Why Does My New Grill Smells like Plastic. Tips and Tricks

  • By: Peter Allen
  • Date: 10/16/2020
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Brand new grills often come with an off-putting plastic smell that refuses to go away when you attempt to deodorize the interior surfaces. Fortunately, there are a bunch of chemical-free methods of removing this offending odor without spending much money or risking the safety of your food.

It doesn’t matter how profound the odor is, just apply one of these odor removal methods and your grill will be ready for its first-ever cooking session:

  • Grill seasoning
  • Citrus-fruit-based freshening
  • DIY solution-based freshening

Grill Seasoning

Grill seasoning is the first thing you would do to prepare your grill for the first cooking assignment whether it is odorless or came with those unwanted manufacturer’s odors. The purpose of grill seasoning is to expose the grill and it’s interior to high temperatures hot enough to burn up and eliminate pieces of plastic and other debris that may have been left there by the manufacturer.

The process is simple and straightforward:

Ensure that the grill is installed in a correct position such that maximum oxygen can flow into the vents

Get yourself any high-heating cooking spray – canola spray would be great

If the grill is propane/gas-powered, connect it to the inlet, otherwise add sufficient charcoal or wood pellets


Start by spraying the dry grill with plenty of a high-heating cooking spray – canola spray in this case – and move away from the can

Start the fire by lighting the charcoal/wood pellets or turning on the gas and let into burning freely with nothing else on the grill for 15 minutes until all of your oil has been exhausted.

After 15 minutes, switch off the heat and let the grill lie open to cool off and expel hot air

The offending plastic smell should be no more at this point. It persists, you will need to apply this method with one of the citrus fruit-based methods or DIY methods below.

NOTE: Remember to read and understand the grill’s manual first before seasoning it. Those models with grates made from Porcelain enamel don’t require seasoning. So, you will simply proceed to the methods below to remove the unwanted smell.

Citrus Fruit-Based Odor Removers

Wipe Down the Grill with Vanilla

Apart from smelling like grandma’s house, Vanilla can be one of the best remedies against any smell you don’t like, the smell of plastic from your outdoor grill is one of them. Sprinkling the dirty and smelly grates of any grill with vanilla before heating it for thirty minutes can return the interior in mint conditions, smelling as fresh as ever. You can do the same to a brand new grill to remove the plastic smell.

Method 1: Take a small bowl, fill it with water about halfway, and add one tablespoonful (that’s about 6 ml) of vanilla extract. Just add 10 drops of your vanilla essential oil if you can’t use a spoon. Next, dip a dry and clean cloth in your bowl of vanilla then remove and wring out all the excess water. Use the damp cloth to wipe the grates and the interior parts of the new grill. Return the cloth in the bowl and repeat the process several times. Now switch on the gas supply or add some wood or charcoal in the grill and heat it for about 15 minutes.

Method 2: Rather than wipe the interior with vanilla and then heat it, you can opt to roast it right on the new grill so that the smell of vanilla sticks there for a while. Start by preheating your new grill for about 15 to 20 minutes. Fill a small microwavable baking dish with about an inch of water (2.5 cm) and sprinkle it with one tablespoonful of vanilla extract. Take a price of cloth, soak it in the dish, and sprinkle the solution on the grate without wringing. Remember to check it once every 8-10 minutes to add more sprinkles of vanilla. The vapor from the solution is expected to concentrate on the interior of the grill for some time after heating before eliminating all the plastic smell.

Going The Lemon Route

Lemons don’t smell as bitter as they taste. What makes them perfect for removing odors from your grill is not the appeal factor of their smell, but the tendency of it to linger around for long and remove the odors you dislike. Another benefit is that Lemon is good at removing grease. This means you will be removing the offending plastic smell and the manufacturer’s leftover greases in one sweep. To be honest, I like the smell of Lemons big time, and I hope you do too. So I expect to you enjoy this method more than you would have had with vinegar.

Start by preheating your grill for about 15 minutes. Cut 2 lemons in halves and squeeze out the juice into a clean baking dish. Pour about an inch (or 2.5 cm) of water in the dish and add the halves of your Lemons. Wait for the grill to get hot then use a piece of clean dry cloth to dip in the solution and transfer sprinkles on the grate of your grill. Let the grill keep heating for 20 minutes. Withdraw the heat and let the smell of lemon stick on the surfaces and get rid of the plastic odor from your grill for about 6 hours. It should be in a position to cook your food without unwanted smell at this point.

Bake A Few Fresh Oranges in There

Another great way of eliminating the plastic smell is to roast a few fresh oranges on your new grill. Both oranges and lemons are citrus fruits, except that the smell of oranges is more welcoming. So, if you don’t fancy Lemons for some reason, consider using a few oranges for the job. Here is how to go about it.

