Shark Vacuum Smells Like Burning [Try This First!]

Shark Vacuums can smell like burning for a variety of reasons, including a simple clog in the brush roll.

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But what else can cause this unpleasant issue?

In this post you will learn:

Table of Contents

Why Your Shark Vacuum Smells Like Burning

Your Shark vacuum cleaner can smell like burning if the motor is overheated, the belt is damaged or broken, the brush roll or hose are clogged, the dust cup or bag are full, or the power cord is damaged. Follow the steps below to inspect each component and fix as necessary.

Why Taking Immediate Action Is Necessary

Although your Shark vacuum may smell like burning due to simple clogs, electrical damage can be another possible cause.

Electrical faults can result in further damage to your Shark vacuum or even lead to fire.

So, if you notice a burning smell, it’s important you take action immediately and figure out the cause. 

Here is what you can do:

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

Like with any electrical equipment, make sure you unplug your Shark vacuum before inspection.

Once you have done that, follow the steps below: 

1. Inspect Your Shark Vacuum Power Cord For Damage

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

You can easily damage your Shark vacuum power cord by getting it stuck between furniture while you are cleaning your home.

Exposure to harsh chemicals or heat can also result in power cord damage. 

Furthermore, the insulation on the cord can also degrade over time, making the power cord more prone to damage.

How to fix it:

If you notice any damage to your Shark 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 Shark Vacuum Dust Cup or Bag

I always recommend emptying a vacuum cleaner’s dust bin after each use or at least when it gets to no more than ¾ full.

When it comes to bagged vacuums, the bags usually have an indicator that shows when it needs to be replaced. On average, bags will last 1 to 3 months.

A full dust cup or bag can make your Shark vacuum work harder.

As the machine tries to collect dirt and debris, the motor can begin to overheat and lead your Shark vacuum to smell like burning. 

What to do about it:

To avoid this, make sure to empty your Shark vacuum’s dust cup after each use. 

I also recommend washing your Shark vacuum dust cup at least once every six months:

  1. Detach the dust cup from the rest of the vacuum
  2. Empty the dust cup
  3. Remove the filters
  4. Fill up the sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent
  5. Wash the dust cup
  6. Dry it thoroughly
  7. Install the filters back in the dust cup
  8. Re-attach the dust cup to the vacuum

Here is an excellent video by Around The Home showing exactly how to do it:

If you have a bagged Shark vacuum, check the user manual to see how often the bag needs to be replaced, as this can vary depending on the bag size/vacuum model.

3. Remove Clogs From Your Shark Roller Brush 

When hairs and big debris accumulate around the brush roll, your Shark vacuum brush will stop spinning, making the motor work harder than usual.

Such a strain can make the motor overheat and emit a burning smell. 

How to fix it: 

Shark vacuum heads can vary between models, with some of them needing a screwdriver to remove the plate that keeps the brush roll in place.

Check your user manual for instructions related to your specific machine.

Other Shark vacuums, like the Shark ION cordless vacuum, offer easier access to the brush roll:

  1. Detach the head from the rest of your Shark ION
  2. Press the two buttons located at the top of the head on each side
  3. Remove the plastic lid on top
  4. Cut through hairs and debris wrapped around the bristled roll and pull them out with your hands
  5. Remove the soft roll 
  6. Clean the soft roll using water only and let it air dry for 24 hours
  7. Put the soft roll back in place
  8. Clip the plastic lid back on top of your Shark ION head
  9. Re-attach the head to the vacuum

Here is a video showing the exact steps above:

4. Unclog Your Shark Vacuum Hose/Wand

A clog in your vacuum hose/wand can lead to a loss of suction as well as strain on the motor, making it work harder than it should.

How to clean a clogged hose: 

  1. First remove the hose/wand from your Shark vacuum cleaner
  2. Grab a long object, such as a broom handle, to dislodge any clogs present.

You should also wash the hose every couple of months or so:

  1. Fill the sink with lukewarm water 
  2. Add a bit of mild detergent
  3. Let the water run through the hose
  4. Wash the outside of the hose using a cloth
  5. Allow the hose to dry fully
  6. Re-attach the hose to your Shark vacuum cleaner

Here is a video from HooverLux Restorations that shows how to wash a vacuum hose:

5. Inspect The Belt and Replace It If Needed

Vacuum belts are an essential part of the rotating mechanism of the brush roll.

Without a functioning brush roll, cleaning carpets becomes extremely difficult.  

Signs that your Shark vacuum belts 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 from ShopJimmy on how to replace the belt:

The video demonstrates how to do it for Shark Rocket DuoClean Vacuums and it may differ for other vacuum models.

Always check the user manual before proceeding.

6. Call An Expert To Inspect The Motor 

The motor in your Shark vacuum cleaner is responsible for powering the device. 

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 your Shark vacuum cleaner.

What can cause a burning smell in the motor:

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

  1. The coils may be dirty or blocked. This causes overheating due to too much resistance
  2. Something is wrong with the electrical connection to the coils, causing them to overheat as well
  3. The bearings in the motor are worn out, causing friction and heat build-up

How to fix it:

I recommend you call an expert for this. 

First of all, check the date you purchased your Shark vacuum.

If it is still within warranty, contact Shark and ask them to inspect the motor for you.

Shark offers a variety of warranties:

The warranty varies depending on the type of product you purchase.

For example, Shark 2-in-1 Vacuum and Mop Robot vacuums come with a 3-year VIP warranty.

However, Shark Vertex Upright vacuums come with a 5-year limited warranty. 

Click here to search for your vacuum model and see which type of warranty it came with (Warranty may have been different at the time you purchased your machine, so check your receipt too).

You can check each warranty in detail by going to this page.


Your Shark vacuum can smell like burning for many reasons.

Trying the easy fixes yourself can save you money on repairs or on having to buy a new vacuum for no reason!

To recap:

  1. Inspect the power cord 
  2. Empty your Shark vacuum cleaner’s dust cup or replace the bag
  3. Remove clogs from the roller brush
  4. Unclog the hose/wand of your Shark vacuum
  5. Replace a frayed/broken belt
  6. Ask a professional to inspect your Shark vacuum’s motor for any issue