Why your Dishwasher gives off a Burning Smell – and How to Fix it

Does the dishwasher give off a burnt electrical smell? A brand new dishwasher or one that has been in service for some time you can give off a strong odor of burnt plastic or rubber when you unpack it or as you use it.

Why does a dishwasher give off that smell? Is it normal? What should you do when you detect it?

In this post, you’ll find common reasons for that smell and suggestions on what to do if the washer gives off a burnt smell.

What Causes the Burnt Smell in a Dishwasher?

#1. Some new washers on unpacking may give off a strong rubber-like burnt smell which fades with the usage of the washer.

#2. A loose wire in the top plug or wall outlet connection gives off sparks that heat the insulation and hence the burning smell.

Remove the plug from the wall outlet and smell the plug. Does it give off a burnt smell? If so, then there is likely a loose wire connection that’s not making a firm connection and giving off sparks.

Contact a qualified technician to support you on this or if you have the skills, you may fix this yourself.

#3. The hot heating element in the washer can get into contact with and melt plastic utensils or plastic accessories. Switch off the dishwasher, remove the racks and wait for the element to cool down.

Check if there is a plastic bottle that’s fallen off the rack and now in direct contact with the hot element.

If so, you’ll need to remove the plastic residues from the element when it has cooled down. If there is any part of the dishwasher that is damaged replace it with a new one. You should be able to use the washer after that without any problems.

#4. The dishwasher model may be part of a product recall. There are some problematic dishwasher models that have been recalled.

You can check if your dishwasher is listed in any product recalls on the US Product Consumer Safety Commission.

Should You Be Concerned?

If it is a new washer and you have allergies then yes, you should be concerned as it can spark a reaction and in fact, some people can stand the burning odor. That said it normally dies down after a few washes.

If the washer has been in service for some time without any issues and then starts giving off the burning order then there is reason to be concerned.

Switch off the dishwasher and try to trace the source of the burning smell. Contact a qualified technician to support you on this.

How to Remove the Burning smell from a Dishwasher?

To remove the burning smell, try running the dishwasher with white vinegar. Consult your washer manual but the general recommendation is to empty the dishwasher and then start a normal cycle, letting it run until the dishwasher is drained of all water.

Add the white vinegar to the dishwasher then resume the cycle until the end.

Make sure to wipe the dishwasher with a clean cloth and leave the door open to allow the free flow of air.

Closing Thoughts

If your dishwasher is new then it might have a burning smell that should die down after several washes.

The dishwasher can also give off an electrical smell after it has been in use for some time.

Switch of the dishwasher and check the plug/ wall outlet and the bottom of the washer. Inspect the power cord, top plug, or wall outlet for loose wire connections.

It is also possible that there is a plastic utensil that’s being heated by the hot heater element at the bottom of the dishwasher.

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