How to Get Plastic Off Dishwasher Coil

When it comes to household mishaps, one of the most frustrating experiences is discovering that a piece of plastic has melted onto your dishwasher’s coil. This can lead to a range of problems, from unpleasant odors to reduced dishwasher efficiency. Fortunately, there are several methods you can employ to safely remove plastic from your dishwasher coil. In this guide, we will walk you through the process step by step, ensuring your dishwasher gets back to working efficiently and odor-free.

Understanding the Problem

What Causes Plastic to Melt onto the Dishwasher Coil?

Before we delve into the removal process, it’s important to understand why plastic melts onto the dishwasher coil in the first place. This happens when plastic items, such as containers or utensils, accidentally fall onto the heating element during a dishwasher cycle. The intense heat causes the plastic to melt and adhere to the coil’s surface.

Safety Precautions

Safety First

Before attempting any repair or cleaning on your dishwasher, ensure it is unplugged or disconnected from the power source. Safety should always be your top priority when dealing with electrical appliances.

Removing Plastic from the Dishwasher Coil

1. Gather Your Supplies

To successfully remove plastic from your dishwasher coil, you will need the following items:

  • Safety gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Heat-resistant scraper
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Soft cloth

2. Disconnect the Dishwasher

Make sure the dishwasher is completely disconnected from the power source to avoid any accidents.

3. Locate the Coil

Open the dishwasher’s door and locate the heating coil, which is typically at the bottom of the dishwasher’s tub.

4. Assess the Damage

Examine the melted plastic on the coil to determine the extent of the problem. If it’s a small amount, you may be able to remove it without disassembling the dishwasher.

5. Scrape Off Excess Plastic

Using the heat-resistant scraper, gently scrape off as much of the melted plastic as possible. Be cautious not to damage the coil.

6. Heat and Soften the Residue

Soak a soft cloth in vinegar and place it over the remaining plastic residue. Leave it for 15-20 minutes to soften the plastic.

7. Remove Remaining Plastic

Carefully use needle-nose pliers to peel off the softened plastic. If needed, repeat the vinegar application until all plastic is removed.

8. Clean with Baking Soda

Mix baking soda with water to form a paste and apply it to the coil. Scrub gently to remove any stubborn residue.

9. Wipe Clean

Wipe down the coil with a clean, damp cloth to ensure no baking soda residue remains.

Reassembling and Testing

10. Reassemble the Dishwasher

Once the coil is completely clean, carefully reassemble any dishwasher parts you had to remove.

11. Test Run

Plug the dishwasher back in or reconnect it to the power source and run a short cycle to ensure it’s functioning correctly.


Dealing with melted plastic on your dishwasher coil can be a frustrating experience, but with the right tools and a systematic approach, you can resolve this issue safely and effectively. Remember to prioritize safety, disconnect the power, and follow the steps outlined in this guide. Your dishwasher will be back to its efficient, odor-free self in no time.


1. Can I use any type of scraper to remove the melted plastic?

For safety reasons, it’s best to use a heat-resistant scraper to avoid damaging the coil or causing any hazards.

2. Is it possible to prevent plastic from melting onto the dishwasher coil?

To prevent this issue, be cautious when loading your dishwasher and ensure that plastic items are securely placed away from the heating element.

3. Can I use other solvents instead of vinegar to soften the plastic residue?

Vinegar is safe and effective, but if you prefer an alternative, acetone can also help soften plastic residue. However, use it with caution and ensure proper ventilation.

4. How often should I clean my dishwasher coil to prevent this issue?

Regular maintenance is key. It’s advisable to check and clean your dishwasher coil every few months to prevent plastic buildup.

5. What should I do if the plastic has caused damage to the coil?

If the plastic has caused significant damage to the coil, it’s best to consult a professional dishwasher repair service for a thorough assessment and potential replacement.

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