Why Does My Dyson Air Purifier Smell Bad?

Once you have tasted the result of an air purifier, you cannot go back. And Dyson air purifiers are one of the best in the business. So, if anyone comes and asks, “why does my Dyson air purifier smell bad” what do you tell them?

The culprit for the foul smell, in most cases, is an overly used, unclean carbon filter. You’ll know it by the sour smell. But there are other smells like burnt wire, plastic, chlorine, etc.

Are they supposed to smell?

No, they aren’t supposed to smell, but it happens, and not only to Dyson.

So, what causes these foul smells? How do you prevent and get rid of them? If you are asking these questions, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for all the answers and more.

5 Common Annoying Smells from Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can give off various foul smells. Some are tolerable and easy to manage, while others can be suffocating. Any abnormal smell means your air purifier is malfunctioning. But to decide on the solution, identifying the smell is important. Take a look at the list below, and sniff out the one you’re facing.

1. Dusty smell

This is the most common odor you’d be experiencing, no matter what brand of air purifiers you’re using. However, you shouldn’t be getting any dusty smell from a brand-new air purifier. If that’s not the case, call the dealer and ask for a refund.

The old and used air purifiers will eventually start smelling like dust because of the HEPA filter. It’s constantly trapping dust and dander to keep your air clean.

But where are these going? Nowhere unless you clean the filter. Week after week, the filter is collecting dust. At one point, it will be too much, and the collected dust will come out from the air purifier and give an intense dusty smell.


Take out the HEPA filter and clean it. A simple wash and dry will be enough. You’ll also need to take out the carbon filter. The next point will talk about why it’s necessary.

2. Sourness

If your Dyson air purifier has a carbon filter, you’ll encounter this smell eventually. The sour smell is annoying, and a lack of maintenance causes it. Yes, it only happens if you’re too lazy to change out the filter.

The odor particles rack on the filter and fill up the pores. And at one point, it will produce a sour smell. But it’s not only the odor particles. The gasses trapped on the surface of the filter are responsible for much of the odor.

A few chemical gasses that get trapped on the surface are from the carboxyl and lactone groups. These groups containing oxygen are the core elements for developing acids like acetic acid.

As the filter continues filtering out these gasses, they build up on it. Eventually, they fall off and mix with the environment’s oxygen to create acetic acid. And that is where you get the sour smell.


Don’t overuse your air purifier by running it 24/7. It will delay the eventual breakdown of the filter. Replace the filter after 4-5 months if you don’t want to start smelling sourness in the air.

Moreover, to get rid of the sour smell, here’s what you can do;

  • Replace the filter
  • Wash it every month to get rid of the filtered elements
  • Open your windows and doors so that the smell can exit the house
  • Maintain good airflow to reduce the effect of humidity

3. Plastic smell

This is another very common smell from air purifiers. Most of the users face this and think something isn’t right with their purchase. If you’re also worried about it, please don’t be. It is completely expected from a brand-new product to smell like the material it was built with.

Everything is fine. The smell you’re getting is like the smell of a new car or a cloth. Yes, it is not pleasant, but it’s expected.

The smell is there for a reason. It could either be a protective coating on the air purifier or a component inside that is heating up too much.

Smelling plastic is quite common when you buy a new device made from plastic. And when you start up a new device, the components heat up and release this plastic smell from the body.


No solution is needed, as the device will eventually lose the smell. Instead, simply wait for the purifier to lose the brand-new smell.

4. Burnt smell

Next is the smell of burning coming from air purifiers like Dyson. The burnt smell is caused by overheating. Household appliances do not handle high temperatures well. So, if you don’t keep the filter clean, it will make things worse.

An unclean filter needs to work with double the intensity. As a result, the temperature inside increases rapidly. The plastic body gets the bulk of it and starts to melt a little.


  • Keep your air purifier, especially the filters, clean
  • Don’t use the air purifier 24/7
  • Maintain a cool weather

5. Chlorine smell

If you’re getting the smell of chlorine, you must be facing the problem of chlorine-like air. It’s the ozone production that is the sole reason for creating a chlorine smell.

The smell is also known as burnt wire. It also tastes like metal. Usually, it is caused by ozone. But as we know, Dyson air purifiers do not have ozone generators.

So what’s causing it? Some Dyson models have something called a “Catalytic filter”. If you open the air purifier and smell those filters, you’ll realize this is responsible for the chlorine smell.

According to Dyson’s customer service, the smell should go away after 1-2 weeks on its own.

Note: Sometimes, you may get a musty smell from the air purifier. However, it isn’t related to the air purifier; rather, it’s caused by excess humidity. The air purifier is just amplifying the odor, which makes you think it’s coming from the purifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should an air purifier smell like?

An air purifier doesn’t have any distinct smell, and the smell should be neutral with no sweetness or sourness.

2. How do you clean an air purifier filter?

Take out the filters and wash them in cold and high-pressure water. It should get rid of the dirt from the filter’s surface and the odor particles.

Final Words

Now, you know the answer to the question, “why does my Dyson air purifier smell bad?” The reasons are quite a few, but the main reason, I think, came down to the lack of maintenance.

So, keep the air purifier in a place with good airflow so that it stays dry. Other than the sour and dusty smell, there’s nothing wrong with its performance.

Last Updated on February 7, 2023

Richard Hicks

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