Start by heating your new grill to high temperatures, about 121 degrees Celsius. Proceed to peel the oranges using the knife or bare hands – whichever works for you – but remember to get rid of the juice; we need to use the flesh. Now take the flesh and place it a clean baking sheet to begin baking. Close the door of the grill and leave the oranges baking for about 30 minutes. Once the baking is complete, open the grill and let the excess odor escape it.

You are free to use any citrus fruit of your choosing – pretty all citrus fruits are good at removing bad odors from any surface. Better yet, a combination of two or more citrus fruits (grapefruit + limes + lemons, etc.) can produce better than one.

If you don’t have any citrus fruit with you, vinegar can be a better option. Just add 240 ml or a half cupful of white vinegar in your grill-safe bowl, heat it for about 15 minutes at a lower temperature, between 90 degrees and 100 degrees to give the oranges ample time to designate the smell to the rest of the grill’s surface. That’s enough to get rid of the problem – you will have a nice time using your grill thereafter, completely free from plastic smells.

Remove Plastic Odors Without Using Any DIY Grill Cleaner

Using DIY Cleaning Solutions

Removing smells from your grill should not be an expensive affair. You can make your home-based cleaning solutions and odor removers that will remove smells as perfectly as commercial solutions. Here are some of the solutions you can create using ingredients already available in your kitchen, outdoor, or laundry room:

Lemon + Salt solution – add a half cupful of lemon juice in a dish containing 140 grams of table salt

Baking soda paste – mix 110 grams of baking soda with just enough cold water in a dish. Stir them to create a uniform solution.

Baking soda + soap – mix a cup of fresh baking soda (about 220 grams) with 1-1/4 cup of castile soap (60 ml), and half a cup table salt (about 140grams)

Remove the racks and soak the interior

After preparing your DIY cleaning solution, the next step on the list is to remove the racks and soak the interior with a clean cloth dampened with your cleaning solution. Remove the racks and place them on a larger piece of cloth dampened with the DIY solution. Because the racks can be large in size, you will place them in the bathtub or any other large-size container on your home. The towel is meant to protect the racks from your new grill from scratches. Pour hot water on the racks and add some of your home-made cleaners.

Once you have ascertained that the racks are clean, empty your bathtub or any container you are using and rinse both of them with clean fresh water.

Leave them to soak for about 2 hours then scrub their surfaces with a clean non-abrasive pad to remove any solid parts

Once they are clean, remove water from the tab and rinse the racks with clean water. Proceed to dry them with a piece of dry cloth.

Spread the paste all the great and the rest of the interior of your grill. Use a clean and damp piece of cloth to spread it as you rub the surface. Do it until the whole of the interior is coated with a thin layer of the cleaner.

Let the paste stay in the grill overnight to get rid of the odors. If you can’t wait that long, just let it stay there as long as you can wait before scrubbing it off using a dry piece of cloth.

Scrub the grill. At this time, the paste has dried up and removed much of the offending plastic odors. Use a dry sponge or cloth to remove any remaining paste.

Go back in the grill and scrub off the areas that require more work.

Once you got rid of the paste, spray the interior with fresh white vinegar. This is to activate any remains of baking soda. Wipe the surface again to remove to return your grill to the mint state.

Now replace the racks and prepare to cook your first meal.


It is perfectly normal for grills to come smelling like polythene papers. This plastic-like smell can be off-putting to some homeowners. Also, it wouldn’t be great to make your first meal without eliminating this smell as it may stick to your food and ruin your dining experience. For that reason, the first thing you should do is to employ any of the five popular methods of odor removal on kitchenware.

The first option for any heat controlled appliance – bet it a microwave, toaster, or grill – is the grill seasoning method. Contrary to what it may sound like, grill seasoning does not require the use of any seasoning materials. Instead, we simply heat the grill without anything on the grate so that the debris that the manufacturer may have left inside is burnt out and eliminated. Connect your grill to the power supply or gas inlet and let it heat up to any temperature between 400°F and 550°F for thirty minutes. Repeat this process twice if the smell persists. Some extreme cases may necessitate a combo on the Burn-in Method and any other citrus fruit-based odor removal methods. You can heat a few slices of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, or any other citrus fruit at your disposal. Better yet, you can combine it with vanilla or vinegar-based cleaning methods as explained above.

Perhaps the easiest way around it is to prepare your DIY cleaning solution using baking soda. The DIY route is the cheapest way of trying to clean and remove odors from your grill. It is as perfect as most of the citrus fruit-based odor removal methods. However, this method can be time-consuming and labor-intensive on your part.

Believe it or not, sometimes the plastic smell may originate from the sealants and other fixtures used to hold the interior parts and the grate together as a unit during shipping or transportation so that they don’t fall.