It happens — a plastic food container lid or a cooking utensil falls out of the top rack of your dishwasher and lands of the heating coil. It happened to blogger Jean of “Yikes Money.” She wrote a good tutorial on how to she removed the melted plastic from her dishwasher’s heating coil and it might help you.
One word of caution: be extremely careful when scraping off any hot melted plastic on a hot heating coil as it’s very easy to burn yourself.
Another article recommends letting the heating element cool completely before attempting to chip the melted plastic off the element using a plastic paint scrapper or other nonmetal tool.
Sometimes the plastic cannot be removed or the element becomes damaged during the process. If that’s the case, a new dishwasher heating element can be bought (price $30 – $40 and up) and installed fairly easily, after disconnecting the water line, drain line and electric from your dishwasher and removing it from underneath the counter.
You will need to do this in order to access the locknuts that hold the element in place which are on the bottom of the dishwasher, beneath the tub. In several dishwasher repair videos on YouTube, this is done by removing the dishwasher from underneath the cabinet and flipping it over to reach the locknuts and to connect the end of the terminals to the needed wires.
What’s the best method you have found to remove melted plastic from your dishwasher?