Honeywell Air Purifier Smells Funny (Why & How to Fix It)

So… your Honeywell Air Purifier smells funny, too, huh?

Honeywell is one of my favorite air purifier brands on the market.

Their air purifiers are always top-quality, are great at doing their job, and come at a very fair price.

That said, people still encounter common issues when getting a Honeywell air purifier.

And one of the main issues people experience with their Honeywell air purifier is that it can sometimes emit a weird smell.

So, if your Honeywell air purifier smells funny, don’t worry too much, as many people experience the same thing.

There are different reasons your air purifier might smell funny. And in this article, we’ll get into all of them, how to fix the issue, and other important information you need to know about Honeywell air purifiers.

Read on to learn more.


Why Does My Honeywell Air Purifier Smell Funny?

If your Honeywell air purifier smells funny, there could be many reasons behind the odor.

For example, your air purifier may be off-gassing and releasing some dust gathered while in storage. You may also need to replace the filter if it is old and moldy.

You may have to adjust the solution you apply depending on why your air purifier smells funny.

And when it comes to Honeywell air purifiers, the best way to determine why it smells funny is to determine what kind of smell is coming out of your air purifier.

From there, figuring out what’s causing the smell and the best course of action will be much easier.

So, let’s dive into the different smells that can come from your Honeywell air purifier, the main reason behind the smell, and possible ways to solve the problem.

Honeywell Air Purifier Smells Like Wet Dog

One of the reasons I was so excited to get my Honeywell air purifier is that it does a great job of eliminating harmful odors.

While it has a HEPA filter to remove pollutants and VOCs, the main attraction for me was the high-quality carbon filter that eliminates all foul odors at home.

So, you can imagine the surprise when I noticed that I started sensing a “wet dog” odor coming from my air purifier.

This was confusing for me as I keep my air purifier on to ensure I don’t deal with strong smells and odors.

But I found a reasonably simple answer when I looked for why my air purifier smells like a wet dog.

While we associate wet dogs with a bad smell, the scent doesn’t come from the dog.

Instead, the smell comes from the bacteria, mold, and other particles that may have caught in their fur.

Many bacteria live in your dog’s fur, so the wet dog smell can be powerful.

Suppose you apply the same logic to your air purifier. In that case, you’ll realize the smell doesn’t come from your air purifier.

Instead, it could come from bacteria, mold, and yeast in your air purifier.

This can happen naturally, especially if the air in your home is humid.

Luckily, fixing this issue is very easy.

All you have to do to eliminate the wet dog smell from your air purifier is clean it out to make sure no mold or bacteria is living in it.

And if you can, you should also change your filters as bacteria can get trapped inside, causing the foul odor.

Chlorine-Like Smell Coming from Honeywell Air Purifier

Another common complaint from people who use Honeywell air purifiers is a chlorine-like smell coming from the air purifier.

If this happens to you, your air purifier’s ionizer is most likely the culprit.

I didn’t face this issue because I ensured my Honeywell air purifier had no ionizer.

Some air purifiers utilize ionizers because they offer another method for removing harmful particles from the air.

And while ionizers are effective at eliminating airborne particles by causing them to fall to cling to flat surfaces, the process also produces ozone.

When your air purifier produces ozone, you may notice a chlorine-like odor from the machine.

If this odor is bugging you, go to your air purifier’s manual and figure out how to turn the ionizer off.

Luckily, most Honeywell air purifiers with ionizers give the option to turn off the ionization feature at any time. I suggest you turn off the ionizer on your air purifier as much as possible.

Ozone can be dangerous if you inhale too much, as it can cause headaches and breathing problems.

So, keep the ionizer off if you want to make the most out of your air purifier.

Sweet Smell Coming Out of Honeywell Air Purifier

Honeywell air purifiers are supposed to remove harmful scents and smell.

This is because most Honeywell air purifiers have great carbon filters designed to remove scents from the air.

Carbon filters sometimes emit a scent people report as “sweet” or “fresh.”

If you also notice this sweet carbon smell, your air purifier works.

So, there’s no need to worry if you notice a sweet smell coming from your air purifier.

Plastic Smell from Honeywell Air Purifier

Another type of smell that can come from your air purifier is a plastic smell.

The reason for this is Honeywell air purifiers are made of plastic.

And when they’re molding the plastic into specific shapes for their air purifiers, the process produces a powerful plastic smell.

