Why Does My Air Fryer Smell Like Burning Plastic? 10 Solutions to get rid of it forever!

An air fryer has become so popular that it’s found in almost all kitchens. It cooks faster and the food comes out healthier than if a deep frying method is used or other kitchen appliances. This is because it uses less fat. Unfortunately, new air fryers have a characteristic smell of burning plastic. This smell is not good for your food and health.

According to 16 hours of research, we got 10 solutions from specialists, the science of plastic, and many food lovers.

You will know this knowledge from this article:

  • Why do air fryers smell like burning plastic?
  • Is the burning plastic smell toxic? How will it affect our health?
  • 10 Solutions to get rid of the burning plastic smell.
  • Best air fryers that won’t smell like plastic.
  • 5 solutions to prevent the plastic smell forever.

If you want to learn how to eliminate this smell and keep your air fryer odor-free, read on.

Why does my air fryer smell like burning plastic?

air fryer 8 chicken wings in the plastic smell

Does your air fryer smell like plastic? This smell is quite embarrassing because it will be passed on to your food. One of the leading causes of this smell is the plastic coating on the air fryer. If your air fryer is new, there’s a high chance that the plastic smell is coming from the plastic protective coating components on it.

As this coating burns, the smell will come out strongly. If this is what’s causing the burning plastic smell, then you need not worry. Just continue using it normally, and the smell will eventually fade away.

Another cause of the plastic smell in an air fryer is the heating element and the other mechanical parts of the tool, like the venting fan. Some of these parts are made of plastic. When they overheat during normal usage, they’ll produce that strong, burning plastic smell that everyone will complain about.

The burning plastic smell coming from your air fryer could also be because your air fryer has malfunctioned, particularly when the power cord is damaged. Nothing can last forever, and your air fryer isn’t an exception.

The power cord is covered in plastic, which can get burned when the cord is damaged. The smell could also come from any other plastic part of the air fryer that’s getting heated as a result of the malfunctioning of the device. 

If the heating element has failed, your air fryer may overheat. This problem is not only inconvenient because of the plastic smell, but it’s also dangerous. Overheating can blow your air fryer’s fuse and reduce its lifespan dramatically. If you suspect this is the main cause of the strong plastic smell from your air fryer, stop using it to prevent accidents or further damage.

Lastly, the smell coming from your air fryer could be because you are not cleaning it properly. For example, if the heating element has some food on it, the food will burn and produce that strong smell.

Is the plastic smell of air fryers toxic?

air fryer 3chicken wings non toxic

Any burning substance produces smoke, and the smoke isn’t good for your health. In nearly all cases, the plastic used in making air fryers, polycarbonate, is heat resistant. Polycarbonate is non-toxic, safe, and heat-resistant. Other materials used in making air fryers are glass, stainless steel, and ceramic. 

The plastics used to make air fryers are chosen because they are strong and durable, meaning they don’t easily break down into tiny microplastics. However, when these plastics burn, they produce toxic fumes. That’s why when you feel that burning plastic smell coming from your air fryer, you need to find its source.

How will the burning plastic smell affect your health?

You may not know it, but there are many harmful compounds that come from burning plastics. Researchers have found that plastics may contain compounds such as BPA, PTFE, PFOA, and PVC.

Bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA has been used to make plastics for decades. People are becoming concerned about this compound because it has serious health effects. This compound can affect your brain, and it can affect the prostate glands of children, infants, and fetuses.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

PTFE is mainly used for coating pans and pots to make them non-stick. This compound is non-toxic unless it is overheated to 572 °F or above. This compound is also used in wire insulation.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

PFOA is used to manufacture scratch, stain, and scratch-resistant cookware. This compound is associated with thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and developmental problems in fetuses.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

PVC emits harmful toxins like cadmium, phthalates, and lead.

If any of the compounds mentioned above find their way into your air fryer, they may harm you and your loved ones.

Now you have known the reasons and effects of the burning plastic smell, let's study how to get rid of that smell, and we will introduce 5 ways to prevent the smell in the future, don't miss them out, reading them carefully which related to your health!

