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I have no idea what the last thing you would want to experience when you eat is, but I’m pretty sure the rancid smell of burnt plastic that some ovens can emit is up there on the top of the list. Some have described the smell as “burning chemicals”, “burning rubber” or “burnt plastic”, and I think they’re all legitimate ways of describing it.

If you’re experiencing this horrid smell right now, I’m sure you’re hoping to get rid of it as soon as possible. You’ve come to the right place.

Here’s what I know.

So, why does your oven smell like burned plastic?

  • The protective chemicals used during the manufacturing process are being burned off.
  • The oven’s insulation is being exposed to high heat for the first couple of times.
  • Zip-ties that were used to secure inserts during transit have not been removed.
  • Your oven is undergoing an electrical malfunction
  • There’s bad wiring, which could melt the insulation on the wires.
  • The oven has been cleaned using strong chemicals.

This topic has come up a thousand times during my time in the kitchen. The thing is, this doesn’t only happen in ovens, it happens in most kitchen appliances that heat-up.

When the appliance is used for the first time, the idea is that the chemicals should be burned off immediately but this isn’t always the case, sometimes the user is required to withstand the smell multiple times before it starts to fade.

Seven out of 10 times, this is the cause of the electric smell your oven is emitting. However, if your oven isn’t brand new, there may be other reasons too.

What Causes a New Oven To Smell Like Burning Plastic?

While my knowledge of the topic is backed by my own experiences, the experiences of others who either reach out to me or who I work with closely, reading forums and being part of communities, it’s always best to seek information directly from the source, which in this case would be the manufacturer.

This is what they say:

The primary and most frequent cause is “insulation surrounding the oven cavity emitting odors the first few times it is exposed to the extreme heat inside of the oven.”, according to Samsung.

Bosch-home has stated the same thing on their website; “Chemical Smell. This issue is most common with the new ovens. The insulation around the oven cavity is getting exposed to extreme heat for the first time, that is why there is a chemical smell. To fix this problem, you have to “burn-in” your oven.”

Here’s another notice regarding newly installed ovens from Kitchenaid;

“Odors, smells and smoke can be a normal occurrence, especially if the range or oven was just installed. During the first few uses an odor or smoke may be seen and this is due to the manufacturing process. This will dissipate and is normal. “

I think we can agree that this is a pretty common issue with brand new kitchen appliances but I think they’re doing a mediocre job of mentioning another thing (I’m sure the information can be found in the user manual though), and that’s to make sure that the zip-ties used to secure inserts during transit must be removed before using the oven.

Otherwise, these zip ties will start burning when heated and this can also produce a smell similar to that of the chemical coating.

But this smell doesn’t have to be uniquely bound to newly installed ovens, the same thing can be experienced when cooking in an old oven. You may think it happened “all of a sudden” but there’s an explanation for it.

If your oven starts smelling like burning plastic out of nowhere, this could be the cause:

  • The oven has been cleaned with strong chemicals
  • If electric: The oven is malfunctioning, in which case it should be turned off and checked up immediately.
  • You’re using an accessory that can’t withstand the temperatures or one that has been coated in oil during the manufacturing process and has to be burned-in.
  • A loose connection. This will heat up the wiring and burn it. Check where the heating element is connected along with other connections and secure them one by one.

How Do I Get Burning Plastic Smell Out of My Oven?

Burnt plastic is without a doubt one of the most unpleasant smells if you ask me. In addition to how terrible the smell is, it spreads quickly and can fill a house with ease. It’s hard to miss it because it’s so distinct and unlike other smells that you smell on a daily basis.

It’s like getting punched in the stomach through your nose.

Our main focus is to get rid of it as quickly as possible. To get rid of the smell of burnt plastic you may have to repeat the process multiple times before it starts to fade.

There are multiple ways of doing it and the processes look different depending on if your oven is brand new or if it’s an oven that has been used frequently prior to the smell appearing.

Brand new ovens need to be burned in while old ovens should be cleaned.

