Kitchenaid Dishwasher Smells Like It Is Burning – Why? What To Do?

It can be very disconcerting if you notice a burning smell from your dishwasher. Don't worry. We've got your back. We've researched the reason behind this problem and how to deal with it. Here's what we found.

There are several causes why your KitchenAid dishwasher smells like it is burning during a cycle. It can be a melted plastic material or a burned-out heating element. For safety, perform these actions:

  • Stop the load cycle and turn off the power source.
  • Determine the cause of the odor or smoke.
  • Remove the melted plastic material.
  • Clean the bottom area thoroughly.
  • Seek help from a professional technician.
  • Replace the heater or other parts when broken.

KitchenAid dishwashers are reliable for time-saving cleaning. However, they have limitations, too. This article will cover the causes and solutions for the burning odor in your unit. We will also discuss other common problems and warranty claims. Continue reading as we explore and solve this alarming concern.

Finish Rinse-Aid and clean dish in dishwasher machine. Siemens or Bosch dishwashing machine and "Finish" rinse aid, Kitchenaid Dishwasher Smells Like It Is Burning - Why? What To Do?

Why Does My KitchenAid Dishwasher Making A Burning Smell?

Your KitchenAid dishwasher may emit a burning scent when a plastic container or leftover food has stuck and melted in the heating element. Small items usually fall from the nylon rack if you put dishware beyond the appliance's capacity.

Owners have also reported another cause for this problem: the connectors have high currents or loose connections. As a result, the wiring and insulation can melt and produce a nasty odor.

What Should You Do When There Is A Burning Smell From A KitchenAid Dishwasher?

Depending on the cause of the problem, you may not initially spot the problem until a strong smell lingers in your kitchen. Here are a few things you can do during this scenario upon detecting it:

  • Stop the cycle and turn off the power source.
  • Determine the cause of the odor or smoke.
  • Remove the melted plastic material, such as utensils or detached spray arm.
  • Clean thoroughly the bottom area where the heater is.
  • Seek help from a professional technician if malfunctions happen.
  • Replace the heater or other parts when broken.

Where Is The Heating Element In The KitchenAid Dishwashers?

An exploded diagram of a dishwasher.

The heating element has a vital role in the drying function of dishwashers. Although it usually has a cover plate, you can find it near the bottom of the lower rack and spray arm.

Along the nickel-chromium inside, this strip has two fasteners on both ends that connect the unit to the electrical parts.

Unlike the rectangular ones in ovens, the KitchenAid dishwashers have a circular heating element.

Click here to see this heating element assembly on Amazon.

Identify the typical errors with ease using this step-by-step guide: How To Run Diagnostics On KitchenAid Dishwasher.

How To Avoid A Burning Smell From A KitchenAid Dishwasher?

handyman repairing a dishwasher

To prevent this unfortunate incident, consider these precautionary measures while using your KitchenAid dishwasher:

  • Avoid washing non-dishwasher-safe plastic objects.
  • Ensure the components are in good shape and snug fit before running a cycle.
  • Do not overload the unit to have a breathing room for rotating spray arms
  • Position the dirty dishware neatly.
  • Place the small items inside a fine mesh laundry bag so they will not fall from the rack.

Click here to see this set of mesh laundry bags on Amazon.

Can You Replace The Heating Element In A KitchenAid Dishwasher?

You have two options to change the broken parts: with or without professional help. If you have an intermediate repair skill level, you can replace the heating element in your KitchenAid dishwasher. Nonetheless, experts' services are more convenient.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace The Heating Element Of The KitchenAid Dishwasher?

The replacement part is available online or in local electronic shops. Depending on the model, it will cost between $45 and $190. In contrast, the price of a professional repair service averages from $150 to $300. It covers the new parts and other fees.

Replacement Procedure

In addition to the melting items, the two common causes that call for a replacement of this strip are when the unit cannot dry or heat entirely and start a cycle.

You will also need a handful of materials to accomplish this task: a screwdriver and adjustable pliers wrench. As an overview, here are the main steps for the replacement:

  • Practice caution at all times.
  • Disconnect the power and water source.
  • Unscrew and detach the outer cover, insulation, and wiring using the tools mentioned.
  • Change the old heating element with the new one.
  • Return the parts accordingly.

Watch this clip for a detailed guide to replacing the heating element like a pro.

How Do You Clean The Heating Element On A KitchenAid Dishwasher?

Dishwasher with dirty dishes. Powder, dishwashing tablet and rinse aid. Washing dishes in the kitchen.

To clean the heating element after the smoke or burn, dampen a microfiber cloth or sponge in warm soapy water. Then, wipe the food or plastic residue on the surrounding surface.

