Last Updated on December 2, 2022 by Claire
Your oven should only have the pleasant aroma of whatever delicious meal you prepared earlier. But if your oven smells like burning plastic instead of these pleasant aromas, something is not right. Don’t get yourself worked up, an oven smelling like burnt plastic is a common problem anyway.
Some have described the smell as “burning chemicals”, “burning plastic” or “burnt rubber”.
The description doesn’t really matter, what matters are the reasons why your oven smells like burning plastic and how to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Reasons oven smells like burnt plastic
When a new oven is used for the first time, the protective chemicals used during the manufacturing process aren’t usually burned off immediately.
They might take some to fade off, resulting in that burnt plastic smell when in use. However, the same burning plastic smell can be experienced when cooking in an old oven. It doesn’t just happen suddenly, there’s an explanation for it.
Here’s a list of the most common reasons your oven smells like burning plastic:
1. Burned protective chemical
The protective chemicals used during the oven’s manufacturing process are being burnt off.
2. New oven
New oven smell due to the insulation around the oven’s cavity being exposed to high heat temperatures for the first time. Moreover, zip ties that were used to secure the grills and other oven inserts during transit haven’t been removed.
3. Loose connection
A loose connection will heat the wiring and burn it. Your oven is having an electrical wiring issue.
Burned plastic container. If you forgot a plastic container in your oven and it melted away. There’s bad wiring, which could melt the insulation on the wires.
4. Strong chemical
The oven has been cleaned using strong chemicals.
You must also note that this smell isn’t peculiar to ovens only, it’s also common with most kitchen appliances that heat up.
Why does my new oven smell like burning plastic?
Most manufacturers believe that this burning plastic or chemical smell is due to the insulation around the oven’s cavity being exposed to high heat temperatures for the first time or due to the protective oil coating used during the manufacturing process being burnt off.
Moreover, Samsung is quoted on CNET saying the burning smell caused by a new oven is due to the “insulation surrounding the oven cavity emitting odors the first few times it is exposed to the extreme heat inside of the oven.” This is the smell of a bonding agent curing.
They all believe these odors, smells, and smoke are normal and will fade off after some time. They also recommend ‘burning in’ your oven to fix this problem. However, this isn’t the entire reason your new oven smells like burning plastic.
The most common reason is that- most users either forget or do not bother to remove the zip-ties used to secure the inserts of new ovens during transit before using them. If these zip ties are not removed before use, they will start burning when heated and this will produce a smell similar to that of the chemical coating.
I think manufacturers need to do a better job of enlightening users about this aspect whenever they purchase a new oven for use.
What to do if your oven smells like plastic?
There are various methods to get rid of this plastic smell depending on whether your oven is brand new or one that has been used frequently before the smell developed.
Although you may have to repeat the process multiple times before it starts to fade away, the most important thing is to get rid of it as fast as possible.
Brand new ovens need to be ‘burned in’ while old ovens should be cleaned.
How to burn-in your new oven to get rid of chemical smell
- After removing your new oven from its package, begin removing any plastic parts including zip-ties that may have been used during transit.
- When you are done removing all plastic bits from the oven, begin wiping the inside of the oven (not forgetting the racks) using a washcloth, soap, and warm water.
- Proceed to burn-in the oven, by turning on the fan in the ventilation hood and opening nearby windows.
- Heat up the oven, to a temperature between 400 – 550 ° F (204 -288° C).
- Leave the oven running for 30 – 55 minutes at this temperature.
- Repeat the process until the smell fades.
- Allow the oven to cool down before wiping the oven one last time by using a washcloth with warm water and soap.
How to get rid of burning plastic smell in your old oven
When dealing with old ovens, I highly recommend you get in touch with customer support to reduce the risks of any hazards. This is because the reason for this smell varies depending on the scenario.
If in case of an electrical malfunction, do not attempt to repair your appliance yourself. Rather, you should contact the service team to look into this for you.
If an electrical issue has been ruled out, then you can begin to:
- Clean the oven properly (inside it and including the racks) using a washcloth, warm water, and soap.
- Then put an oven-safe dish containing lemon juice and distilled vinegar inside the oven.
- Set the oven to run at 230° F for 20-40 minutes.
- Remove the dish when this time elapses.
- Run the oven for another 20-30 minutes at 230° F.
- Then place an oven dish containing water inside the oven to neutralize the smell of vinegar.
