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What to Do When You Smell Burning Plastic

Smelling Burning Plastic

Burning plastic smell in house is not only unpleasant, but it can also be a sign of a potentially dangerous situation. Whether you are at home or in a public place, it is important to address the smell and warning signs of burning plastic immediately. In this article, we will discuss what to do when you smell burning plastic and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Why Does Burning Plastic Smell So Bad?

Before we dive into what to do when you smell in your home burning plastic, it is important to understand why it smells so bad in the first place. When plastic is heated, it releases toxic fumes that can be harmful to your health. These fumes are a result of the chemicals used to make plastic, such as PVC, which can release dioxins when burned. These fumes can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and can even lead to more serious health issues.

What Causes Burning Smell in House?

There are several reasons why you may smell burnt plastic smell in house, including:

  • Overheating appliances or electronics with electrical problems
  • Electrical circuit breaker malfunctions
  • Faulty light fixtures
  • Faulty switched and outlets
  • Melting plastic insulation from a electrical wiring fire
  • HVAC system electrical issues and malfunctions
  • Poorly installed electrical work

If you are experiencing house smells like burning rubber or plastic, it is important to identify the source and take action immediately.

What to Do With Smell of Plastic Burning in House

If your smelling electrical burning plastic, the first thing you should do is try to locate the source of the smell. This will help you determine the best course of action to take. Here are some steps you can take to address the smell of burning plastic:

  1. Turn Off Appliances and Electronics
    If the smell is coming from an appliance or electronic device, turn it off immediately and unplug it. This will prevent any further overheating or potential fire hazards.

  2. Check Electrical Outlets & Switches
    If the smell is coming from an electrical outlet, turn off the power to that outlet and unplug any devices that are connected to it. Contact an electrician to inspect the outlet and make any necessary repairs.

  3. Ventilate the Area
    If the smell is coming from a fire or burning plastic bags, open windows and doors to ventilate the area. This will help dissipate the fumes and reduce the risk of inhaling them.

  4. Call for Help
    If you smell fire but no fire is present or the smell is strong and you cannot locate the source, or if you suspect a fire, call 911 or call the fire department for help immediately. If a fire is not eminent this could also be a local licensed electrician, your landlord, or a professional to inspect your electrical system.

How to Prevent the Smell of Burning Plastic

The best way to deal with the smell of burning plastic is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to help you prevent the smell of burning plastic in your home or workplace:

  1. Properly Dispose of Plastic Items
    Do not burn plastic items, such as bags or packaging, in your fireplace or stove. This can release toxic fumes and cause a buildup of creosote, which can lead to a chimney fire.

  2. Keep Appliances and Electronics Clean
    Regularly clean and maintain your appliances and electronics to prevent them from overheating. This includes dusting and removing any debris that may be blocking vents or fans.

  3. Use Appliances and Electronics Properly
    Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and maintenance of your appliances and electronics. This will help prevent any malfunctions or overheating.

  4. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Make sure your home or workplace is equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These can alert you to potential hazards and give you time to address them before they become a bigger problem.

Steps to Eliminate the Odor of Melted Plastic in Your Home

  1. Identify the Source of the Odor
    When you notice the strong smell of melted plastic in your home, it's important to locate the source as soon as possible. Check all your appliances and electronics to see if any of them have overheated or if any plastic items have come into contact with heat sources. By identifying the source, you can take appropriate action to eliminate the odor.

  2. Ventilate the Area
    Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the affected area. This will help dissipate the odor and prevent it from lingering. Additionally, using fans or turning on the ventilation system can aid in removing the unpleasant smell.

  3. Remove the Melted Plastic
    If you find any melted plastic, carefully remove it from the heat source using heat-resistant gloves or tongs. Be cautious not to touch the hot plastic directly, as it can cause burns. Place the melted plastic in a heat-resistant container and dispose of it properly.

  4. Clean the Affected Surfaces
    Wipe down the surfaces that came into contact with the melted plastic using a damp cloth or sponge. You can use a mild detergent or a mixture of vinegar and water to help remove any residue. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbing too vigorously, as this may damage the surface.

  5. Neutralize the Odor
    To eliminate the lingering odor, you can try various methods. One option is to place bowls of white vinegar or baking soda around the area, as these substances can absorb odors. Alternatively, you can use odor-neutralizing sprays or air fresheners specifically designed to combat strong smells.

  6. Allow Time for Fresh Air
    After cleaning and neutralizing the odor, it's essential to give the area enough time to air out. Keep windows and doors open to push that burning plastic smell outside, if possible, and allow fresh air to circulate for a few hours or even overnight. This will help ensure that any remaining odor dissipates completely.

By following these steps, you can effectively eliminate the odor of melted plastic in your home and create a fresh and pleasant environment once again. Remember to always prioritize safety when dealing with melted plastic and consult professionals if needed.

Reduce Fire Hazards through Yearly Expert Electrical System Assessments:

Reducing fire hazards in your home is crucial for the safety of you and your family. One way to achieve this is by scheduling yearly electrical system assessments. These assessments are conducted by trained local electrician who will thoroughly inspect your electrical system to identify any potential issues or hazards.

During the assessment, the Fort Collins Electrician will check for outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, faulty outlets, flickering lights, and any other electrical problems that could pose a fire risk. They will also ensure that your electrical system is up to code and meets all safety standards.

By having these assessments done annually, you can catch any electrical issues before they become major problems. This proactive approach not only reduces the risk of fire but also helps to prevent costly electrical repairs down the line.

In addition to the assessments, it's important to practice good electrical safety habits in your home. Avoid overloading outlets, use surge protectors, and never leave appliances or electronics unattended while they are in use. It's also a good idea to regularly check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries as needed.

Remember, electrical fires can be devastating, but with proper precautions and regular assessments, you can significantly reduce the risk. Don't wait until it's too late – prioritize the safety of your home and loved ones by scheduling a yearly expert electrical system assessment today.


The smell of burning plastic is not only unpleasant, but it can also be a sign of a potentially dangerous situation. If you smell burning plastic, it is important to take action immediately to prevent any further hazards. By following the tips in this article, you can prevent the smell of burning plastic and keep your home or workplace safe. Remember, if you are ever unsure of the source of the smell or if you suspect a fire, call for help immediately.

Contact Titus Electrical Services

We specialize in residential home electrician services. If you are looking for an "electrician near me", or "Electrician Fort Collins CO", Titus Electrical is here to help. Our expertise in residential home electrical repair service and rewiring is vast. Reach out to us at 303-915-5771.