Use a flat wooden item to scrape the pieces if there is stubborn debris. Lastly, dry the heating element completely before covering it. Another option is the purchase a new heating element when you cannot remove all the residue.

Click here to see this wood scrape on Amazon.

Meanwhile, an excellent way to remove the burnt odor is to operate a cleaning cycle using dishwasher tablets. Similarly, it will help your unit to reduce mineral and limescale buildup.

Instead of a detergent, you can try a white vinegar rinse for a DIY technique to wash off the plastic smell.

Click here to see this dishwasher cleaner on Amazon.

To gain more insight about cleaning other parts of your unit, check out this post: How To Remove And Clean KitchenAid Dishwasher Filter.

What Is The Warranty On A KitchenAid Dishwasher?

KitchenAid dishwashers have three limited warranties: one-year, 5-year, and lifetime.

If your brand-new unit has several problems, request a replacement for all factory defects during the first year. Until the fifth year, KitchenAid will offer to change certain parts if they affect the appliance's performance. The service includes nylon dish racks and electronic controls. However, it does not cover the labor fee.

The burning plastic or wiring inside your unit is an example of damage from an accident. Hence, the manufacturer does not cover it unless the handiwork created it.

How Do I Know If My KitchenAid Dishwasher Is Under Warranty?

You can check the product manual to know the complete warranty details. Warranty coverage starts from the purchase date.

Meanwhile, enter your personal information and unit details on KitchenAid's product registration website for more benefits. You can enjoy quick updates, promotions, electronic manuals, and tips.

For instance, you can ask for help from the online service of this brand to help you repair any problem with your appliance. Know the authorized service providers near your home.

What Are The Most Common Problems With KitchenAid Dishwashers?

Besides the plastic burning smell, you can experience other common problems with your KitchenAid dishwasher, regardless of the model. Here are a few of them:

  • Failure to start or end a cycle
  • Inadequate cleaning of dirty dishes on one or all racks
  • Unsuccessful drying of utensils and plates
  • Malfunctioning control board
  • Flashing and blinking light indicator
  • Drain line, valve, or pump inefficiency
  • Water or soap spilling from the unit
  • Leaking motor area

While these concerns are inevitable after several washing cycles, minor tweaks will bring your machine to life. Replacing, fixing, or cleaning these elements can solve the issues above:

  • Clogged water inlet valve
  • Upper and lower arm assembly
  • Broken touchpad or buttons
  • Noisy drain pump motor
  • Dirty wash arm spinner, removable filter, and drain hose
  • Burned-out heating element assembly
  • Torn door seal and gasket

How Long Do KitchenAid Dishwashers Last?

On average, KitchenAid dishwashers can last between seven and 12 years, provided you practice regular care and maintenance. Schedule a routine for cleaning the exterior and interior surfaces and draining and washing the air gap. Otherwise, you will buy a new one too early.

When Do You Need To Replace Your KitchenAid Dishwasher?

Man takes a clean glass from the dishwasher

It is time to replace your KitchenAid dishwasher when you notice these telltale signs:

  • The unit's age is more than a decade.
  • Heating elements are not efficient anymore in disinfecting dishes.
  • Multiple load cycles consume a lot of energy and increase your electric bill.
  • Racks and other metal areas corrode and rust.
  • Faulty parts, like the broken draining system, are hard to fix or replace.
  • Repairs are much more expensive than buying a new one.

To get started after receiving your new unit, follow the reminders in this article: How To Remove An Old KitchenAid Dishwasher.

Is There A Recall on Kitchenaid Dishwashers?

As of this writing, Kitchenaid does not recall any of their dishwasher units. However, a group of product owners filed a class action lawsuit against the brands under Whirlpool Corporation: KitchenAid, JennAir, Kenmore, and Maytag. It is because of the leaky units despite labeling them "high quality" appliances.

As a result, product users under a specific class claimed their compensation in 2021 as a settlement for defective dishwasher parts. For instance, some of the faulty models listed are KDFE 1 to 4, KDTE 1 to 4, KUDE 4 to 7, KDTM3, and KUDL.

Final Thoughts

KitchenAid dishwashers can emit a burning smell during a cycle because of trapped plastic material or a burn-out heating element.

Address the problem once you notice it to prevent fire or electrical hazards. Unplug the unit, determine the source, and clean the area. Finally, contact a certified technician for a complete assessment.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, explore these articles about the KitchenAid dishwasher problems:

KitchenAid Dishwasher Beeping But Not Starting - What's Wrong?

KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Getting Or Filling With Water—What To Do?

KitchenAid Dishwasher Stuck On Control Lock - What To Do?

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