- Set the oven to run for another 20-30 minutes at 230° F.
You may open the oven to check if the burnt plastic smell has begun fading. Repeat as needed.
How long should a new oven smell?
Normally, the new oven smell will start to fade away the first time the new oven is ‘burned-in’, but sometimes it may take multiple attempts before the smell is completely gone.
But if the same unpleasant smell is still present after multiple ‘burn-in’ attempts, there might be a problem with your oven. You should contact customer support.
If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, you should begin running a self-cleaning cycle. Most self-cleaning cycles run at very high temperatures that will burn off all chemical and leftover residues from the manufacturing process. This will result in the smell fading away.
Is breathing in burnt plastic fumes from your oven dangerous?
The fact is inhaling burnt plastic is potentially dangerous to your health, but how dangerous it is depends on the type of plastic material being burnt. For example, polypropylene is a long-chain polymer generally considered safe for human health. But, that doesn’t mean you should go inhaling its fumes.
The smell of burnt plastic coming from a new oven may just be the protective coating that’s being burned off and not actual plastic. It is therefore not dangerous unless it really is plastic that’s burning.
This smell is completely normal with new ovens that haven’t been ‘burned-in’ yet.
Here are a few common toxic fumes plastics release whenever they begin to melt and smoke:
Other plastic materials, for instance, PVC and polyurethane, produce toxic fumes, and inhaling them can be pretty bad for your health. They may release toxic fumes such as:
- Heavy metals
- Hydrochloric acid
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Volatile organic compounds
While some plastics produce less toxic fumes, they’re still dangerous to the environment.
If you notice your oven smells of burning plastic, open your windows and doors to increase ventilation and ensure you identify and fix the issue as soon as possible.
Can you cook in a brand new oven right away?
Manufacturers recommend that you preheat your oven to about 400° F for about 30-55 minutes before cooking in it to make sure the residue inside the oven is burnt off. When the smell fades away after doing this, then you can begin using your oven to cook.
To prevent your food from tasting odd, it’s best you get rid of this smell before you begin to cook food in the oven.
Natural methods to remove oven smells
Apart from burnt plastic smells, your oven can sometimes retain unpleasant odors caused by grease, moisture, meat juice, and food spills.
Here are some natural odor removers to use in getting rid of these unpleasant odors:
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar is an incredibly efficient deodorizer containing acetic acid. Acetic acid bonds with volatile molecules and possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- To get rid of burnt plastic and any other odors from your oven use white vinegar:
- Mix the white vinegar with water,
- Place on the lower rack, and then turn your oven’s self-cleaning function.
- The steam will absorb all the unwanted odors in your oven’s interior.
Lemons have a strong astringent scent that is tough on bacteria and contain citric acids which are effective at neutralizing compounds that cause bad, irritating smells. It also contains a good solvent called limonene; a natural compound that has a pleasant lemon smell and helps neutralize odors.
As a result, lemons and other citrus fruits such as Oranges, Lime, and Clementine are pretty efficient in absorbing odors in not only your oven but also your entire household.
To clear bad oven smells using lemon:
- Get a bowl and mix half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice with one-third of a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of water in it.
- And then put it in your oven.
- The steam will absorb the unwanted odors leaving a pleasant citrus smell in your oven.
If you want to make the scent even better:
- Fill an oven-safe container with about 350ml of water, and then add three slices of lemons, 2 stalks of lemons, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
- Place it in your oven, and turn on the heat to about 120 C.
- Leave it in there for 30- 35 minutes.
It will produce a pleasant scent that will leave not only your oven but also your entire house smelling nice.
3. Baking Soda
As opposed to other natural odor removers that mask odors, baking soda absorbs them. When exposed to air, baking soda will react with smelly particulates (acids and alkalis), break them down and then convert them into neutral salts.
To get rid of the odors in your oven use baking soda:
- Mix half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice with one-third of a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of water in a bowl or pour some of it on a plate and leave it in your oven overnight.
- Alternatively, mix it with one part vinegar, and place it in your oven for a few hours.
- It will absorb all the unwanted odors in your oven.
Your oven should always have a pleasant aroma and not smell like burning plastic.
As previously mentioned, burnt plastic smells in ovens are a completely normal occurrence that shouldn’t get you unnecessarily worried.
You can use any of the methods discussed previously to get rid of the burning plastic smell and keep your oven smelling fresh and pleasant.