How to Get Burnt Plastic Smell Out of Dishwasher

Having a dishwasher at home is a convenient way to keep your dishes clean and save time. However, sometimes accidents happen, and plastic items may accidentally melt inside the dishwasher, causing a strong burnt plastic smell. This can be unpleasant and even affect the taste and odor of your dishes. In this article, we will discuss effective methods to eliminate the burnt plastic smell from your dishwasher, leaving it fresh and odor-free.

Understanding the Problem

When plastic melts inside the dishwasher, it can release a strong and unpleasant odor. This smell can be persistent and may linger even after regular washing cycles. It is essential to address this issue promptly to prevent the odor from transferring to your dishes.

Safety Precautions

Before attempting any method to remove the burnt plastic smell, ensure your safety by following these precautions:

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Keep the area well-ventilated.
  • Disconnect the dishwasher from the power source.

Running an Empty Cycle

One of the simplest ways to eliminate the burnt plastic smell is to run an empty cycle with hot water. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove any remaining plastic debris.
  2. Fill the detergent compartment with a cup of white vinegar.
  3. Start the dishwasher on a high-temperature cycle.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, open the dishwasher and let it air out.

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural deodorizer that can help neutralize odors in the dishwasher. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Remove any visible plastic residue.
  2. Place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack.
  3. Run a hot water cycle.
  4. After the cycle, open the dishwasher and let it air dry.

Baking Soda Solution

Baking soda is another effective ingredient for absorbing odors. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove visible plastic pieces.
  2. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water.
  3. Apply the paste to the interior surfaces of the dishwasher.
  4. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth and rinse thoroughly.

Lemon Juice and Water Mixture

Lemon juice has natural antibacterial properties and leaves a refreshing scent. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Squeeze the juice of two lemons into a bowl.
  2. Dilute the juice with an equal amount of water.
  3. Place the mixture in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack.
  4. Run a hot water cycle.
  5. Open the dishwasher and let it air dry.

Dishwasher Deodorizer Tablets

Commercial dishwasher deodorizer tablets can effectively eliminate odors. Follow the instructions on the packaging for the best results.

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Cleaning the Filter

A clogged or dirty filter can contribute to unpleasant smells. Clean the filter regularly by following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will ensure optimal dishwasher performance and minimize odors.

Dishwasher Smells Bad

Scrubbing the Interior

For stubborn burnt plastic smells, you can manually scrub the interior of the dishwasher. Use a soft sponge or brush and a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water. Pay extra attention to the areas where plastic residues might have stuck.

Preventive Measures

To prevent burnt plastic smells in the future, consider these preventive measures:

  • Avoid placing plastic items near the heating element of the dishwasher.
  • Use dishwasher-safe plastic items labeled as heat-resistant.
  • Check your dishwasher’s compatibility with plastic items.
  • Regularly inspect the dishwasher for any signs of melting plastic.

Can I use bleach to remove the burnt plastic smell from my dishwasher?

No, it is not recommended to use bleach as it can be harsh on the dishwasher’s components and may leave behind a chemical odor.

How often should I clean my dishwasher filter?

Cleaning the dishwasher filter once a month is generally recommended, but it can vary depending on the frequency of use and the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I use essential oils to remove the odor from my dishwasher?

While essential oils can have a pleasant scent, they are not as effective in neutralizing strong odors like burnt plastic. It’s best to stick to the methods mentioned in this article for optimal results.

Why does the burnt plastic smell linger even after running regular cycles?

The burnt plastic smell can persist due to its strong nature and the porous surfaces inside the dishwasher, where the odor can get trapped. Specialized cleaning methods are required to eliminate it.

Is it safe to run an empty cycle with vinegar frequently?

Yes, running an empty cycle with vinegar occasionally is safe and can help maintain a fresh-smelling dishwasher. However, excessive use of vinegar may corrode certain dishwasher components, so moderation is key.


Getting rid of the burnt plastic smell from your dishwasher is essential for maintaining a fresh and pleasant kitchen environment. By following the methods mentioned in this article, you can effectively eliminate the odor and ensure your dishwasher performs optimally. Remember to prioritize safety and follow the preventive measures to avoid future incidents.

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