Melted Plastic In Dishwasher: Will It Come Off?

You load up your dishwasher, hit start, and later discover a plastic disaster inside. 

It’s happened to the best of us. But fear not, I’ve got your back.

If you found your plastic stuff melted inside the dishwasher, it likely happened from incorrect dish placement or excessive heat. To fix it, turn off the power, and start cleaning the interior – yep, the plastic does come off if you go about it the right way.

I’ll dig into the causes further in this post and tell you everything you need to do after such a mess happens. 

And to top that off, I’ll even tack on some useful tips so you won’t deal with such issues again. 

Let’s get started. 

Reasons Why There’s Melted Plastic In Dishwasher

Reasons Why There’s Melted Plastic In Dishwasher

Discovering melted plastic in your dishwasher can be a real head-scratcher. Let’s unravel the mystery and understand why it happens:

Reason 1: High Heat Settings

One of the main reasons is cranking up the heat on your dishwasher. 

When you use those super-hot settings, plastic items can’t handle the heat and start to warp and melt.

Reason 2: Plastic Without the “Dishwasher Safe” Label

Not all plastics are created equal. If your plastic stuff doesn’t have that “dishwasher safe” label, it’s more likely to succumb to the dishwasher’s heat. 

Dishwasher-safe plastics are built to handle the heat and pressure of dishwasher cycles.

Reason 3: Keeping Plastic Items In The Wrong Place

Placing plastic items too close to the dishwasher’s heating element is like putting them in an oven. 

The intense heat can make plastics, especially low quality ones, soft and gooey. 

Reason 4: Crowding the Dishwasher

Jam-packing the dishwasher can disrupt the flow of water and heat. 

This means some plastic items might get hit with too much heat, causing them to melt. 

Reason 5: Dishwasher Neglect

Not giving your dishwasher the care it deserves, like neglecting to clean the filter or inspecting the heating element, can lead to overheating and melted plastics.

How To Clean Melted Plastic From Dishwasher?

How To Clean Melted Plastic From Dishwasher

Before we roll up our sleeves and dive into the details, let’s make sure you’ve got the tools you need: 

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Tools You’ll Need

Before we begin, gather these handy tools:

  • Safety Gear: Safety first! Don’t forget to put on heat-resistant gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself during this process.
  • Removal Tool: Grab a plastic scraper, like a kitchen spatula. It’s your go-to tool for gently prying off the melted plastic without damaging your dishwasher. You can also have a knife on standby for cutting off any larger or stubborn pieces of melted plastic.
  • Plastic Bag or Container: Keep a plastic bag or container nearby. You’ll use it to collect all those pesky plastic fragments you’ll be scraping off.
  • Screwdriver: Have a regular screwdriver on hand. Sometimes, you might need it to take apart specific dishwasher parts to reach those tricky spots.
  • Heat Gun or Hair Dryer: You’ll need either a heat gun or a hair dryer to make the melted plastic soft and pliable for easy removal.

Now, with your tools at the ready, let’s move on to the step-by-step process.

Step 1: Safety First

Before you start, make sure you’ve got your safety gear on— get heat-resistant gloves, since you’ll probably be handling some hot plastic if you get to taking action right away.

Step 2: Power Down

Make sure your dishwasher is switched off completely and safely unplugged. 

No power means no accidental zaps while you work. 

Step 3: Harden the Area

Cool down that melted plastic. Place an ice pack or wrap some ice cubes in a cloth and lay them on the melted plastic, especially in the dishwasher spray arm area. 

It’ll firm up the gooey mess and make it less sticky.

Step 4: Ventilate the Room

Get some fresh air flowing through the room. Open those windows and doors wide. 

This helps whisk away any unpleasant odors that might drift from the melted plastic. 

If it gets smelly, consider wearing a mask with special filters for added comfort.

Step 5: Scrape Off the Plastic

Now, it’s time to get hands-on. Use your plastic scraper, angled slightly, to gently lift off the now-firm melted plastic, especially from the dishwasher’s top rack. 

Apply steady but gentle pressure. If it resists, give it a quick blast with your heat gun or hair dryer to soften it up.