When you buy a new Honeywell air purifier, it could be fresh out of the production line, meaning that it might retain certain scents gathered during production.

Luckily, this smell isn’t permanent, and you should notice the smell go away after a few days.

This process is called off-gassing, and it happens with most appliances and products made of plastic.

So, if you turn on your air purifier and notice a plastic-like smell, don’t worry too much, as the smell should disappear after some time.

Honeywell Air Purifier Smells Like It’s Burning

If you turn your air purifier on and it gives off a burning smell, this is a significant concern.

Your air purifier should not be producing this kind of scent.

In fact, modern air purifiers are designed to be able to effectively remove these strong and annoying scents.

Your Honeywell air purifier can smell like it’s burning because of an electrical issue.

When you turn on an air purifier, it will naturally produce heat.

If you just bought your air purifier, give it a couple of days, as the burning smell could be dust from the factory burning away.

However, if the burning smell lasts a long time, the burning smell could be a result of faulty wiring.

If so, turn off your air purifier and unplug it immediately.

Faulty electronics and wiring are significant fire hazards you must take seriously.

So, if you have an air purifier with wiring issues, bring it to a professional to get serviced immediately to avoid making the problem even worse.

Avoiding risks when dealing with faulty wiring and hazardous electronics would be best. 

We highly recommend fixing your air purifier immediately if you notice a burning scent that lasts a while.


Honeywell Air Purifiers – How Do They Work?

To better understand why your air purifier might develop a smell after some time, it’s best to look at how these machines work.

When you buy a Honeywell air purifier, there’s a high chance that it contains multiple filters inside.

These air purifiers also have a fan, which pushes air through the filters so that they can do their job and capture as many particles and pollutants as possible.

After passing through the filters, the air should have been adequately purified and cleansed.

Air purifiers (even Honeywell models) are just fans and filters.

However, Honeywell is one of the most trusted air purifier brands because they use some of the best filtration systems.

That way, you can expect the air purifier to effectively clean the air in your home.

Some Honeywell models use a filtration system and an ionizer to clean the air.

Ionizers release negatively charged molecules into the air, which bond and react with dust, bacteria, mold, and other particles, causing them to stick to flat surfaces.

While ionizers are effective at cleaning the air, I don’t advise getting them.

Their process can produce ozone, which causes headaches and breathing problems when you inhale too much.

Should I Wash My Honeywell HEPA Filter?

The HEPA filter in your Honeywell air purifier is arguably the appliance’s most crucial feature.

This filter captures particles like PM 2.5, dust, and mites.

That said, since the filter captures so many particles, it can get dirty, so many people wonder if they should wash these filters.

The thing is, some HEPA filters are washable, and some aren’t.

So, refer back to the owner’s manual and read if you have a washable filter or are supposed to replace the filter after some time.

If you have a washable HEPA filter in your Honeywell air purifier, only wash it with warm tap water.

Soap and other detergents can permanently damage the filter, meaning you must replace it more often.

However, even if you have a washable HEPA filter, you will still need to replace it eventually.

This is an essential part of Honeywell air purifier maintenance and the process you should definitely not skip.

Why Does My HEPA Filter Smell?

Old and dirty HEPA filters may release certain odors.

Since HEPA filters capture many particles, they will start to smell foul after some time, especially when there are a lot of dust, dirt, and bacteria inside.

If you’ve been using the air purifier for a while, it’s best to replace your old filters to keep the machine working as good as possible.

Ideally, it would be best to replace pre-filters and carbon filters every 3 months and replace your HEPA filter every 6-12 months, depending on the air quality at home.

The dirtier and more polluted the air in your home, the more often you will have to change the filters of your air purifier, which is very important to remember.

Understanding the Settings on a Honeywell Air Purifier

Another great way to understand your Honeywell air purifier is to get used to the settings.

Honeywell air purifiers have various settings, all designed for different purposes.

So, it’s essential to understand when to use each setting to make the most out of your new Honeywell air purifier.

Check out the guide below to better understand how to properly set your Honeywell air purifier.

General Clean Setting

This is another name for the medium setting on your Honeywell air purifier.

If you have a moderate number of particles in the air and the air quality isn’t too bad, this is the right setting.

The general clean setting is excellent for everyday use. It is the best setting to use if you constantly leave your air purifier on.

