Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like Fish? Is This Ignorable?

Last Updated on March 22, 2024

“That smell again! I’m telling you – this purifier is pure garbage itself.”

“Look at you, sounding negative and all. Kids have been in better health since we brought this home. The princess hasn’t sneezed badly in a while; you know that.”

“You are right. Now, pardon me if I sound redundant, but why does my air purifier smell like fish?!”

Now, it’s time the smell is replaced by a charming scent. How? Well, all you got to do is sit tight and watch us guide you. Read on. The problem might or might not be as bad as we think. But spot-on remedies are what you need now to soothe your anxious mind. And the article contains just that.

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like Fish?

There’s this device you’ve bought anticipating nothing but good. And then it freaks you out with odor. That’s unacceptable. Now, here are the reasons for the most unpleasant smells it may give off.

Burned Plastic Component

This is the most likely cause of the fish smell. You see, air purifiers contain plastic among their internal components. And the material, no matter how affordable, cause problems much too often. In your case, it has produced a pungent smell and also affects the air quality.

But how come the manufacturers have fed you with bluffs? Well, they haven’t cheated in any shape, form, or fashion, to begin with. The purifier might be one of the most reliable models available in the market. However, lousy stuff has somehow found a way to ruin your sleep.

Here’s why a good device can probably trouble you on a day of misfortune:

No Functioning Vent

Yes, do not be annoyed at me for pointing out the obvious. Your room might have the vents, but when was the last time you dusted them off? And have you checked for any clogging in the last few moons? If you are occupied with the heavy office workload and forget, I do not blame you.

But that’s the reality of the situation you must make peace with. So, clean the vents first and observe if you still perceive any awful smell.

Is the Purifier an Ozone-operated One?

See, ozone can be the culprit behind the scene. Purifiers having this particular element do give off fish smells sometimes. Now that doesn’t mean that Ozone-based purifiers are harmful. It’s just how things are – the purifier does a fine job for you day after day and cleans the air brilliantly, but it smells.

Faulty Wiring

Yes, this could well be the root of your problem. Do yourself a favor and check if all the wiring is properly in place. You might want to hire an electrician to do the checking. Now, you must’ve realized that the procedure won’t be fun.

But, I urge you that you don’t ignore this seemingly boring task. For, the matter at hand is worse than enduring some smell. Your home’s whole electrical system might be in serious trouble. And the only clue you have is the smell to prevent worse incidents.


Any type of smelly stuff around you, and the first thing that comes to mind is them. Yes, the minuscule living forms can sometimes give rise to giant problems. So, make sure that you thoroughly clean the internal chamber of the purifier every time.


I know that it sounds impossible to resist bacteria, but you got to try, right? Use machine-friendly sanitizers, clean clothes, etc. The more properly you clean the filter, the less the chance of bacterial growth.

UV Light Filters

The modern age will bless you with advanced tech support and enhanced build quality. However, some of these blessings may bring a curse. The market has produced top-quality purifiers with UV technology. They purify the air perfectly. However, one of the genuine drawbacks we’ve found is this smell.

So, check the UV light bulb of your filter if there’s one. Again, you will need an expert’s help with this. I would suggest that you call the manufacturers before anyone else.

For, there’s a fat chance that a technician might worsen the situation unintentionally. And thus, you will get a mild scolding from customer care. Yes, misfortune does have a funny way of saddening you. On the other hand, the guys from customer care can solve the problem in a jiffy.

The Solutions

It’s time we looked into the solutions to this annoying problem. Once you are done with this section, you will know exactly what to do.


I would advise a multidisciplinary approach. You should call for help. And the recipients of the calls are the electricians and the customer care of the air purifier brand.

Let’s explain why I’m suggesting such attention. See, if the problem lies within the air purifier, then the device manufacturers can solve it. But how do you know that you aren’t anticipating a whole electrical disturbance inside the home?

Yes, even a hair dryer can produce destructive short circuits. Now, the air purifier may be the origin of the problem, but it could be transmitted to other electrical systems. Therefore, calling an electrician saves you a lot of potential trouble.

And even if the problem is solely device-based, all you will have spent is a few bucks in return for security and assurance. So, it would be foolish and dangerous to overlook the intensity of the problem. Fire hazards often happen due to such negligence.

Good Placement of the Purifier

We don’t need to tell you how important ventilation is for the functioning of the purifier. Therefore, you must not place it somewhere improper.

To give a few examples, among the improper places to keep the purifier, the commonest is the room corners. Yes, the cables would be bent. The ventilation would be poor also. Moreover, there would be restricted access to the different parts of the device.

So, keep it in an open place. The more airflow, the better. The gentle breeze will not only keep away the bad smell but also maintain good conditions for the electrodes. Also, avoid keeping it directly under the sunlight.

Avoid Overuse of the Air Purifier

Overheating causes problems, devastating ones. And the fish smell might be the small one. We’ve talked about burnt plastic being the main culprit. And how does it get burnt? Yes, the extra heat.

If you know that the air contains too much impurity in your area, you must give the device some rest once in a while. Otherwise, the components will have a higher chance of getting overheated and burnt. Moderation in the use might be the simplest solution to the particular problem.  

Final Words

Across the land, many users are troubled with the same concern – why does my air purifier smell like fish? And salvation always follows the same protocol. Keep a calm mind, carry a positive attitude, and look into the issue attentively. And the solution? It’s right around the corner, of course.

However, though unlikely, if none of the remedies we talked about were helpful, you would just have to be patient to bring a new device home.

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Paul M Walker

I, Paul M Walker, am the founder and the author of this little site you are currently on. I work to provide readers with no-fuss and easy-to-follow solutions regarding common air purifier and humidifier problems.

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