One of the worst smells to fill your home is melting plastic. It's one of those smells that you can identify right away. When it's a plastic utensil that has fallen down in the dishwasher, you are left with the task of removing the melted plastic from the element. It's not really that hard but if you don't take your time and do a really good job, you may leave a residue that will smell up the house again the next time you use the dishwasher.
Take the dishes out of the racks and the racks out of the dishwasher.
Break off as much of the plastic as you can from the element. Be careful not to pull the element out of its socket or lean on it and break it.
Carefully scrape off as much as you can with a razor blade. Do not make any gouges in the element or you may damage it.
Make a paste with baking soda and water. Dip the steel wool in the paste and rub the element with the steel wool. If you wrap the steel wool all the way around the element, you can get most of it all at once.
Wash the baking soda paste and released plastic off the element with some dish soap and warm water. Next time you run the dishwasher, add a little baking soda to the soap dispenser and it will take out the rest of the odor.