How to Remove Melted Plastic from Dishwasher Coils {Easiest Method}

Oh yes, friends, it happened. The classic plastic lid melted on top of the dishwasher heating coil. It happened last Friday night as I was relaxing, reading a book and enjoying the quiet time.

I wasn’t on the couch for too long, as the burnt plastic smell engulfed our kitchen and upon opening our brand new dishwasher I found the culprit. Yes, brand new dishwasher, like less than two-months-old dishwasher.

Enter a full-on panicked state…

How to Remove Melted Plastic From Dishwasher Coils {Easy Method)

It is hard to see here, but the coil had chunks of green melted plastic all over.

How to Remove Melted Plastic From Dishwasher Coils {Easy Method)

So then, I grabbed my phone and asked my trusted friend Mr. Google. The first post that came up talked about waiting for it to cool down, then putting an ice bag on top of it for 30 min and then peeling it off quickly. So that I did, ice bag on top of the coil for 30 minutes.

Half-an-hour later and the plastic was still fused on top of the coil, not coming off when trying to scrape it with a wooden spoon. Big fail!

If cooling it did nothing, heating it was undoubtedly going to work, right? So I run upstairs, grabbed my hairdryer and yes, it worked, I managed to get it off! I wish I would have skipped the icing part…

So here, if this happened to you too, don’t panic, it’s not too hard to remove it.

What you need:

  • Hairdryer.
  • Wooden Skewer stick or craft/ice cream wooden stick (you may have to cut it in half depending on where the plastic is, for easy access).
  • Wet dishcloth/rag

How to Remove Melted Plastic From Dishwasher Coils {Easy Method)

How to Remove Melted Plastic From Dishwasher Coils {Easy Method)

Here’s what to do:

  • First, turn off the dishwasher, grab a set of metal thongs and remove the piece of plastic.
  • Open all your windows because the smell is horrendous!
  • Unplug the dishwasher and wait for the heating coils to cool down completely, you don’t want to put half your body inside there when it’s super hot. While you wait, remove all the dishes and cutlery from the dishwasher.
  • Use the hairdryer to heat the melted plastic, it took less than a minute for me, then with the wooden stick carefully scrape it off. Make sure you pick up and throw away any pieces of plastic that fall at the bottom of the dishwasher. Do this, as many times as needed.
  • After you have removed all the visible plastic, use the wet cloth to scrub the coil and clean any remaining plastic.
  • Run a quick cycle with the heating dry function with the dishwasher empty.  You may notice it smells a tiny bit but any remaining plastic should burn off at that point.
  • You are DONE! Pat yourself on the back!

How to Remove Melted Plastic From Dishwasher Coils {Easy Method)

Did I learn my lesson here? Yes, never put tiny lids inside the dishwasher and be extra careful to check everything before it goes on.  The positive is that I know what to do if it happens again and my dishwasher isn’t ruined.

Has this happened to you before?  What method has worked best for you?

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

25 responses to “How to Remove Melted Plastic from Dishwasher Coils {Easiest Method}”

  1. Good tips to defuse such a night mare! yikes

  2. What an ordeal! Google is amazing for anything…

  3. gotta love a dyson

  4. My husband would love this story – he hates that we always jump to, and immediately trust everything we read on, Google! Good on you for coming up with your own fix.

  5. Ugh – happened to us last year. Except we couldn’t tell where the smell was coming from and ended up with the Fire Department paying a visit!

  6. Glad you were able to save your new dishwasher!!! This has never happened to me but I would be panicking too!

  7. That would have been scary!! Thank you for sharing with us. I often worry about softer plastics melting in the dishwasher.

  8. ok so this is good to know because even though i have not done this yet I can see my self doing this at some point. at least i know what i need to fix this mess if it happens. thanks for sharing. live and learn lol

  9. Thank you for sharing. I can see how that can happen easily.

  10. Wow who knew! Thanks for this tip! Never know when one may need to know this

  11. Wow!!! Such a great lesson. My kids always throw Tupperware lids on the top rack… I’m putting an end to that!! Thanks for the great cleaning tip… I never would have thought of a hair dryer. Brilliant! Just in case 😜

  12. Thanks I certainly appreciate this post !

  13. You came up with a fix in spite of googles suggestion. Google is great for ideas and finding answers but its the sorting through the chaff to find the wheat, that takes time that we don’t always have. The ice can if effective but only if the plastic hasn’t begun to run. How often are we that lucky. The old stove I had before the glass top has seen its share of plastic disasters. I am so glad your dishwasher was saved. Thank you for sharing maybe one day I will have a dishwasher and this will info come in handy lol.

  14. I don’t have a dishwasher so that will never happen to me, but thank goodness you were able to remove the plastic!

  15. Good tip – it hasn’t happened yet but it is only a matter of time.

  16. Great to know you never know when you will need this information. Had to deal with a dryer cover in gum! Run the dryer to soften gum. Now I had so much gum I couldn’t repeat as it eventually started cooking gum but did that a few times for 3-5 minutes. Using a Bounce Sheet wrap around a wet magic eraser, I also use Lysol whips. Wet bounce sheet. It got all the gum out.

  17. I would have heated up the dishwasher again, thank goodness for Google.

  18. Thank you for sharing this. Last week I actually had to remove plastic off of a pan so I can definitely relate. I’m glad you were able to safe your dishwasher.

  19. Always glad to hear tips like this, you never know when it will happen to yourself. I love your hairdryer too. 🙂

  20. This is good to know in case it happens. I tend not to use the heat dry setting so I would hopefully avoid this.

  21. I never use the heat dry on my dishwasher, I find the heat of washing on the Sani cycle is enough to also dry them.

  22. Thank you so much, this worked perfectly

  23. This is great to know as this makes a big mess.

  24. Thank you for this! Sadly, I didn’t notice until the washer was already full of new dirty dishes! Awesome!

  25. Thanks for posting this!! We woke up this morning to discover a reusable bottle cap melted to the heating element in our 1-month-old dishwasher and were certainly in a panic. Your hairdryer suggestion worked perfectly and now we can enjoy our Halloween 🙂

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