Your dishwasher is meant to be a time-saving, efficient appliance that keeps your dishes sparkling clean. However, at times, it can develop an unpleasant burnt plastic smell that can linger and taint your dishes.
This stench can arise due to various reasons, such as melted plastic items accidentally left inside, overheating of certain dishwasher components, or even electrical issues.
If you’re struggling with this nuisance, fear not! In this article, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to banish that burnt plastic smell and restore your dishwasher to its fresh, odor-free state.
Step 1: Identify the Source
Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to identify the source of the burnt plastic smell.
Carefully inspect the interior of your dishwasher, examining each rack and crevice for any melted plastic or foreign objects that may be causing the odor.
Also, check the dishwasher’s heating element and control panel for signs of overheating or damage.
Identifying the root cause will help you target the problem effectively.
Step 2: Remove Residual Plastic
If you find melted plastic inside the dishwasher, follow these steps to remove it:
- Turn off the dishwasher: For safety purposes, make sure the dishwasher is powered off before proceeding with any cleaning.
- Allow the dishwasher to cool: If the dishwasher was recently in use, give it enough time to cool down before attempting to remove the melted plastic.
- Wear protective gloves: To protect your hands, wear gloves while handling the plastic.
- Gently scrape off the plastic: Use a plastic spatula or a similar non-abrasive tool to gently scrape away the melted plastic from the dishwasher’s interior. Avoid using sharp objects that may damage the appliance.
- Wipe with a damp cloth: After removing the plastic, wipe the affected area with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
Step 3: Clean the Interior
To tackle the burnt plastic smell that may have permeated the dishwasher’s interior, follow these cleaning steps:
- Create a cleaning solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. White vinegar is a natural deodorizer and an effective cleaner.
- Spray the interior: Thoroughly spray the interior of the dishwasher with the vinegar solution, focusing on areas where the smell is particularly strong.
- Let it sit: Allow the vinegar solution to sit for about 15-20 minutes. This will help break down the odor-causing compounds.
- Scrub and rinse: Use a soft brush or sponge to scrub the interior surfaces gently. Pay close attention to crevices and corners. Once done, rinse the interior thoroughly with water.
Step 4: Clean the Filter
The dishwasher’s filter may also contribute to the lingering smell. Here’s how to clean it:
- Locate the filter: Consult your dishwasher’s manual to locate the filter. It is typically found at the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Remove the filter: Carefully remove the filter from its housing. Rinse it under running water to dislodge any debris and food particles.
- Soak in vinegar: Prepare a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a container. Submerge the filter in this solution and let it soak for about 30 minutes. This will help eliminate any foul smells and disinfect the filter.
- Rinse and reinstall: After soaking, rinse the filter thoroughly with water and reinstall it in its original position.
Step 5: Run a Cleaning Cycle
To ensure your dishwasher is entirely odor-free, run an empty cleaning cycle using a dishwasher cleaner or a DIY solution. Here’s how:
- Empty the dishwasher: Remove any dishes or utensils from the dishwasher before starting the cleaning cycle.
- Choose the appropriate detergent: Select a dishwasher cleaner recommended by your dishwasher’s manufacturer or create your own solution by combining baking soda and vinegar.
- Start the cleaning cycle: Set the dishwasher to the hottest and longest cycle available. If your dishwasher has a “sanitize” option, use that for extra cleaning power.
- Add the cleaner: If using a store-bought dishwasher cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the right amount. For the DIY solution, place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom.
- Run the cycle: Let the dishwasher complete the cleaning cycle. The combination of heat, detergent, and the cleaning solution will help eliminate any remaining burnt plastic smell and sanitize the interior.
A burnt plastic smell in your dishwasher can be a frustrating issue, but with the right approach, it can be effectively resolved.
By identifying the source of the smell, removing any melted plastic, cleaning the interior and filter, and running a cleaning cycle, you can say goodbye to the unpleasant odor and enjoy using your dishwasher once again!
Remember to perform regular maintenance on your dishwasher to prevent future occurrences of burnt plastic smells and keep it running smoothly.