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Step 6: Check for Residue

Inspect every nook and cranny, especially around the dishwasher heating element and coil, for any sneaky bits of plastic that might have escaped your earlier scraping. 

A flashlight can help with those tight spaces. Use a soft cloth or a gentle brush to remove any stragglers.

Plastic Melted In Dishwasher Now Everything Smells: How To Get Rid Of The Smell

Plastic Melted In Dishwasher Now Everything Smells

So, you managed to get rid of that melted plastic mess in my dishwasher, but now there’s this not-so-pleasant odor hanging around. 

No worries, I’ve got you covered on how to kick those smells to the curb and leave your dishwasher smelling fresh.

One of the best tricks to eliminate the plastic odor is by using a mix of baking soda and vinegar. 

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sprinkle Baking Soda: Generously scatter baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher, especially where the plastic melted. Baking soda is excellent at absorbing odors.
  2. Add White Vinegar: Grab a cup of white vinegar and pour it into a dishwasher-safe container. Place this container on the top rack of your dishwasher.
  3. Run a Short Rinse Cycle: Set your dishwasher to run a short rinse cycle with no dishes inside. Use hot water for this cycle.

If you haven’t cleaned your dishwasher recently, you might still have some remaining smells. 

In which case, here are some extra ways to get rid of the odor:

  • Use Lemon: Place a few lemon slices or lemon peels on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run a short cycle. The natural citrus scent will help combat any remaining odors.
  • Activated Charcoal: If the smell persists, consider placing a bowl of activated charcoal in your dishwasher overnight. Charcoal is excellent at absorbing stubborn odors.

Tips To Prevent Plastic From Melting In Dishwasher

Tips To Prevent Plastic From Melting In Dishwasher

Avoiding melted plastic in your dishwasher is easier than you might think. 

Here are some tips to keep your plastic stuff safe and sound:

  • Check if It’s Dishwasher-Friendly: Before tossing your plastic gear into the dishwasher, check if it says “dishwasher safe” on the label. If it doesn’t, give it a gentle hand wash to be on the safe side.
  • Use The Top Rack: Got plastic items to clean? Pop them on the top rack of your dishwasher. It’s cooler up there, away from the hot stuff at the bottom.
  • Spread Things Out: Don’t cram everything in. Give your plastic items some space, so they aren’t next to the heating element. A little elbow room keeps them safe.
  • Dial Down the Heat: Pick a wash cycle with lower temperature settings, and steer clear of the super-hot options. Look for settings like “gentle” or “eco” that are kinder to plastics.
  • Handle Delicates with Care: Fragile plastic items, like those thin-walled food storage containers, are best washed by hand. They’re a bit sensitive and can’t handle the dishwasher’s heat.
  • Get Smart with Small Stuff: If you’re washing tiny plastic bits like baby bottle parts, use dishwasher-safe baskets or containers designed for the job. It keeps them safe and sound.
  • Take Care Of Your Heating Element: Every now and then, peek at your dishwasher’s heating element. Make sure it’s clean and damage-free. A little TLC here keeps the plastic from melting.
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Can melted plastic in dishwasher cause fire?

Not at all! Your dishwasher has safety features to prevent fires. It might get messy, but you’re not dealing with a fire hazard.

Is burnt plastic in dishwasher toxic?

Well, it’s not super toxic, but burnt plastic can release some not-so-pleasant fumes. To stay safe, open a window, and run a rinse cycle with vinegar and baking soda to get rid of that smell.

Should I rewash dishes if plastic melted in the dishwasher?

Absolutely, give those dishes a second go. Remove any plastic leftovers, then toss them back in for a regular wash with detergent to make sure they’re good to use again. That way, anything coming onto them from destroyed plastics can come off.

Final Thoughts

Remember that a dishwasher meltdown is no match for your resourcefulness. 

Armed with this knowledge, you’ve got the upper hand!

Think of it as a valuable lesson in dishwasher care, so you can steer clear of future disasters.

That’s all I’ve got to say for this post. Here’s to smoother dishwashing, unscathed plastics, and a kitchen that runs like a well-oiled machine. 

Happy dishwashing!

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