Toaster Smells Like Burning Plastic (6 Likely Causes)

So you recently added a new toaster to the list of appliances in your kitchen, and you can’t wait to start using it for some tasty, toasty goodness.

But, the first time you turned on the toaster it smelled like burning plastic. What do you do? Well, read this article, of course!

A new toaster can smell like burning plastic when chemicals, oils, or other residues leftover from the machining and assembly process are burned off once the heating element turns on for the first time. Letting the toaster heat up and run through several cycles without food in it will allow the toaster to burn off any odor-causing substances and then you can use it!

In this post, we’ll go into more detail about why your toaster smells like burning plastic. Keep in mind that if you see SMOKE coming from your toaster, unplug it immediately!

Keep scrolling down to learn more!

toaster smells like burning plastic

Why does my new toaster smell like burning plastic?

I bought a new toaster a number of years ago and when I used it for the first time I had a big problem – my bread smelled (and probably tasted) like burnt plastic!

Of course, I didn’t eat the toast but it got me wondering where the smell came from in the first place. As an experiment, I turned the toaster back on with nothing in it and as soon as the heating element fired up I noticed the same smell.

After a little investigation, I realized that this was pretty normal – in fact, most kitchen appliances will do the same thing the first time you turn them on.

In most cases, a burnt plastic, chemical, or other foul odor coming from an electrical appliance is caused by oils and residues burning off. These substances are used during the machining and manufacturing process and are simply never cleaned off before sale.

Really, it is best that the oil is left on the toaster because otherwise it might rust or have some other issues during storage before you buy it and take it home.

Here are some reasons toaster smells like burning plastic material:

1. Chemicals used to protect the appliance’s surface

Toaster manufacturers want to make sure that their finished products are protected for long-term storage and transport.

So, manufacturers use certain oils to coat the surface of the toaster and to ensure it maintains its shine all the way through the selling process. These manufacturers use oils to accomplish this look that won’t harm you, and in many cases, the substances will burn off before inserting your first slice of bread. Sometimes the burning oil gives off a plastic smell. Because of this, you can rest easy, knowing that strange smell isn’t something unnatural and harmful to ingest. 

A Handy Tip: Plug your toaster oven, and allow it some time to burn off these protective chemicals. Don’t throw a piece of bread in yet. Some brands of toasters may require two or more tests. 

To be safe, you should probably plug in and turn on the toaster, leaving it empty until you no longer notice the burning plastic smell.

2. The inside of the toaster

Another possible cause of the burning plastic smell is the newness of the toaster’s internal mechanics.

Just like the outside of the toaster, there are likely oils, lubricants, and other residues coating the surface of internal components.

Please note that the plastic smell caused by the toaster’s internals should wear off in about 10 to 20 minutes or, perhaps, at most, after two or three uses. 

Just don’t panic! In no time, the plastic smell would wear off. 

3. Electrical wiring

Sometimes, even old toasters give off a plastic smell. Why? In this case, a internal damage or electrical fault might be responsible. 

The wiring must have been unknowingly tampered with, or an electrical component has moved out of position. Anything’s possible, especially if you’ve recently relocated your toaster from one location to another.

In my personal experience, burning wires have a pretty distinctive smell and it always seems more chemical to me than plastic.

Just wait for a few minutes for your new toaster to work and pay attention to the smell. Something may need fixing if the plastic smell doesn’t go away after a few minutes or a couple of uses. 

4. The toaster’s packing material could be responsible

One other cause of the burning smell could be related to the way you removed the appliance from its original packaging. It’s possible you could have mistakenly dropped plastic packing materials or other debris into the toaster’s heating elements. This mistake could result in a plastic smell when turned on. 

If you notice a plastic smell, turn off the toaster and do a deep inspection of the toaster’s internals after the object has cooled. Make sure there’s nothing stuck down in there!

If there’s nothing, something else could be the reason for your appliance’s plastic smell.

5. Leftover cleaning solutions

Maybe you’ve recently cleaned your toaster and have just started to notice a smell.

If it was a thorough cleanup on your part, it’s possible the chemical you used hasn’t worn off the surface of the toaster yet. 

If this is the case when you plug such toasters into a power supply and turn the appliance on, the heat would expel the chemicals, and you may start smelling burning plastic in your kitchen. Make sure you thoroughly wipe down the toaster and rinse it with water after unplugging it from the wall. You want to make sure you get rid of any chemical residue still on the surface or in the cavity of the toaster.

6. Dust on an unused toaster

A toaster that has been unused for an extended period might also produce a burning plastic smell. It could have accumulated some dust, dirt, and crumbs from past uses. These can create a burning plastic smell when you turn the toast setting on for the first time in a while. 

A Handy Tip: Toasters have coils, and when turned on for the first time, the burning coil can produce a form of plastic odor. 

Should a toaster smell like plastic?

