Bissell Vacuum Smells Like Burning [Potential Fire Hazard!]

Vacuums come in many shapes and sizes, from upright to stick, canister to robot.

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However, regardless of the model you purchase, your Bissell vacuum cleaner may eventually fail.

Some people, for example, report that their Bissell vacuum smells like burning after some time.

In this post you will learn:

Why Your Bissell Vacuum Smells Like Burning

Your Bissell vacuum cleaner can smell like burning if the motor is overheated, the belt is frayed or broken, the roller brush is jammed, the dustbin or bag are full, the hose is clogged, or the power cord is damaged. You will need to inspect each component one by one to pinpoint the culprit.

Why Taking Immediate Action Is Necessary

A burning smell coming from your Bissell vacuum cleaner is not something to ignore. 

If you notice this smell, it’s important to take action immediately and figure out the cause. 

Although a burning smell may simply indicate a full bag, it can also be something more serious and lead to fire or electrical damage to your Bissell vacuum.

What Should You Do If Your Bissell Vacuum Cleaner Smells Like Burning

If your Bissell vacuum cleaner starts to smell like it’s burning, the first thing you should do is stop using it.

Unplug your Bissell vacuum and inspect it in the order listed below: 

1. Ensure Your Bissell Vacuum Power Cord Is Not Damaged

A damaged power cord is a serious safety hazard as it can cause your Bissell vacuum to overheat and start a fire.

Power cords can become damaged from being pinched or crushed, or from being exposed to heat or chemicals. 

Over time, the insulation on the cord can also degrade, making it more susceptible to damage.

How to fix it:

If you notice any damage to your Bissell vacuum cleaner’s power cord, let a professional replace it immediately with a new one. 

However, if you decide to replace the power cord yourself, make sure to follow all safety precautions when doing so.

Watch this video by FIX Tech Guides to learn how to do it:

2. Empty Your Bissell Vacuum Dustbin or Bag

A full dustbin or bag can cause your Bissell vacuum cleaner to smell like it’s burning. 

This is because the Bissell vacuum is working harder to suck up the dirt and debris, and the motor can overheat.

What to do about it:

To avoid this, make sure to empty your Bissell vacuum’s dustbin regularly.

Though bagless Bissell vacuums can cause a bit more mess when emptying them, there are ways to empty Bissell vacuum cleaners without creating dust clouds

You should also wash your bagless Bissell vacuum bin at least once every six months.

3. Clean Your Bissell Vacuum Roller Brush 

An excessive amount of hairs tangled around your Bissell vacuum brush can make the motor work harder than usual.

This can cause the motor to overheat and emit a burning smell. 

How to fix it: 

  1. To clear a clog in your roller brush, first disconnect the power cord from the outlet. 
  2. Then, detach the brush and cut through the tangled hairs with a scissor
  3. Unscrew the plate usually locate on the side of the brush
  4. Remove the roller brush and wash it with warm water
  5. Let the brush dry completely
  6. Put the roller brush back into your Bissell vacuum cleaner
  7. Put the side plate back in position, along with its screws

4. Unclog Your Bissell Vacuum Hose

A clogged hose will result in loss of suction in your Bissell.

Again, when a clog is present in your Bissell vacuum hose it will put a strain on the motor, making it work harder than it should.

This can cause the Bissell vacuum cleaner to smell like it is burning because the motor is working harder to try to suck up the debris.

How to clean a clogged hose: 

  1. First remove the hose from the vacuum cleaner
  2. Then, using a brush or other tool, clear out any debris that is blocking the hose
  3. Finally, rinse out the hose with water and let it dry
  4. Reattach it to your Bissell vacuum cleaner

5. Check The Belt and Replace It If Necessary

The belt is a vital part of your Bissell vacuum. It helps to rotate the brush roll, which in turn agitates the carpet and helps to loosen dirt and debris.

Where is it: 

The belt is located under the hood of your Bissell vacuum, typically near the brush roll.

Signs it needs to be replaced: 

Inspect the belt and check whether it is frayed or damaged. If it is, then it will need to be replaced.

Here is a video on how to change the belt.

This will obviously vary depending on the type of machine you have, so refer to the user manual if necessary:

6. Check For Motor Problems

The motor in your Bissell vacuum cleaner is responsible for powering the device and making it move. 

It consists of a series of coils that rotate when electricity is sent to them. 

This produces a magnetic field that turns the shaft of the motor, which in turn powers the Bissell vacuum cleaner.

What can cause a burning smell in the motor:

There are several things that can cause your Bissell vacuum cleaner’s motor to produce a burning smell. 

One possibility is that the coils are overheating due to too much resistance. 

This can happen if the coils are dirty or if there is something blocking their rotation. 

Another possibility is that there is something wrong with the electrical connection to the coils, causing them to overheat as well. 

Finally, it’s possible that the bearings in the motor are worn out, causing friction and heat build-up.

How to fix it:

If your Bissell vacuum cleaner’s motor is producing a burning smell, you will need to take it apart and inspect it for damage. 

However, I really do not recommend you do this step yourself.

Instead, you should take your Bissell vacuum cleaner to a professional and let them do it for you.


As you can see, your Bissell vacuum can smell like burning for several reasons.

Some are easier to fix than others, but always make sure you consult the user manual or a professional whenever you need to.

To recap, here is what you should check if your Bissell vacuum smells like burning:

  1. Check for power cord damage
  2. Empty your Bissell vacuum cleaner’s bin or replace the bag
  3. Remove any clogs from the roller brush
  4. Clean the hose
  5. Inspect your Bissell vacuum’s motor for any issue