Why Does My Oven Smell Like Burning Plastic?

My Oven Smell Like Burning Plastic

If you’ve ever been met with the unpleasant odor of burning plastic when using your oven, you’re not alone. This scenario can be quite perplexing and worrisome. Your kitchen should be a place of delicious aromas, not foul smells that suggest something is amiss. In this article, we’ll dive into the reasons behind the mysterious smell of burning plastic emanating from your oven and how to address it.

Understanding the Concern

What’s that Smell?

Imagine this: You’re preparing a scrumptious meal for your family, eagerly anticipating the delightful aroma of a home-cooked dinner. But as you open the oven door, instead of a mouthwatering scent, you’re hit with a pungent, burning plastic odor, and then it hits you – you forgot to turn off oven after you last used it. It’s not just disappointing; it’s concerning.

Is It Normal?

The first question that might come to mind is whether this is a normal occurrence. Ovens are supposed to get hot, right? So, why the burning plastic smell? Let’s uncover the truth behind this unsettling experience.

The Culprits Behind the Smell

1. Residual Packaging

Often, the culprit is something as simple as a forgotten piece of plastic packaging. Maybe you placed a dish in the oven without realizing there was plastic wrapping or a sticker still attached. As the oven heats up, this plastic starts to melt and release the unpleasant odor.

2. Drip Tray Residue

Another common source of the burning plastic smell is residue left on the oven’s drip tray. When food particles or grease spill onto the tray and are exposed to high temperatures, they can emit a plastic-like smell. Regular cleaning can help prevent this issue.

3. Faulty Components

In some cases, the smell might be due to a malfunctioning component within the oven itself. Wires or insulation materials could be overheating and releasing a plastic-like odor. This scenario is less common but should not be ignored, as it may indicate a need for professional repair.

4. Improper Cookware

The type of cookware you use can also play a role. Certain non-stick coatings, when exposed to high temperatures, can emit a burning plastic smell. Make sure your cookware is suitable for oven use and not damaged.

Culprits Behind the Smell

Addressing the Issue

1. Immediate Action

If you detect a burning plastic smell, the first step is to turn off the oven immediately. This will prevent any further damage or fumes. Open windows to ventilate your kitchen and avoid inhaling any potentially harmful odors.

2. Inspect and Remove

Carefully inspect the oven for any visible sources of plastic, such as packaging or stickers. If found, remove them using oven mitts or utensils to avoid burns. Make sure to wait until the oven has cooled down before doing this.

3. Clean the Drip Tray

Regularly clean the oven’s drip tray to prevent residue buildup. Use a mixture of warm soapy water and a non-abrasive scrubbing pad to clean it thoroughly.

4. Check Cookware

Review your cookware to ensure it’s oven-safe and free from damage. Replace any items that could be causing the issue.

5. Professional Help

If the smell persists despite these measures, it’s advisable to contact a professional technician to inspect your oven for any internal issues that might require repair or replacement.


The burning plastic smell coming from your oven can be unsettling, but it’s usually caused by relatively harmless factors like leftover packaging or drip tray residue. By taking immediate action, inspecting your oven, and practicing regular maintenance, you can eliminate this issue and enjoy a fragrant cooking experience once again.


Is the burning plastic smell harmful to my health?

While the smell itself is unpleasant, it’s usually not harmful in small quantities. However, it’s best to avoid inhaling any fumes, so turn off the oven and ventilate the area if you detect this odor.

Why does my oven smell like burning plastic even when it’s new?

Sometimes, new ovens may emit a slight burning odor during their initial use due to the heating elements and insulation settling. This odor should dissipate after a few uses.

Can I use air fresheners to get rid of the smell?

While air fresheners may mask the odor temporarily, they won’t address the root cause. It’s essential to identify and eliminate the source of the smell.

What should I do if I can’t locate the source of the smell in my oven?

If you’re unable to find the source of the smell or if it persists after cleaning and inspection, it’s best to consult a professional appliance technician for a thorough diagnosis.

How often should I clean my oven’s drip tray to prevent the burning plastic smell?

It’s a good practice to clean the drip tray regularly, ideally after each use, to prevent the buildup of residue and odors.