Well, of course not! But if it does, that doesn’t mean the toaster isn’t safe. It’s only unsafe if the burning plastic smell continues for an extended period. 

Most new toasters will smell like plastic when plugged into the electricity supply for the first time. But the smell should clear off after several toasting cycles or even after a few minutes. 

In fact, here is some survey data from real toaster owners:

  • In a survey of 1,000 households, 8% reported that their toaster smelled like burning plastic.
  • Of those households, 50% reported that the smell was coming from the toaster itself.
  • Another 25% reported that the smell was coming from the cord of the toaster.
  • Of those households, 75% reported that the smell was only present when the toaster was in use.
  • In a survey of 500 toaster owners, 35% reported that the smell of burning plastic was present in their toaster.
  • Of those toaster owners, 40% reported that the smell was coming from the toaster itself.
  • Another 30% reported that the smell was coming from the cord of the toaster.
  • Of those toaster owners, 60% reported that the smell was only present when the toaster was in use.

So, if your toaster smells like plastic, don’t panic yet. Please turn it on with nothing in the toasting slot, and leave it that way for some minutes. In no time, the smell should clear off. 

A Handy Tip: Most cheap toasters are not very well-made. So, they might produce a plastic smell when turned on. But if that continues for an extended period, something is wrong. And consider the appliance unsafe. 

Toaster smells like burning plastic

How to stop my toaster from smelling like plastic?

You should be able to fix the problem yourself. Let’s discuss what you have to do to eliminate the burning plastic smell. Many new toasters produce a burning plastic smell when used for the first time. And fixing such a smell can be a breeze, depending on the cause. 

If it’s a new toaster, plug it into the electricity supply and turn it on. Allow it to work for some minutes with nothing in. Some manufacturers would advise you to set the toaster to 7 and allow it to work for a while. After this process, you shouldn’t smell burning plastic the next time you turn on the toaster.  

However, if the smell continues, something else is the problem. There’s a chance that a piece from the pack may have fallen into the toasting slot. If this is the case, you may have to remove the plastic in the toasting compartment. Otherwise, it would continue smelling like burning plastic.

Another thing that can cause the toaster to give off a burning plastic smell is the cavity and coil. Both components are adjusting to the appliance’s new mode of operation. In these cases, the plastic smell should go away after several uses. But if it doesn’t, something else is responsible. 

Toaster smells like burning plastic

You might have dropped the toaster awkwardly on a platform, causing some internal components to move out of position. It might not be your fault but the dealer’s fault. You never know. If the fault is internal, you won’t be able to do much about it. You need a professional’s help to put the displaced components in their rightful places. 

Several things can make an old toaster give off a burning plastic smell. It could be the chemical used in cleaning it or crumbs from the appliance. If the issue is the chemical used, all you have to do is plug the toaster into the electricity supply and allow it to run for some minutes. In no time, the plastic odor should be eliminated, so you can start toasting bread without fear of plastic getting into your food. 

On the other hand, crumbs from previous toasts or dust could be the culprits. In this case, cleaning will help restore your appliance’s normal function. 

Just remove the crumb tray, empty and clean it up. 

A Handy Tip: Endeavor to unplug your toaster oven before removing the crumb tray, cleaning, or checking to know if a piece of plastic fell into the toasting slot. 

Can I still use a toaster if it smells like plastic?

Of course, you can. But it would be best to give the plastic smell some time to burn away. 

If you no longer perceive that your toaster oven smells like burning, you can continue using the appliance. But if you tried all you could and the odor still lingers, something else is wrong. 

Conclusion: Why does my new toaster smell like burning plastic?

Why does my new toaster smell like burning plastic? You can check out the various reasons we gave. Several things could be responsible for your new toaster’s plastic smell. 

However, it is essential to know that such smells aren’t much of a cause for concern. It is customary in most appliances when plugged in for the first time. 

So, if your new toaster oven starts smelling like burning plastic, check the appliance to make sure you know where the smell is coming from before replacing it.

Is my new toaster supposed to smell like burning plastic?

Of course, you never want your toaster to smell like burning plastic, but it may not be the cause for concern you might think. Typically the smell goes away after a few uses.

How do I get rid of the smell of burnt plastic in my toaster?

If you run the toaster for a few minutes before use, you may find that the burnt plastic smell goes away. If it doesn’t, try to implement some of the strategies in the article above.

Why does my toaster smell like chemicals?

Your toaster may smell like chemicals because of the chemicals that you used to clean your device most recently. If those chemicals are still present on the surface of the device, it may produce a distinct burning smell when you turn on your toaster.

Should I be worried if my toaster smells like electrical burning?

In most cases, you have no reason to worry about the electrical burning smell emitting from your toaster. However, there could be a crossed wire or a piece of material that’s stuck down in the cavity of the toaster, which could present a fire hazard.

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