Why Does My Vacuum Smell Like Burning?

  • Author: Irene Batres
  • Date: October 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Unexpected burning smells in our home’s vacuum device can be a sign of concern. 

Not only can they cause a fire, but they can also cause lousy home air quality.

But if you are wondering why does your vacuum smell like burning then you have came to the right article. I will answer this question and so much more below.

Warning: If your vacuum cleaner smells like burning, stop using it and troubleshoot the problem immediately. 

Common Issues Causing A Vacuum To Smell Like Burning:

Let’s go deeper and see what the experts are saying. And also, discuss the most common reasons why your vacuum smells like burning.

1. Motor Issues

Motor issues are one of the most common reasons for a burning smell from your vacuum. If there’s something wrong with the motor, it can cause the vacuum to overheat and produce a burning smell. 

If your vacuum’s motor is running hot, turn off the vacuum and let it cool down for at least 30 minutes. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the motor.

Related article: How Do You Fix A Vacuum That Overheats?

2. A Stuck Belt Or Roller

Steps To Diagnose A Broken Belt:

  • The vacuum cleaner has lost suction power.
  • Extra noisy vacuum
  • The vacuum is leaving debris

If the belt that drives the brush roller has worn out or has broken, it most likely can get stuck. Furthermore, it can cause the brush roller to overheat and produce a burning smell.

Note: If your vacuum’s brush roller is not rotating, turn off the vacuum and check the belt

Suppose the vacuum cleaner’s belt has broken. The best thing to do is to replace it.

3. A Defective Brush Roller

If, for instance, the brush roller is defective and stops turning while the rubber belt is still turning, the belt may overheat and starts to melt, producing a burning smell.

4. Clogged System

A vacuum can easily get clogged with debris stuck between the belt and the roller. Stuck debris will cause a burning smell as the debris will start to overheat due to friction. 

To fix this, you’ll need to follow the next steps:

  • Unplug the vacuum 
  • Carefully remove the brush roller. 
  • Inspect it for any debris caught in it and remove it.

5. Damaged Cord Or Plug

If the power cord or plug is damaged, it can cause an electrical short. Causing the power cord or plug to overheat and produce a burning smell. You’ll need to replace the damaged cord or plug to fix this.

The plug or the wall socket may also have issues, such as when a power surge ends up burning the insulation on the wires. If this is the case, you’ll need to have an electrician check and fix the problem.

Related article: What Do You Do If You Vacuum Water?

How Do You Fix A Vacuum That Smells Like Its Burning?


  • Check for any debris stuck in the vacuum: You will need to check between the roller and the belt and the roller itself for any debris causing the problem.
  • Ensure the power cord and plug are in good shape: Inspect the power cord and plug for any damage. If damaged, replace both.
  • Check the motor: If the motor is running hot, turn off the vacuum and let it cool down for at least 30 minutes. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the motor.
  • Replace a worn-out belt: If you have a worn-out belt, it will need replacement.
  • Replace blown-out fuses: A blown-out fuse can cause an electrical short, which will lead to the cord or plug overheating and producing a burning smell.

If it’s a new vacuum cleaner, it may have a manufacturing defect. There could be a severe internal problem if your vacuum smells like it’s burning. If you ignore the problem, it could lead to an electrical fire. 

In that case, you should contact the manufacturer or the store where you bought it.

Also you can check out this related article: Vacuum Won’t Turn On & How To Fix it

Can I Still Use My Vacuum If It Smells Burnt?

Using your vacuum if it smells burnt is not advisable as it could be a fire hazard. Be sure to troubleshoot the problem and fix it as soon as possible.

Why Does My Vacuum Smell Like Burning After Replacing The Belts

It could be that you did not attach the belt correctly, so it is rubbing against something else and causing friction. 

Another possibility is that the new belt is too tight and needs adjustment.

Ensure the belt is in the correct position and is not too tight before using the vacuum again. If the belt is good, the burning smell could be due to other reasons discussed in this article.

How To Remove Vacuum Burnt Smell

Some people use methods like candles or fragrances to remove the burnt smell of a vacuum cleaner. 

Still, the best, safest and faster way to do so is by using an air purifier with a HEPA filter. An air purifier will remove the burnt smell and any contaminants or pollution left behind.

Final Thoughts- Why Does It Smell Like Burnt Rubber When I Vacuum?

There are many reasons why your vacuum may smell like burning rubber. Be sure to troubleshoot and fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid any potential hazards.

irene mills author of freshairdevices


Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.