How to remove melted plastic from your dishwasher

Dishwasher Heating Element w10703867

Whirlpool Dishwasher Heating Element w10703867

It may have happened to you – you place a plastic container or utensil in your dishwasher and it falls on to the heating element of your dishwasher and melts, leaving behind a mess. How do you remove the melted plastic from the heating element in your dishwasher?

You could try scrapping the still melted plastic off of the element. Use extreme caution if you choose to do this, as them plastic will be hot as well as the element and you could possibly burn yourself. You might want to protect yourself with gloves or even an oven mitt.

You can also try waiting till the element cools down and scrapping off the plastic using a plastic paint scrapper, kitchen utensil or other nonmetal tool. Some articles suggest using something like steel wool to try to remove the melted plastic. Be very careful it you decide to use this method, as it could damage the heating element itself.

If the plastic cannot be removed completely, the dishwasher heating element can be replaced. A new element for your dishwasher can be purchased for around $30 – $40 and up, depending on your dishwasher’s model and brand.

To replace the heating element, you will need access to underneath the dishwasher. Find your new Dishwasher Heating Element: Point & Click Appliance Repair Parts Store. You will need to disconnect the water line, drain line and electric from your dishwasher and remove it from underneath the counter in order to access the locknuts underneath the tub. The locknuts hold the heating element in place and can be accessed from underneath the dishwasher. This will also allow you to disconnect the old heating element from the terminals and to reconnect the terminals to the new element.

Always check any items you wash in your dishwasher for the “dishwasher safe” wording on the bottom or packaging when you purchase it. When in doubt, it’s best to wash those items by hand. Items you should not wash in your dishwasher include knives, wooden cutting boards and utensils, cast iron pots and pans and delicate china and glassware.


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