If there is one thing we can say for sure, the burning plastic smell immediately scares and worries us. And there is hardly anyone who takes it lightly. However, there can be multiple reasons behind it. And while some are minor, some are extremely dangerous, and you need to fix the issue immediately.
First things first, if you notice any smoke along with the plastic burning smell, it is better to reach out to the fire department as the underlying cause can be dangerous. But before we look at the solutions on how to eliminate the burnt plastic smell in the house, it is first essential to figure out the reason behind it.
This article will cover all the details you need to know regarding this topic, including the potential reasons behind the burning plastic smell and solutions to eliminate the odor. So let’s check it out!
Is the Burnt Plastic Smell in House Toxic for You?
It is a known fact that when plastic burns, it releases many harmful and toxic chemicals in the air, like furan and dioxin. Inhaling the fumes can seriously affect your overall health, especially the respiratory system.
Your throat will burn, and you can also feel irritation in the eyes. If the smoke and fumes are too severe, get out of the space immediately, as there have been choking incidents in such scenarios.
If you are in the presence of these toxic chemicals for an extended period, exposure to dioxin can even lead to cancer. Plus is not just you that will be affected by this smell and fumes. Your family members and pets are in equal danger too. Avoid inhaling the smoke as much as possible and take the necessary steps immediately.
Reasons Why There Could Be a Burnt Plastic Smell in House.
The burning plastic smell inside the house can indicate various factors like overheating in household appliances, faulty wiring, heaters, furnaces, etc. Here are some of the most common potential reasons to investigate.
Occurrence of electric fires.
The electrical fire is the first cause you need to eliminate before you move on to anything else. Because electrical fires are extremely dangerous and can burn down the entire house if necessary, steps are not taken immediately.
Follow the burning plastic smell to locate the originating point. Check all the electrical outlets along the way, including extension cords, to check if any issues exist. If you come across any issue like smoke or smell, turn off the circuit breaker and reach out to professional help.
Actual burning of plastic.
Of course, when you smell burning plastic, you cannot eliminate the most obvious potential cause that there might be actual plastic burning inside the house.
Rush to the kitchen and check if you left any plastic utensils on the hot stove or if you tried to heat food in a microwavable plastic bowl on the stovetop. The smell can also originate if the dishwasher has melted plastic in it.
Another factor to check is if you have placed any plastic cups or bowls near hot kitchen devices like the toaster and oven. There is a high chance that the plastic will melt in this scenario. A kitchen is a common place where different factors lead to fires, so it is essential to be careful about it.
Faulty electrical wiring.
Electrical wires typically come with plastic insulation for safe handling and to avoid exposure to electrical conductors. But sometimes, there may occur different problems like loose connections, power overload, short circuits, worn-out wires, and so on. You can also notice the electrical cases getting too hot and melting. This also emits that burnt plastic smell.
However, if you do not have any experience in this department, you will need the help of an electrician to figure out the issue. The smell could be from the wires inside the walls, electrical appliances, HVAC systems, etc. Plus, the wires should also be compatible with the appliances you use.
Overheating in household appliances.
This point is somewhat related to the previous one. Sometimes the burning plastic smell can also arise from overheated household appliances. The smell can also resemble burnt rubber.
The plastic components inside those appliances can melt due to overheating, and this can happen in any electrical appliance ranging from dishwashers, microwaves, televisions, refrigerators, etc.
However, this scenario usually occurs if the appliances in your house are pretty old. Because when they are new, it is less likely and can happen primarily due to issues in electrical wiring. If you are only experiencing the smell, but there is no smoke or fire yet, turn off the appliances and unplug it from the power supply immediately.
A problem in the HVAC system.
Even though you may think it is not common, it is pretty standard for the HVAC system to emit that burnt rubber or smells like burning plastic. The reason behind this could be faulty parts or wiring.
And the major disadvantage of this problem is that if the issue originates from this system, it will spread throughout the entire house very soon. You will have to take the help of a technician to solve this issue, but the first step you can take is to turn off the air conditioning system or the heating system immediately.
When light fixtures are not done correctly.
Faulty light fixtures are another issue that is quite common in houses. This can usually happen when the lights are not installed correctly. And when improper installation is done, the light can heat up and leads to fires. The possibility of this happening increases further if plastic is present near it. Ensure the bulbs are permanently appropriately installed, and the wattage is appropriate.
How To Get Rid of the Burnt Plastic Smell in House?
If you are smelling burning plastic inside the house, it is time to take up measures and eliminate them. Here are some solutions you can try to eliminate the burning plastic smells.
Invest in an air purifier.
Even though an air purifier might seem expensive to you initially, it is a worthy investment. It not only removes unpleasant odors from your house but can also improve the overall air quality inside and offer you cleaner air to breathe. Air purifiers come in a wide range of budgets, and you can choose the one best suited for your requirements.
Most air purifiers today include the popular HEPA filter. It is highly efficient and can eliminate even the finest airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. However, when your priority is dealing with unwanted smells, a HEPA filter works best when combined with an activated carbon filter. Carbon filters do a great job of absorbing unpleasant odors and can even get rid of toxic fumes and harmful chemicals in the air.
If you have not used an air purifier already, it is time to jump on the wagon and go for it.
Ventilate the house.
This is usually the first step we take whenever there is any kind of nasty smell present inside the house. Open up the doors and windows to let the air circulate properly. Turning on the fans can also help the process further.
Go for air fresheners or scented candles.
Air fresheners for scented candles are temporary solutions and will only help in masking the smell instead of eliminating them entirely. These are available in various fragrances ranging from citrusy, floral, musky, etc. The scent of essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, etc., can also contribute to hiding smells.
Use white vinegar.
If you want to avoid artificial fresheners and want to choose a natural odor eliminator instead, white vinegar is an excellent option and can act as a natural deodorizer. All you need to do is mix warm water and white vinegar in equal quantities and store a solution in a spray bottle. When spraying the solution on the affected areas, you will notice that the sent is removed naturally.
Use baking soda.
Baking soda works best when you use it in a limited space, like in small nooks and corners, inside the microwave, etc. You can also create a baking soda and white vinegar mixture to spray around the house and mask the burning plastic smell.
You can also sprinkle baking soda on rugs and carpets and keep it like that for at least 2 hours. Later on, you can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of it and eliminate the smell. You can re-apply the process twice or thrice until you notice the smell is gone.
Use small bowls of coffee.
Who doesn’t love the fresh smell of a hot cup of cappuccino in the morning? Using fresh coffee grounds as air fresheners will also have the same effect. You can pour coffee grounds into small bowls and place them around the house in various locations. However, you should know that even though the smell of burning plastic will reduce to a significant extent, the coffee will leave a lingering smell instead.
Boil any citrus fruit peels.
Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges have a great refreshing smell to them and can really help in getting rid of unpleasant smells. Using them, you can boil the peels and juice from lemons and/or oranges in a pan. When they start boiling, a very pleasant and citrusy scent will be emitted, taking up the entire house and eliminating all foul odors.
You know all the potential reasons behind the smell of burning plastic in house and how you can get rid of them quickly. Always ensure you do not read this issue lightly because if the smell of burning plastic is due to faulty wiring for electrical components, it can be a major fire hazard.
To be safe, investigate the house’s furnaces, air conditioners, heaters, and other electrical appliances. Ultimately you want your house to smell fresh without any nasty odors, and hopefully, this guide will help you achieve that goal.