How To Fix Dishwasher Burning Smell During Wash Cycle (Step-By-Step)

If you notice a dishwasher burning smell and it’s not working, the most important step is to pinpoint the root cause immediately.

You don’t want to delay this issue or attempt to run the dishwasher again.

The same goes for those who want to learn how to fix dishwasher burning smell during a wash cycle.

If there’s a dishwasher burning smell during the wash cycle, this means the heating element is malfunctioning. The reasons can include trapped debris pressing against the element, a dying heating element, or a damaged motor. To fix this issue, open the dishwasher door, remove the bottom rack, and remove the trapped debris. If this doesn’t work, replace the heating element.

Do not attempt to use the dishwasher when it produces a burning smell.

In most cases, there is an underlying problem leading to this type of smell. If you attempt to run the dishwasher, it can blow out and stop working entirely.

This article will provide a step-by-step look at what to do with a dishwasher burning smell during the wash cycle.

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Steps On Fixing Dishwasher Burning Smell During Wash Cycle

1. Open The Dishwasher Door

If you notice the dishwasher smoking during a wash cycle, it’s important to stop the appliance immediately.

Don’t continue to run it.

Now, you are going to want to drain the dishwasher and then open the door to see what’s going on inside.

The goal is to access the bottom of the dishwasher to get as close to the heating element as possible. In most cases, you will not have to replace the dishwasher heating element and it is more about getting rid of the trapped debris inside.

Take your time and look around inside the dishwasher.

dishwasher burning smell during wash cycle

2. Remove Bottom Rack

To get a proper look, you will have to remove the bottom rack.

This will allow you to get to the bottom of the dishwasher and work your way around to see where the trapped debris is.

Of course, it is not guaranteed for trapped debris to be there.

However, your goal has to be to remove the bottom rack and get a proper look.

When taking out the bottom rack, make sure to put it away safely. You will need to have it back in place to run the dishwasher.

3. Look For & Remove Trapped Debris

Now it’s time to begin working on the fix.

In this step, you are going to look at the bottom of the dishwasher and see if anything is trapped inside the drain.

The main issue is that when something gets trapped in the drain, it might not pass through. It will get stuck somewhere in between leading it to press against the heating element underneath.

The heating element sits right inside the bottom panel.

While you won’t be able to access the heating element itself, you can still take out any wedged debris.

Look for trapped plastic or anything else that might press against the heating element. When this happens, the heating element burns and produces this smoking smell.

dishwasher burning smell during wash cycle

4. Replace The Heating Element (If Necessary)

This is only to be done as a last resort.

In older dishwashers, you might have a case of the heating element dying. This can happen and the most important step is to be patient.

You have to analyze whether or not the heating element is malfunctioning. If it is, you will need to replace it immediately.

Take your time, remove the dishwasher, and access the bottom panel by unscrewing it. Once the dishwasher is out, lay it on its back, and access the heating element underneath.

It should be screwed into place.

You can unscrew it and take a look at what’s wrong with the heating element. Please note, that this should only be done when the water and power are off.

Can The Motor Burn Out On Dishwasher?

The motor can burn out on a dishwasher and it’s common for this to occur when the circuit is overloaded or the appliance itself is aged. If there’s a burning smell and the motor begins humming, this is a sign it’s about to die.

Final Thoughts

These are the details to think about with a dishwasher burning smell during the wash cycle.

If a dishwasher has a burning smell during the wash cycle, this means the heating element is damaged, debris is trapped against the element, or the motor has about to die. To fix the issue, access the drain inside, and remove the trapped debris. If it’s a damaged motor or heating element, you will need to replace them.

Take your time diagnosing the dishwasher before finding a solution.

Always start with the trapped debris and then work your way towards a more expensive repair.

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