Toaster Smells Like Plastic? – What You Need To Know

Toasters are often an appliance many of us use daily and it when it doesn’t work properly it can really put a bad start on your day.

A toaster can often smell like plastic when it is brand new and just being removed from the packaging. This can last up to 2-3 uses but will eventually go away. The plastic smell can also be caused by chemicals while cleaning, to avoid this try using hot water over harsh chemicals.

In this article, I am going to talk about why your toaster smells like plastic, the common causes and ways you can prevent it.

Should A Toaster Smell Like Plastic?

 It depends on the condition of the toaster, most new toasters smell like plastic when used for the first time. The smoke and plastic smell that comes from it is normal due to the manufacturing process, Or storage. Sometimes the manufacturing process entails leaving out coils to burn off in preparation for proper functioning.

Even though they smell like plastic, the new toaster smell is not really harmful. After 1 to 3 average use, it wanes. 

For old or regularly used toasters, the plastic smell is not safe. It might be a sign of minor or major component damage and can be harmful to the body.

The plastic smell of a new toaster is safe as some manufacturers state the precautions concerning it, in the instructional manual of the product. Some brands advise running it twice without anything to get rid of the plastic smell. However, in cases where the plastic smell persists, then it isn’t safe and requires immediate attention. 

While it’s ok for toasters to smell like plastic in one or two occurrences, the plastic smell should not linger for long. The regular plastic smell is dangerous and will constantly affect the nutritional value of what is being toasted.

Sometimes, the user can also use his or her discretion to determine if it’s safe or not, a toaster that smells like plastic is only safe to use when it has been stored for a long time or recently purchased. Regularly used toasters are not safe to use if they smell like plastic.

In our contemporary society, it is typical for new heating appliances to have an unusual smell upon first or second usage, likewise when it’s stored for long or suffers damage. A 20 to 30 minutes usage clears this smell. Although, low-end toasters, manufactured with substandard materials might have a long-term plastic smell and are not safe for regular use. 

Why Does My Toaster Smell Like Plastic?

Some of the reasons are:

Manufacturing  Process 

There are chemicals used to protect the surface of the toaster during the manufacturing process. And, upon the first usage, those chemicals burn off to help get the toaster ready for use. Another related factor might be the coating on the surface when it was manufactured. So, when a new toaster is being plugged in, the oil burns out till it dissipates. 

While all of these chemicals are trying to burn, they ooze out a plastic smell and burn till it’s perfect for use. Some toaster brands require a one-time plugin to let it burn out, others might be two times. 

Wiring Or Electrical Malfunctioning

There is the insulation that surrounds the cavity of a toaster. The insulation is being exposed to extreme heat for the first time, while this occurs, it emits a plastic smell, some last for 10 to 20 mins (or one to two uses) before it starts to smell normal. This smell is prevalent with new toasters and wades with time. 

The wiring could also be out of place, a proper check should be considered.

Toasters are portable kitchen appliances, sometimes, they can be moved from one place to another for convenience, when dropped accidentally or it suffers damage from a delicate surface, it will emit a plastic smell when it’s plugged in for use.

This is due to the loose components inside it. In this case, both new and old toasters can smell like plastic. 

Packing Materials

Packing materials can accidentally get into the toaster compartment, some can be unnoticed and burn off when plugged in. When several toasting cycles don’t stop the plastic smell, then it can be dangerous.

Try removing the pack entirely and checking inside the toaster if the plastic bag covering the plug has been disposed of properly. 

Cleaning Process

The plastic smell doesn’t occur in new toasters only, when an old toaster is cleaned using strong chemicals, the residue emits a plastic smell when plugged in. A toaster that has been stored over a long time must have accumulated a lot of dirt coupled with debris from the last usage. 

Getting rid of this accumulated dirt requires a thorough cleaning, with solutions that may leave residue in the toaster. After cleaning, a plastic smell emits when plugged in to burn off the cleaning chemicals.

Has the Toaster Been Stored?

This smell may still be no cause for alarm because just as when the toaster was new, dust may have settled on the coils, and after it burns off, the smell will dissipate. 

Other than dust, debris may have fallen into the toaster, or the wiring may have come loose, causing the smell. These two scenarios must be fixed to avoid a potential fire.

How To Stop My Toaster Smelling Like Plastic

The plastic smell in toasters can be stopped using different methods. Each method is dependent on the condition of the toaster, I.e if it’s new or old. Explore the methods below and find one that suits your toaster. 

A Thorough Check or Instant Plug in (New Toasters)

As soon as you purchase a new toaster, endeavour to check-in and out to ensure everything is in place before plugging it in. Open it and check if any material is inside (small materials can get into it during packaging or transit). 

Besides, new toasters should be plugged in for 3 to 5 minutes as soon as it is out of the box. Toasting bland bread immediately (not to be eaten), can emit the plastic smell and get it ready for regular use, you can extend the heating time till the smell burns off. This process can be repeated two to three times till the plastic smell fades. 

Cleaning (Old and New Toasters)

While brand new toasters need to be plugged in, to heat for a while, old toasters that emit a plastic smell should be cleaned thoroughly. 

Regularly used toasters should be wiped using a washcloth and warm water (the warm water can be a mixture of soap and water or non-toxic cleaning solution).  After cleaning, it should be left open to dry before next use. 

Furthermore, old toasters always have food debris after each use, consider wiping them out gently to avoid heavy build-up of debris. Not doing this might cause a burnt smell when using it, as the debris needs to burn out. 

For new toasters, a dry cloth can be used to dust it, if you prefer an extensive cleaning, use a damp washcloth to wipe it, squeeze and dry it. It should be left for 10 to 20 minutes to get dry. 

Go Through The Manual

Going through a product’s manual is never a bad move, you will be guided on how it operates, the dos and don’ts, and guidance in case of a malfunction. The plastic smell is a common issue with toasters and is usually captured in the manufacturer’s manual. 

Endeavour to go through the manual that comes with your toaster and check the steps to take in case of plastic smell (some term it as burnt smell). Next, Implement the guide and check if it has stopped.

Time for Repair

Consider taking it for repair, an expert look at it may elevate the plastic smell. Our home cleaning solutions and process differ from a professional handyman. 

However, this is not advisable in extreme cases as toasters are straightforward appliances and don’t need extreme losing and coupling.

 Contact Customer Support

If all the aforementioned have been done and the plastic smell persists, contact customer support. There is no guarantee that you will get a new one, but their expert guidance and suggestions can be very helpful. 

For new toasters, the long-term plastic smell might be an issue with a specific model, and this can only be confirmed through customer support. 

Can I Still Use A Toaster If It Smells Like Plastic?

Inhaling plastic smell is dangerous to the human body, however, answering this question largely depends on the circumstances surrounding the plastic smell from the toaster. Using a new toaster that smells like plastic is ok, as the smell fades with time, likewise a recently cleaned toaster.

In these scenarios, it is ok to use toasters that smell like plastic because, using it, is the only way the smell can dissipate. 

Moreover, the smell from new toasters may not be a serious issue. It might be the coated surface heating out in preparation for regular usage. For regularly used toasters, it is dangerous to use it, if it smells like plastic, as stuck debris or major electric malfunction might be the cause.

A further use, in this case, might result in further damage or a domestic accident. 

Prior knowledge of the toaster’s manual will inform your choices, as it always notes the possibility of a strange smell in first to the second usage. Do check it out. 

On a final note, allow a new toaster to heat for a while before using it, if the plastic smell persists after 2 to 3 usages, consider calling customer care. For regularly used toasters, it is not advisable to use them when you notice it smells like plastic, as it may be a sign of major damage that needs to be checked.