I don’t regret buying an air purifier one bit. However, I can’t say that taking home my first air purifier was a smooth experience.
To start, I didn’t buy the right air purifier for my space.
So, I had to return it and get another air purifier that could do the job. And when I finally got the right-sized air purifier, it gave off a smell for the first couple of days.
I figured this was just off-gassing, so I let it be for a while, and it eventually faded.
However, a couple of months later, I noticed that the air purifier started to give off a “fishy” smell.
This was something that drove my family and me crazy. So, I had to get to the bottom of the smell.
After doing the research, I learned a lot. And as I did, I realized that a fishy smell from electronics and appliances could indicate something wrong with the electronics, which is a major concern.
If you have a similar problem with your air purifier, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll be discussing why an air purifier can give off a “fishy” smell, what you can do about it, and other reasons air purifiers start to smell.
Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like Fish?
When I went online to find out why my air purifier smelled like fish, it turned out that this was a pretty common problem.
And the most common cause of this problem is bacteria or mold in the air purifier.
When there is a lot of bacteria and mold in an air purifier, it can give off a foul, fish-like scent.
Using an air purifier for an extended period can start gathering a lot of bacteria.
This is why many people find mold, mildew, and yeast in their air purifiers, which is why they can start smelling.
To fix this, all you have to do is check the filters. If you notice mold, bacteria, or anything else growing on it, it’s time to change the filter. And once you do, you’ll notice an almost immediate change.
While this is the most common reason for an air purifier’s “fishy” smell, it’s not the only reason.
If you find that no bacteria or mold is growing on the filter, then the fishy smell could indicate an air purifier issue.
Whenever there’s an electrical fault in your air purifier, there’s a high chance that it will give off a burnt plastic smell. This is because electrical faults can cause plastic and the insulation to melt, which isn’t a pleasing odor.
But on top of that, a lot of people also report that their air purifier smells fishy during an electrical fault.
If this happens, unplug your air purifier immediately and bring it to a professional for repair.
This is the safest way to fix the air purifier.
And since many models on the market nowadays have a warranty that can cover these defects, it won’t even cost you that much.
Other Reasons an Air Purifier Starts to Smell
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of why air purifiers can give off a fishy smell, it’s important to remember that this isn’t the only smell that can come from your air purifier.
Since air purifiers directly impact the air quality in a room, it has a major effect on the room’s scent.
So, here are some other reasons your air purifier might be smelling and the type of scents it can give off.
That way, if you smell something off in the air, you can immediately figure out whether or not it’s coming from the air purifier.
Off-gassing is a very common issue with new air purifiers, especially plastic ones.
This is because plastic goes through many different processes before it’s used for the casing of an air purifier. And a lot of the time, the plastic can retain a lot of the odors that come from the different processes.
Don’t worry. The scent isn’t permanent. While some of the odors can stick, they will eventually go away. The problem, however, is that when the scent escapes the plastic, it enters the air and can cause a room to smell “off.”
This process is called off-gassing and is present in many different appliances. As long as a device uses plastic, there’s a chance it can retain odors from the manufacturing process.
Most of the time, off-gassing produces a plastic-like odor. Luckily, after a couple of uses, the odor will go away, so all you have to do is be patient if this is the reason your air purifier smells.
Ventilation is crucial if you have an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. This is because activated carbon filters don’t fare well when left in poorly-ventilated environments. Over time, the filter will absorb different scents and odors, as this is what it’s designed to do.
However, in poorly ventilated areas, scents can stick around much longer.
This means that the filters have to absorb more odors, which quickly saturates the filter. When this happens, the air purifier can start giving off odors in the room, such as tobacco, curry, cooking, and smoke smells.
One of the major recommendations I give anyone looking for an air purifier is to avoid options with an ozone generator.
There are many air purifiers with ozone generators, but these aren’t the best option for people looking to improve the air quality in their indoor spaces.
This is because ozone can be dangerous and irritate the lungs. Manufacturers add ozone generators to their air purifiers because it can give off a “fresher” scent that often feels more artificial but gives off the illusion of cleaner air.
On top of that, certain air purifiers with ionizers can even produce ozone as a by-product.
This could be why you notice a weirdly fresh smell when using your air purifier.
How to Stop Your Air Purifier from Smelling Like Fish
It can seem hopeless once your air purifier starts giving off a “fishy” odor.
The scent is enough for many people to leave their air purifiers off constantly.
However, there are more than a few ways to eliminate that “fishy” smell from your air purifiers, making it easier to leave them on to purify the air in your space.
Some of the methods I found to be the most effective include:
Improve the Ventilation
Air purifiers improve air quality by removing harmful particles from the air. However, they are not designed to improve the ventilation in a room. So, if you have poor ventilation, there’s a high chance something can go wrong with your air purifier, which causes unpleasant odors.
So, one of the best things you can do to eliminate the air purifier’s odor is improve ventilation.
This could be by adding a fan, HVAC system, vents, or busting open a window to encourage airflow.
If you do that, your air purifier will not only stop smelling bad but also help it last longer.
Remove All Plastic Coverings
Modern air purifiers come wrapped in a lot of plastic, which I didn’t appreciate, but I understand that it’s unavoidable in modern manufacturing.
However, I highly recommend checking extra closely to ensure that any plastic covering on the air purifier is removed.
If you leave plastic coverings on, they can melt on the air purifier, which causes a foul and fishy smell.
This is especially true for those with new air purifiers, as you would want to reduce the off-gassing odors as much as possible.
Get the Air Purifier Repaired
If there’s something wrong with the electronics of the air purifier, I recommend bringing it to a professional.
This is because using a DIY approach can be costly and can result in you damaging the air purifier.
So, if you suspect something’s wrong with your air purifier’s electronics, bring it to the shop right away.
Clean Your Air Purifier
Cleaning your air purifier regularly and changing the filters as needed is another great way to eliminate foul odors from the air purifier.
Doing this doesn’t require much effort and does the air purifiers a lot of good.
So, regardless of whether or not the air purifier smells, we recommend cleaning it regularly.
Noticing a fishy smell from an air purifier can be annoying.
After all, these machines are designed to improve air quality and remove harmful odors. So, seeing your air purifier add to the foul odors in a space can be very frustrating.
With that said, this is a common problem with a fair number of solutions.
Many other people share this problem with you if you notice a fishy scent from your air purifier.
But don’t worry; many ways to approach the problem and eliminate the scent as soon as possible.