10 solutions to get rid of air fryer smells

The best methods to rid your air fryer of bad odor include:

  • Cycle your air fryer at high temperatures without food

Make your new air fryer work without food several times. If the smell still persists, check if there’s any plastic still remaining in your air fryer. If that’s the case, all you can do is continue using it normally until the plastic smell fades off. Check for any traces of plastic on the lid and racks, and also the heating element. If you notice any loose plastic, you can wash them off. 

  • Use lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar

Lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar are among the best chemicals to use for all your household cleaning needs. It’s most likely that you already have one or more of these chemicals in your kitchen. These chemicals do not contain toxins and are the most effective for eliminating stains and odors.

  • Use aluminum foil as air fryer liners

Sometimes your air fryer could be producing a foul plastic smell because it absorbs the smell from the foods you cook. Putting aluminum foil in the basket can stop the smell from building up.

  • Preheating the food

Preheating food is another good way of eliminating bad smells from your air fryer. Preheating may sound simple, but it’s among the best ways to eliminate the smell of burned plastic from your air fryer. Preheating will make all the difference.

  • Use kitchen cleaner tools
how to clean air fryer

Another safe product for eliminating the foul smell clean the air fryer regularly. It’s readily available on the market and is designed specifically to clean cookware and other kitchen tools. You can start by using ordinary dish soap and a damp microfiber cloth to clean the microfiber before using the kitchen cleaner. 

Wipe the entire inside of the air fryer and rinse well before drying with a clean cloth. This should suffice to remove bad odors, dirt, and any traces of burnt plastic. You can use a kitchen cleaner such as ammonia-based liquids. 

  • Using Baking soda

Baking soda is an excellent stain and odor remover. It has been used for many years to clean appliances and surfaces because of its excellent ability to remove contaminants. First, you can remove any removable parts of your air fryer and wash them separately. Next, make a paste of baking soda and water and use it to clean the inside of the air fryer using a brush or soft cloth. Rinse well with clean water and allow it to dry. 

  • Wash the basket and other components

The basket is the part of the air fryer where food is placed. It accumulates dirt that can cause a bad odor. When your air fryer is smelling bad, start by cleaning the basket and other components you suspect to be dirty. Always keep the air fryer clean.

  • Replace it with a glass air fryer.

Glass doesn’t break as much as plastic. If the smell from your air fryer is persistent, you can consider replacing it with a glass. Glass is easy to clean and doesn’t allow food particles to stick to it easily. For this reason, it’s not likely to produce a bad smell. However, even if you have a glass air fryer, you’ll still have to keep it clean. 

  • Use the air fryer the right way.

To prevent a foul smell from your air fryer, use it the right way and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, there are certain foods you should not cook in an air fryer. Also, remember not to put food that is dripping wet into the air fryer.

  • Grease the basket before using the air fryer.

As already mentioned, the basket is the part where food is placed. For this reason, food particles are likely to stick to it. To prevent that from happening, you can grease it before using it. Apply some cooking oil to it, then heat it in an oven. Allow it to cool, then wipe off excess oil. 

Don't want to get in the trouble of plastic smell? You can choose an air fryer that will never smell like plastic directly!

Air fryers that don’t smell like plastic

To totally eliminate the plastic smell from your kitchen, you can use any of these plastic-free air fryers. 

Aria Teflon-Free 7 Qt. Premium Ceramic Air Fryer


This premium ceramic air fryer is the perfect addition to your kitchen. It is an all-in-one device with a deep fryer, microwave, conventional oven, and toaster. This appliance is healthy to use because it reduces the amount of fat you use for cooking by about 80%.

The greatest advantage of this device is that it cooks faster. It will take only a few seconds to reach a temperature of 400 degrees. This is because it uses a very powerful heating technology not found in conventional microwave ovens or even conventional ovens. Besides, it’s safe to use because it’s BPA-free, PFOA-free, and PTFE-free.

