Why Does My Oven Smell Like Burning Plastic?

woman-checking-the-oven

There are numerous meals we can cook with an oven. They are also pretty easy to handle, whether you choose a gas or electric one.

Since ovens are pretty versatile, you likely use yours every day. Unfortunately, one reasonably common characteristic they have is that they sometimes smell of burning plastic.

That can be disconcerting, primarily if you use yours frequently. On the other hand, you may also be concerned about your safety; after all, you don’t know why your oven smells that way.

Well, in this blog post, allow us to explain why your oven smells like burning plastic. Of course, we’ll also show you how to clean the smell out of it. So, please, read on to learn these and even more. Enjoy!

What Causes My Oven to Smell Like Plastic?

Sometimes, we smell burning plastic when cooking in an oven. It can be pretty discomfiting, particularly when considering how the smell can mix with your casserole or pastries.

The smell can also be frightening, especially since you don’t know the source. It’s not uncommon to think you’re in danger; what if your oven is about to catch on fire?

Well, brand manufacturers have given us a few reasons why ovens sometimes smell like burning plastic. It’s a foul smell, but it’s inevitable.

The primary reason your oven smells that way is that it’s new. Yes, new ovens sometimes smell like burning plastic, and we’ll explore the reasons soon.

However, you may not notice the smell right away. But when you perceive it, know that it’s not always harmful and will go away after a while.

Now, what are the reasons your oven smells like burning plastic? Ovens are designed to cook your meals with extreme heat. So, when you smell burning plastic, it’s sometimes because of the protective oils that manufacturers use to produce them.

When you use it the first few times, it can begin to burn off, thereby causing that foul smell. It isn’t dangerous for your health, though, so you don’t need to panic.

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As an oversight, you may have forgotten to remove the zip ties that accompanied your oven. When you start using it, the heat can melt the zips ties, and since they’re made of plastic, that perfectly explains the smell.

You may smell burning plastic the first time you use your oven because its insulation has never been exposed to extreme heat before. But, of course, that’s perfectly harmless too.

Now, here’s where you may have cause to worry. An electrical problem or faulty wiring can bring about this smell. Hence, if your electric oven isn’t new or relatively new, it’s best to turn it off once you perceive a strange smell.

But of course, you must already have double-checked to ensure it’s not because you placed a plastic container in your oven.

How to Get the Burning Plastic Smell Out of My Oven? 

While the smell of burning plastic doesn’t always spell danger, it can be unpleasant. It may even dilute the smell and taste of your food.

Subsequently, we’ll show you how to remove the smell of burning plastic from your oven. Depending on the reason for the smell, you’ll need ice bags, a sponge, a razor scraper, detergent, and lime, or vinegar juice.

If your oven smells of burning plastic, it could be because you placed plastic in your oven, and of course, it melted. Alternatively, you probably forgot to take off the zip ties your manufacturer used to transport the oven to you.

Well, in this case, you likely have remnants from the plastic in your oven. As such, you’ll have to take it out if you want the smell to cease. If you don’t, of course, the next time you turn on your oven, you’ll still perceive burning plastic because it’ll keep on melting.

Now, take out the rack and use your razor scraper to take off the plastic as best as you can. Next, place the ice bags on the plastic in the oven. Leave them there until the ice melts. By then, the plastic should have hardened, making it easy for you to scrape it off.

Leaving the oven door open also helps reduce the smell. 2 or 3 hours should suffice, and afterward, you can turn on the oven to find out if the smell is completely gone.

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On the other hand, if your oven smells like burning plastic because you’re newly introducing its insulation to a high temperature, then you can mix a spoon of lemon or vinegar juice in a cup of water and heat it in the oven for about five minutes.

If, after scraping the plastic off your oven, it retains the burning plastic smell, you can also use this recipe to eliminate it.

How Long Should a New Oven Smell?

The first few times you use your new oven, you’ll likely smell burning plastic. We’ve explained the reason – which is introducing your new oven’s insulation to a high temperature for the first time.

Some manufacturers have also claimed that they put some protective oils on the oven during the manufacturing process. So even if you clean the oven with water and a washcloth before using it, you may not get the entire thing out. Either way, there’s no cause for alarm.

Another problem is with the zip ties. If you use your oven without removing them completely, you’ll certainly smell burning plastic because they’ll melt due to the high temperature you’re exposing them to.

Now, there’s a solution to all these problems. You can put a spoon of vinegar or lime juice in a cup of water and place it in the oven. Then, turn it on and leave it there for five minutes. That should take the smell out.

Afterward, leave the oven door open for 2 or 3 hours, and you’ll have an odor-free oven the next time you check.

Since you know how to eliminate the smell of burning plastic in your new oven, you don’t have to wait a required number of days or weeks for the smell to leave. Instead, you can do it yourself.

On the other hand, the smell of burning plastic could be because of faulty wiring. But, of course, it’s an unlikely occurrence with a new oven, especially if it’s from a credible manufacturer.

Is it Safe to Cook in a Brand-New Oven Right Away? 

While it isn’t unsafe to cook in a brand-new oven, you may not like the outcome. New ovens are associated with the smell of burning plastic. It could be a result of the protective layer of oil that manufacturers put on it or the exposure of its insulation to extreme heat for the first time.

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Whatever the reason, cooking in the oven without cleaning it first can cause the potent smell of burning plastic to attach itself to your food. Then, you’ll taste and smell it in the dish you prepare, and that may be unpleasant. It’s not particularly dangerous to your health; it just has a dissatisfying result on your meal.

There are ways you can break in your oven. Of course, it’ll help remove the smell of burning plastic and prevent any future dilution of that smell with your food.

The first step is to remove the zip ties that arrive with the oven. It’s highly possible to forget to take them out, and it’s happened many times. If the zip ties come in contact with the heat of the oven for too long, they can melt and produce a potent smell.

Next, use a washcloth and warm, soapy water to clean the insides of the oven. Don’t forget to take out the racks and clean them individually too.

Now, to properly break in the oven, you’ll have to conduct a ‘burn-in’ process. That process may vary from one oven brand to another, but they all have some similarities.

First, you have to turn on the fan in the ventilation. Next, set the oven to a high temperature for about thirty minutes to an hour. It should be a minimum of 400°F and a maximum of 550°F. You may also want to open a window or two for the smell to escape easily.

Finally, you can try cooking with your new oven. However, if the smell persists, you can try the process again. When it’s finally gone, you can then use warm soapy water and a washcloth to clean it again.

Conclusion

There are so many foods you can cook with an oven. As such, it’s an essential kitchen appliance. Ovens are also pretty easy to work with and are pretty versatile too.

A common occurrence with buying a new oven is the smell of burning plastic. It doesn’t always spell disaster, especially if you’ve been careful with handling the wiring. However, the odor can stay on a meal you place in the oven and dilute its taste.

About Sylvette Brown

Sylvette is a homemaker and is passionate about cooking and other kitchen-related stuff. She also loves to do home improvement related tasks and keeps on writing about food and cookware on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her 2 little kids. :)