This Is How You Burn-In Your New Oven To Get Rid Of Chemical Smell

  • As soon as the oven is out of the box, start removing any zip-ties and/or other plastic parts that have been used during transit.
  • Once they’re all removed from the oven, wipe the inside of the oven (including the racks) using a washcloth, soap, and warm water.
  • Now it’s time to burn-in the oven, turn on the fan in the ventilation hood and open nearby windows.
  • Heat up the oven, preferably somewhere between 400-550 degrees Fahrenheit (204-288 Celsius).
  • Once the temperature is reached, let the oven run for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Repeat the process until the smell has faded.
  • Let the oven cool down then wipe the oven one last time using a washcloth with warm water and soap.

Optional: If you have lemons at home then I’d recommend squeezing the juice from two lemons into an oven-safe dish, then add water and place it in the oven at 230 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. The leftovers can then be used to wipe down the oven’s inside. Doing this will most likely ensure that your new oven doesn’t emit that horrible smell for too long.

But let’s say your oven isn’t brand new and it has already been used a thousand times, which means the protective chemicals must have been burned off a long time ago, yet the same rancid smell seems to have reappeared. What should you do in that case?

  • Because this can vary greatly from case to case, I recommend getting in contact with customer support. What you’re experiencing may be a returning issue with that specific model. That way you can rule out if it’s something you should be worried about.

When/if an electrical malfunction is ruled out, you can proceed.

  • Clean the oven properly using a washcloth, warm water, and soap. Make sure to wipe down the entire inside of the oven, including the racks.
  • Place an oven-safe dish containing lemon juice and distilled vinegar in the oven.
  • Set the oven to run at 230 degrees for 15-30 minutes.
  • Remove the dish and run the oven another 15-30 minutes at 230 degrees but this time with an oven-dish containing water to neutralize the smell of vinegar.
  • Open the oven to see if the smell of burnt plastic has started to fade.
  • Repeat if needed.

Is It Dangerous To Smell Burning Plastic in a New Oven?

In order to answer this question, we must clarify a couple of things, otherwise the answer will simply be “it depends”.

Inhaling fumes from burnt plastic is dangerous, indeed. But the smell that a new oven is emitting may not be burning plastic, it may just be the protective coating that’s being burned off. The smell of burnt plastic coming from a new oven is, therefore, not dangerous unless it really is plastic that’s burning.

Search the user manual for instructions prior to using it. The manual should mention the possibility of a strange smell appearing. With a new oven, it’s totally normal and there’s nothing to worry about, it may even happen the first couple of times you’re using it.

But, picture a scenario where the smell and or fumes you’re sensing are produced by burning plastic. In that case, yes, it could potentially be dangerous to inhale them.

When plastic starts to melt and smoke, it releases fumes from the substances that were originally used to make the plastic. Below are some of the most common ones.

  • sulfur dioxide
  • heavy metals
  • volatile organic compounds
  • hydrochloric acid
  • furans
  • carbon monoxide
  • particulates
  • dioxins

The smell can irritate your lungs and contain toxins that could be harmful to your health, according to this article on If you happen to be the owner of a bird, you should keep it far away from any fumes coming from the kitchen as some of them may be lethal to our winged friends.

It’s recommended that you do your best to get rid of the fumes as quickly as possible and then focus on the smell. The fumes carry the toxins and should, therefore, be removed first, the smell can linger for a long time but can be removed through different methods.

If you smell burnt plastic, make sure to open up your windows, turn on ceiling fans and make sure the air circulates out of your home as quickly as possible.

Then, to remove the smell from your home – try the approach mentioned in the article linked above from It includes white vinegar, which is my go-to product to neutralize or mask odors.

How Long Should a New Oven Smell?

Usually, the new oven smell will start to fade the first time the oven is “burned-in” and almost disappear entirely, but sometimes it may take multiple attempts before the smell is completely gone.

With that said, if you’re still experiencing the same unpleasant smell on your 20th attempt, there may be something wrong with your oven. You should contact customer support.

If your oven has a self-cleaning function you should start by running a cycle. Most self-cleaning cycles run on very high temperatures, which will cause the chemicals and leftover residue from the manufacturing process to be burned off. This, in turn, will cause the smell to diminish.

Can You Cook in a Brand New Oven Right Away?

Most manufacturers recommend that you heat your oven to about 400 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour prior to cooking in it to make sure the residue on the oven’s inside is burnt off. Once that’s done and the smell is gone you can start using your oven to cook food.

As we talked about earlier, this process may take more than one try. It would be wise to get rid of the smell before you actually cook food in the oven as the food could end up tasting strange.

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