Cleaning Guides

Why Does My Oven Smell Bad?

Have you ever wanted to cook a delicious dinner, but that desire disappeared as soon as you opened your cooker? Instead, you ask yourself, “Why does my oven smell so bad?” and “If my oven smells this bad, should I cook in it?”.

It may smell like burnt food, plastic or even chemicals.

Yes, ovens sometimes stink, and there can be many reasons for that. In this article, we’ll cover different oven smells, their causes and how to eliminate them.

Can you use the oven when it smells bad?

A bad oven smell can be caused by many things, including a gas leak or an electrical problem. For those reasons alone, it’s generally only recommended to use your oven once you find out if there isn’t a more significant issue that needs to be addressed.

Of course, If the smell is due to food spillage or burnt food, it’s best to clean the oven before using it again to avoid further unpleasant odours.

In any case, it’s important to identify and address the source of the smell before using the oven to ensure your safety and the proper functioning of the appliance.

The oven smells like burning food

Unfortunately, the most common reason ovens smell is the lack of proper cleaning. Since most food contains some amount of fat, grime and food debris steadily build up inside the oven after each use. When preheating, this fat melts and turns into grease, which covers the oven’s interior.

Learn how to remove melted cheese from your toaster with our helpful guide.

Some deposits on the glass surfaces, for example, are obvious and easy to clean. But burnt food and greasy residue can often get trapped between oven racks and trays. That’s why the oven smells when turned on and can be a fire hazard.

The best way to get the burnt smell out of your oven is to remove all accessories like racks, trays and pans, and thoroughly clean all the grease off them.

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Oven smells like gas

If your oven smells like gas, that could pose a danger, and you need to take action. Contact your local oven repair engineer to benefit from a swift and professional consultation. However, not all smells are alarming. When we turn on the oven, it’s normal to detect a strange smell, which is caused by the combustion of gas at the burner and will go away within minutes.

Let’s clarify that natural gas is odourless and colourless, but manufacturers add a specific chemical in, so it smells like a rotten egg. This kind of gas smell differs entirely from the burned gas odour and can be dangerous.

If you catch your oven smelling like a rotten egg, there is a leak. You should leave your home without touching any electrical switches or extinguishing an open flame. Call 911 or your gas company, as they can send someone to check for leaks.

Schedule oven cleaning appointment.

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Schedule oven cleaning appointment.

Find out how!

Learn more

The oven smells like burning plastic

It’s important to stop using the oven immediately and investigate the source of the odour. The smell of burning plastic can be an indication of a serious problem, and continuing to use the stove could be dangerous.

Your oven may smell like burning plastic due to a melted plastic utensil or container that has accidentally come into contact with the heating element or a hot oven surface. To identify the source of the odour, turn off the oven and carefully inspect the interior, including the heating element and any accessories you have used in the oven recently.

If you do not find any plastic items or if the odour persists after removing the plastic item, it’s important to have the oven inspected by a professional. The smell could be caused by an electrical problem, such as a malfunctioning heating element or wiring. Continuing to use the oven when it smells like burning plastic could be dangerous, as it could lead to a fire or other serious damage.

New oven smell

You bought yourself a new oven, but when turned on, it smells like burning plastic or chemicals? That’s because of the insulation surrounding the oven cavity and its first exposure to heat. Also, this odour and the light oven smoke that may appear can be from the protective oil that manufacturers use in production.

To reduce the smell, you can try “burning in” your new oven by running it at a high temperature for a few hours before using it to cook food. This will help to burn off any residual manufacturing oils and materials and should help to reduce the smell.

Additionally, you can wipe down all the surfaces with the help of soapy water and a rag. Then run a proper burn-in cycle on the highest heat for 30 minutes. If the odour remains after the process, repeat the method a few more times.

If the smell persists for an extended period of time, or if you are concerned that it may be harmful, you should contact the manufacturer for assistance.

The oven smells like chemicals after cleaning

Cleaning an oven with the wrong products and following the wrong method can lead to a cooker coated with cleaning residue. Avoid the usage of ammonia or bleach-based products, as they leave behind chemical residue, which may reach the insulation. Once this happens, the oven can smell like chemicals when turned on.

It’s best not to take any risks with inappropriate cleaners and methods but to leave the chore in the hands of our professional oven cleaners. However, if you have used the wrong cleaning product and now your oven smells like chemicals when turned on, don’t worry! There are ways to naturally deodorise your oven and get rid of the bad oven smells.

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How to freshen up a smelly oven

There are several natural ways to remove odours from your oven without having to resort to harsh chemicals or cleaners. Here are three methods that you can try:

  • Lemon – Cut a lemon into several slices and place them on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C) and put the baking sheet with the lemon slices inside the oven for about 30 minutes. The heat from the oven will activate the lemon’s essential oils, which will help to neutralise any odours.
  • Bet on orange – It may seem too easy, but the citrus smell is fragrant. Similar to the lemon method, cut the fruit into slices and bake it for 10-15 minutes at the lowest temperature. This technique quickly removes the oven’s cleaner smell and emits a pleasant aroma, even when the oven has been turned off.
  • Deodorise with vanilla – Fill an oven-proof bowl with water and add one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius and place the bowl in the oven for an hour. Check it every 15 minutes and add more water if needed, as there will be evaporation going on.

This method will not only deodorise your oven, but the whole house and will last all day.

Once you’ve tried one of these methods, wipe down the interior of your oven with a damp cloth to remove any residual odours. The good news is that these methods are also helpful and handy when cooking fish and you want to get rid of the fishy smell in the oven.

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  • The most common reason ovens smell is the lack of proper cleaning.
  • If your oven smells like gas, that could pose a danger, and you need to take action.
  • Avoid the usage of ammonia or bleach-based products, as they leave behind chemical residue.


Does your oven smell bad? How did you take care of the problem? Jump in the comments below to let us know!

Image source: shutterstock / brizmaker 

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