How to Prevent Your Air Purifier From Smelling Bad
Many people don’t realize that air purifiers smelling bad can be prevented.
This happens because the filters get clogged with dust and other particles, making it difficult for the unit to do its job correctly.
But where to start?
Through this article, you’ll discover:
We’ll give you some tips on how to prevent your air purifier from emitting an odor so that you can enjoy cleaner and healthier air in your home.
Why Do Air Purifiers Smell?
There’s nothing more unpleasant than a foul smell. Many people don’t realize that air purifiers can emit an odor¹, especially when the unit is new and hasn’t been used much yet.
This happens because many of these units come with reusable filters, which get clogged with dust and other particles over time.
When this happens, the air purifier cannot draw in as much air as it normally would be able to, which reduces its overall effectiveness.
Many people try to prolong their filter’s lifespan by allowing items like pet hair or dead insects to build upon them before cleaning them out.
However, they’re making a mistake because these things will only add more particles² to the filter and make it harder for the air purifier to work properly.
Air Purifier Smells Like Burning Plastic
An air purifier that smells like burning plastic is a sign of trouble. This typically means there’s something wrong with the motor, which will have to be replaced for your unit to work properly again.
It usually takes some time before you notice this smell. It tends to make itself more apparent when the device is running at its highest setting, or while it’s cleaning heavily polluted areas (like rooms filled with cigarette smoke).
If an odor starts coming from one particular area and not others, even if the same machine is cleaning those other areas, then chances are you need to replace your motor.
If the smell is coming from your motor, it likely means that there’s a wiring problem. This happens because dust and other particles get into the machine and accumulate near its electrical components over time.
This eventually causes parts of them to corrode or short-circuit, which in turn leads to an unpleasant burning odor.
Sometimes when a unit’s light bulbs get older, they start to emit odors which are usually compared to the smell of burning hair or sulfuric acid³.
This typically happens because these old lamps have been used for so long that their internal filaments have worn down significantly as a result.
This means that there won’t be much in terms of resistance anymore between them, and the electricity passing through them will cause parts of those filaments to melt-down more easily than before.
If you notice your machine has started emitting such an odor, then chances are it needs new UV lamps⁴ altogether (especially if one particular part seems particularly bad).
When getting replacement lights, make sure you get the correct ones for your model.
Air Purifier Smells Like Plastic
An air purifier that emits a smell like plastic is another indication of trouble. This typically happens because there’s some build-up inside the machine, and it’s unable to draw in as much air as it would normally. This causes additional stress on its internal parts (like fans or motors).
Many people try to prevent this by cleaning their filters regularly with soap water, however, this only worsens because particles will start building up within the unit itself instead and make matters even worse than before.
Suppose you notice your machine has started emitting such an odor. In that case, chances are something needs replacing internally.
Most likely one of those units mentioned above (motor/fan) or perhaps even more if the problem is particularly bad.
The Filter Is Dirty
Sometimes when you turn on your machine, it’ll start emitting an odor that reminds people of the smell coming from their vacuum cleaner or dust buster.
This typically happens because there’s some build-up inside your unit and its filters are unable to draw in as much air as they normally would be able to do so.
This can happen if you’ve been neglecting your machine for too long (usually several months). It takes time before particles accumulate enough within a device to block airflow entirely.
Still, once those levels get high enough, then odors will start becoming more noticeable even at lower settings.
If you notice such an odor starting to come from your unit, it’s a good indication that you need to clean its filters.
Usually, this means taking the whole device apart and washing all of its parts with soap water, or other detergents.
If there are too many parts inside for any one person to handle by themselves (like in really old units), then chances are they’ll have no choice but to replace their filter entirely.
Air Purifier Smells Like Chlorine
When an air purifier emits a smell like chlorine⁵, this typically means that its carbon filter is starting to reach the end of its life.
This happens because these filters can only remove certain types of particles from the air, and as time goes on, they become less efficient at doing so (especially with more common elements found in smoke).
If your unit starts emitting such an odor, then it’s time you check whether or not you need to replace your carbon filter⁶ altogether.
If left unchecked for too long, there’ll come the point where your machine will start making no difference whatsoever between clean and polluted air, which isn’t good news, especially since most people turn their devices up higher when they notice problems going on inside them.
Air Purifier Smells Like Wet Dog
If your unit smells like wet dog and you’ve already tried cleaning the filters, then it’s a good idea to check if there’s anything else wrong with it (especially since this is one of those odors that tends to stick around for months).
One possibility might be that water has gotten inside somehow. This happens when someone washes their filter out too aggressively or doesn’t let them dry completely before putting them away again.
If left unchecked in such conditions, mold⁷ will start growing, emitting a very unpleasant smell that reminds people of wet dogs.
If the problem is really bad, then chances are you’re going to have no choice but to get rid of your filter entirely.
If it’s only small patches here and there, then try cleaning them off with vinegar or another cleaner before letting everything dry out for the unit itself not to sustain any permanent damage.
Air Purifier Sweet Strange Smell
Sometimes when you turn on an air purifier, it might start emitting a very sweet and strange smell, this can happen if the unit has been used for several months without being cleaned or put away properly.
Usually, what happens is that over time dirt starts building up within its filters, which makes them less efficient at their job (usually around the same rate as your carbon filter does).
As such, the chances are good that there’s a lot of junk in there.
However, even though you’ll notice things getting better thanks to improved airflow from new filters, unless they’re completely replaced with a brand new one, the odor will keep coming back after about two weeks or so.
How to Get Rid of Air Purifier Smell?
If your unit is still under warranty⁸, then it’s a good idea to contact the company and see if they can send someone out to help you get rid of the smell.
Alternatively, there are some things that you can do on your own.
One such solution would be using an odor remover like Febreze⁹ or other similar products designed for use with air purifiers.
Keep in mind that these will only work temporarily since even though they’ll probably take care of the issue right away, the chances are high that after about two weeks (or less) things will start smelling bad again, especially once dirt starts accumulating within new filters.
Another way to go might be trying to clean all of its parts yourself by taking them apart, and washing everything with soap and water.
This, however, is not something that you should try doing on your own unless you’re very confident in what you’re doing.
This will likely void its warranty as well, so be aware of any consequences before deciding to go with whatever solution seems best to deal with the problem at hand.
How Often Should I Clean My Air Purifier?
It depends on the type of unit you have. Usually, most companies recommend cleaning it after about two or three months.
How Do I Know When to Replace Filters for Air Purifiers?
You’ll notice that airflow starts becoming less effective after a while, this is the best sign to go with for you to know when it’s time.
How Do I Maintain My Air Purifier?
Maintaining your air purifier is easy and will leave you with a clean filter. Simply take out the filters, wash them in warm water, let them dry completely before putting them back into the unit.
How Do I Keep My Air Purifier Smelling Fresh?
Prevention is always better than cure. Make sure you wipe your air purifiers every once in a while so that there’s no dirt or dust building up within the unit itself.
This way, it will not only keep working at optimal levels but also prevent smells from occurring.
If you want to make sure your air purifier smells good, keep it clean. This means changing the filter regularly and cleaning any other unit components that may have collected dust or debris.
The more often you follow these above steps, the more likely the chance that you can prevent your air purifier from smelling bad.