns, or any issues related to burnt plastic in your dishwasher, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional appliance repair service or manufacturer for further guidance and potential repairs.

How do you make dishes smell good after dishwasher?

If your dishes have an unpleasant odor after running them through the dishwasher, there are several steps you can take to make them smell better. The odor could be caused by a variety of factors, including trapped food particles, bacteria, or even a moldy dishwasher. Here’s how to address the issue:

Clean the Dishwasher:

Start by cleaning the dishwasher itself. Remove any debris, food particles, and mold from the dishwasher’s interior. You can use a dishwasher cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda.

Check the dishwasher’s filter (if applicable) and clean it thoroughly. Refer to your dishwasher’s user manual for filter cleaning instructions.

Run an empty cycle with white vinegar to help remove any remaining odors from the dishwasher’s interior. Pour a cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container or bowl on the top rack and run a cycle with hot water.

Scrape and Rinse Dishes:

Before loading dishes into the dishwasher, make sure to scrape off excess food particles and give the dishes a quick rinse. This helps prevent food debris from clogging the dishwasher’s filter and causing odors.

Use the Right Detergent:

Ensure you are using a high-quality dishwasher detergent that effectively breaks down food residues and grease. Some detergents are specifically designed to combat odors.

Load the Dishwasher Correctly:

Properly load the dishwasher, ensuring that dishes are not overcrowded and that they are placed in a way that allows water to reach all surfaces.

Add Baking Soda:

Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher before running a cycle. Baking soda can help neutralize odors.

Lemon or Citrus Freshness:

Place a small dish of lemon or orange slices in the dishwasher’s top rack during a cycle. The natural citrus aroma can help freshen the dishes.

Regular Maintenance:

Regularly clean the dishwasher’s interior, including the rubber gaskets and the door seal, to prevent the buildup of odors and mold.

Check for Mold:

Inspect your dishwasher for any signs of mold. If you find mold, clean it thoroughly with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Ensure the dishwasher is well-ventilated to prevent future mold growth.


After each dishwasher cycle, leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar to allow air circulation and help prevent the growth of odors.

By following these steps and maintaining your dishwasher properly, you can help ensure that your dishes come out of the dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.


Our journey has taken us through a series of practical steps, from identifying the source of the problem to how to get burnt plastic smell out of dishwasher, In this quest, you’ve not only rescued your dishwasher but also nurtured the heart of your kitchen.

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