Burnt Smell in a Whirlpool Dishwasher

The Whirlpool Corporation is an American company, headquartered in Benton Charter Township, Michigan. It produces and sells consumer appliances such as dishwashers worldwide. It offers both portable and built-in dishwashers that come with features that include sanitizing options and super-capacity tubs. If your dishwasher is producing a burning smell, try to locate the problem before contacting a service technician. You can repair minor issues with your dishwasher on your own.

Heating Coil

The heating coil can produce a burning smell if it's not working properly or if something falls on it. Disconnect your Whirlpool dishwasher from the power supply, and remove the lower rack. Examine the heating coil, and look for burned-out spots or cracks in the coil. If the coil is defective, order a new one from a Whirlpool parts dealer, since this component is difficult to fix. Check to see if a piece of plastic has melted onto the coil. Remove it.


If you smell an electrical burning smell, check the motor. The motor is located in the main housing of your Whirlpool dishwasher. Remove the power cord from the outlet, and remove the main access panel. Examine the motor. If it's corroded or burned out, it won't turn easily. If it does turn, keep turning it until it moves freely. The motor is stuck, which can happen if you don't use your dishwasher often. Obtain a new motor from a Whirlpool parts dealer if necessary.

Wiring/Door Switch

Bad wires or door switches can also produce a burning smell. Open up the main access panel, and examine all the wires inside your dishwasher, especially the ones that run along your door. If any of the connections are broken or burned out, replace them. Examine the door switch, especially if your dishwasher won't start. Depending on the age of your Whirlpool dishwasher, the switch will either look like a small black box, or it will have a plastic component on one end and wires hanging from it. If the part is burned out, purchase a new one.

Additional Issues

The water spinners are located inside the tub. These spinners can get clogged with dirt and debris, which can produce a burning smell. Clean out the spinners, using a toothpick. Check the rubber seals that run around the door, and the insulation material as well. If these components are defective, they can overheat, creating an odor. Replace the seals and insulation. While it's not a common problem, these components can catch on fire if they get too hot. See if the main circuit board is burnt out. If so, contact a service repair person to help you with this repair.