Allergen Setting

The allergen setting is Honeywell’s equivalent to the high settings on other air purifiers.

This setting causes the fan to work harder, so it sucks in more air than it can force through the filters.

This is ideal if you have allergies and want to ensure you’re safe from an allergic reaction at home.

When you have the allergen setting on, the air purifier captures all particles that can cause a reaction, such as dust, mites, pollen, and more.

This is the best setting for spring when allergens are most prominent in the atmosphere.

That said, this setting is also fairly loud.

So, if you’re sensitive to noise but still want to avoid allergies, you can alternate between this setting and the general clean option.

Turbo Clean

If you notice that the air quality in a room is very poor and you want to fix the issue quickly, it’s best to use the turbo clean option.

This is the strongest and highest setting on the air purifier and is designed to handle rooms with poor air quality.

When you use this setting, you can purify the air much more quickly. 

But like with the allergen setting, this mode makes your air purifier loud.

So, there are better options than this if you plan on keeping your air purifier on the whole day and night.

Germ Setting

This is the lowest setting for a Honeywell air purifier and is best during flu and cold seasons.

While it won’t filter out particles from the air as quickly or effectively, it does reduce the number of particles that can cause respiratory problems.

So, this is the best pick if you’re looking for a quiet and low-key setting with your air purifier.


The timer of your Honeywell air purifier allows you to keep it on for a certain amount of time before it automatically shuts off.

For example, you can program the air purifier to stay on while at home, but when you leave, it will automatically shut off.

Or, you can leave the air purifier on before sleeping and program it to turn off in the middle of the night. 

That way, you don’t have to deal with the noise, and you reduce your power consumption.


Honeywell air purifiers come with certain lights that show you when the air purifier is on, what setting is on, and whether or not you need to address something with the air purifier.

These lights can be really bright at night, which can get in the way of your sleep.

That’s why Honeywell air purifiers come with a dimmer that you can use to lower the brightness of the lights.

Why Is My Honeywell Air Purifier Blinking?

Most Honeywell air purifiers come with a specific light to indicate your filter’s status.

This is to remind you whenever it’s time to change the filters, clean them, or regularly maintain your air purifier.

When you need to check or replace the filters on your air purifier, the light will turn on and start blinking.

If you notice this happening to your air purifier, don’t panic; check the filters, replace them if necessary, and reset the indicator.

Different Honeywell air purifiers have different methods for resetting the indicator after checking your filters.

So, always refer back to the user manual if you need help and tips for resetting the filter indicator on your Honeywell air purifier.

Sometimes, the light will start blinking even if you don’t have to replace the filter just yet.

If that’s the case, reset the indicator and recheck the filters the next time the light turns on.

Honeywell Air Purifier Smells Funny – FAQs

Is My Honeywell Air Purifier Supposed to Smell Funny?

Air purifiers are supposed to make the air smell cleaner and fresher. 

So, if your air purifier releases a foul or funky odor, this could indicate that something is wrong.

However, give it some time, as some air purifiers will have a certain scent when they are new.

Do I Need an Air Purifier?

Air purifiers are great at keeping your lungs safe and healthy. 

And considering the current state of our environment and air pollution, an air purifier at home can be an essential appliance.

Are Honeywell Air Purifiers Good?

Honeywell is one of the most trusted air purifier brands on the market. 

If you need an air purifier, this brand produces some of the best options available. 

However, always ensure you’re choosing the suitable models for your needs.


Honeywell Air Purifier Smells Funny – Conclusion

Many customers report a foul or pungent smell coming out of their Honeywell air purifier when it’s in use.

And while many people report this, it can be tricky to fix this problem because your Honeywell air purifier smells funny for many reasons.

For example, suppose your air purifier smells like mold or a wet dog. 

In that case, this could indicate that your filters are old and contaminated.

To fix the issue, you will have to get new filters and replace the old ones of your air purifier.

On the flip side, new air purifiers can sometimes emit a burning-plastic-like smell which is very annoying, especially if you have a sensitive nose.

This is a natural thing that occurs with many plastic appliances. It should go away after some time, so it’s nothing to worry about.

If you notice that your Honeywell air purifier emits a funky odor, there are many ways to fix the issue.

So, make sure to go through the comprehensive guide to finally get to the bottom of why your Honeywell air purifier is starting to smell and what you can do to solve the problem!

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