What To Do When Plastic Melts In The Dishwasher?

By Cory White
What To Do When Plastic Melts In The Dishwasher?

Accidents can occur, and discovering melted plastic in your dishwasher can be a cause for concern. Not only does it pose a risk of damaging your dishwasher, but it can also create a messy situation and potentially compromise the cleanliness of your dishes.

In this post, I will address the possible causes of melted plastic in the dishwasher and provide practical solutions and precautions to effectively deal with this issue. Additionally, I will share tips to prevent such mishaps from happening in the future, ensuring a plastic-free and smooth dishwasher experience. Let’s dive right in!

Identifying Causes of Melted Plastic in Dishwashers

plastics in dishwasher

Various factors, such as incorrect placement, low-quality plastic items, or a malfunctioning heating element can cause melted plastic in the dishwasher. Being aware of these causes can help in preventing damage to both your utensils and the dishwasher itself.

Incorrect Placement

Placing plastic items too close to the heating elements in the dishwasher can cause them to melt. Be sure to position plastic items in the top rack, away from the heat source, to avoid this issue.

Low-Quality Plastic

Not all plastic items are dishwasher-safe, and using low-quality plastic products in the dishwasher can lead to melting. It’s essential to check the labels on your plastic items before placing them in the dishwasher.

Malfunctioning Heating Element

A faulty heating element may overheat, causing plastic items to melt. Regular inspection and maintenance of your dishwasher can help identify any issues with the heating element and prevent future incidents.

Immediate Actions to Take

unplugging the dishwasher

When faced with melted plastic in your dishwasher, it’s essential to take immediate actions to minimize further damage and ensure safety. Consider the following steps to handle the situation effectively:

  1. Harden the area. Use an ice pack to cool and harden the melted plastic, making it easier and safer to remove from the dishwasher.
  2. Ventilate the room. Open windows and doors to provide proper ventilation. This will help in dispersing any toxic fumes that may be present from the melted plastic.
  3. Prioritize safety. Make sure you wear gloves to protect yourself from injury while handling the hot, melted plastic. Avoid inhaling any fumes and ensure the appliance is switched off and unplugged before attempting to clean the affected areas.

Cleaning the Dishwasher Post-Incident

inspecting the dishwasher

In order to maintain the appliance’s performance and remove any lingering odors, here are some recommended steps to achieve a thorough cleanup after the incident:

  • Remove residue

After safely removing the melted plastic, check for any residue left behind on the dishwasher’s interior, including the heating element. Carefully remove any remaining remnants using a soft cloth or cleaning brush.

  • Neutralize odors

To eliminate any unpleasant smells from the dishwasher, use a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda on the dishwasher’s interior surfaces and then add a cup of white vinegar to the bottom of the appliance. Run a short rinse cycle to ensure all surfaces are treated, and you should notice a significant reduction in any lingering odors.

  • Inspect the heating element

Ensure that no residue remains on the heating element, as this can impact the performance of your dishwasher and potentially cause future issues. Regular cleaning and inspection of the heating element will keep your appliance functioning efficiently and help prevent further incidents.

Preventing Future Plastic Melting Incidents

dishwasher maintenance

To prevent future plastic melting incidents in your dishwasher, consider adopting the following practices:

• Use dishwasher-safe plastic: Opt for high-quality, dishwasher-safe plastic items that can tolerate the heat generated during a wash cycle. Check the labels on your plastic products to ensure they are suitable for use in the dishwasher.

• Ensure proper placement: Position plastic objects in the top rack of the dishwasher, away from the heating elements. This will reduce the risk of melting due to exposure to high temperatures. Additionally, make sure that plastic items are securely placed to prevent them from falling during the wash cycle.

• Regular maintenance: Perform regular checks and maintenance of your dishwasher to identify any potential issues or malfunctions early on. This will help you prevent incidents related to heating element problems and other functional issues in the appliance. By following these tips, you can keep your dishwasher running smoothly while minimizing the risk of plastic melting incidents.

When to Seek Professional Help

dishwasher electricals

Knowing when to seek professional help for your dishwasher can save you time, and money, and prevent further damage. It’s important to consult a professional dishwasher technician in the following circumstances:

Persisting Issue

If you are consistently experiencing plastic melting incidents in your dishwasher despite following proper preventive measures, it may indicate a deeper issue.

Malfunctioning Heating Element

If you suspect that your dishwasher’s heating element is faulty or not performing correctly, seeking professional help is the best course of action.

Electrical Issues

Signs of malfunctioning in your dishwasher, such as tripping circuit breakers or unusual sounds, can indicate underlying electrical problems.


Dealing with melted plastic in your dishwasher can be a frustrating experience, but with the right steps, you can overcome this issue. By following the practical solutions and precautions outlined in this blog post, you can effectively address the problem, restore your dishwasher’s functionality, and prevent future mishaps. Remember to always prioritize safety and take necessary precautions when using plastic items in the dishwasher. 

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