Big Boss Glass Air Fryer 16 Quart

The Big Boss Glass Air Fryer is a healthier, oil-free choice for your cooking. This 16-quart air fryer is large enough to cook a family meal, and it comes with a cookbook with over 50 mouth-watering recipes. It offers a wide temperature range, from 180-400F, meaning you can use it to cook a variety of foods. 

You can use it to toast, roast, grill, bake, or air fry food. One thing you’ll love about this air fryer is that its oven offers adjustable temperature and time control supported by an in-built technology to ensure you get delicious results with all types of food, including vegetables, seafood, and meat, just to name a few.  

COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT


The COSORI Air Fryer is the best cooking appliance you can ever have in your kitchen, it has the highest sales volume on the market. His tool offers a stress-free cooking experience because it’s highly efficient. It has an NTC sensor that will send you accurate information about it for perfect results. 

It automatically adjusts the temperature if it fluctuates beyond 5 F to ensure the food cooks evenly. With its 5.8 quart basket, you can prepare a meal for up to five people at once. This appliance will reduce your cooking time by up to 50% while reducing your oil use by up to 85% without compromising the crispiness of the food.

How to prevent the plastic smell in the future 

Eliminating bad odors from your air fryer is an acrid process. Once you eliminate the smell, you need to take the necessary steps to prevent your air fryer from smelling plastic again. Some of the steps you can take include:

Break in your air fryer.

Run your air fryer without food for a few cycles. This allows the plastic both outside and inside the air fryer to heat up and release all the bad plastic fumes. To break in your air fryer, take the separator tray and basket and place them in the air fryer. Set the appliance to 350-400 degrees and let it run without food for about 15 minutes, then allow it to cool. You can repeat the process up to four times if you have the time. This will not only burn the pastries in the air fryer but also all other food particles. It may cause a bad smell. 

Prime or season the basket or grease separator tray 

Before you start using your air fryer after breaking it, you need to coat its grease separator and basket with a layer of oil. Just take your regular cooking oil and use it to grease your basket. Take a paper towel, dampen it with the oil, and use it to coat the grease separator and the basket with it. 

Set the air fryer to 350-400 degrees and run it for about 15 minutes. Allow it to cool, then remove the basket and the grease-sprayed side and repeat the process. Once you are done, wipe off any excess oil from the basket and the grease separator tray, wash them with soapy water, and allow them to dry.

Use vinegar and lime juice as a Steam bath  

Mix one tablespoon each of lime juice and distilled vinegar in an oven-safe dish, then put it in your air fryer basket. Allow the air fryer to heat at a temperature of between 350 and 400 degrees for about three minutes. Allow it to cool with the mixture still inside for about 15 minutes. Wash your air fryer with clean water and allow it to dry.

Avoid grease build-up

You should come up with a cleaning program for your air fryer to prevent grease buildup. Grease is also one of the causes of the bad odor that emanates from air fryers. You can use any of the other chemicals already suggested to clean the air fryer. 

Use an odor-free air fryer.

Odor-free air fryers are the best when you are concerned with air fryer smells. The three leading odor-free air fryers are the Aria Teflon-Free Premium Ceramic Air Fryer, Big Boss Air Fryer, and COSORI Air Fryer. Before you buy an air fryer, find out whether or not it’s odor-free. 


How to get the fish smell out of an air fryer

If the smell of fish is very strong, you can use lemon juice and vinegar to eliminate it. Mix two parts water, one part vinegar, and one part lemon juice in an oven-safe bowl and put it in your air fryer. Set your air fryer to 300°F and let it run for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, then wipe it clean. You can repeat the process to eliminate any stubborn fish smell. 


The plastic or fishy smell that comes from your air fryer can be a great embarrassment if it interferes with the taste of your food. Fortunately, you can use the 10 methods discussed above to eliminate this smell. Alternatively, you can buy one of the odor-free air fryers mentioned.

You can leave a comment here if you still have the plastic smell ununremoved

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