How To Clean A Vacuum Cleaner That Smells

(Last Updated On: October 4, 2022)

Have you been noticing a weird smell coming from your vacuum? It might be time to clean out your vacuum. Owning a vacuum isn’t as simple as stuffing it in a cupboard after use, you also have to provide some maintenance.

This is especially true for bagless vacuums that store the contents inside.

Reasons your vacuum smells

There are several reasons that your vacuum can be producing bad smells, here are a few of the common ones.

1. Pet hair

The most common cause of vacuum smells is pet hair. You might love your furry friends, but they are probably not your favorite thing to clean up after. Some vacuums come with special tines for removing pet hair from inside the canister.

2. Food waste

Another reason why your vacuum might be producing bad smells is if it’s not entirely clean. Food waste can lead to mold and bacteria growth in the vacuum cleaner. This isn’t just bad for you, but can actually damage your machine .

If you are using a bagless vacuum, food waste will also cause odors to build up inside the machine.

3. Lint build-up

If the filter in your vacuum is clogged with lint, you’ll probably notice a buildup of dust on or around it . If the filter is too full of hair and other debris, it won’t be able to effectively trap any particles. This means more dirt will get pumped back into the air.

4. Burnt belt

If your vacuum’s motor is running but it doesn’t seem like anything is happening, then there might be a problem with the belt. The belt transfers the motor’s energy to the brush, which is what actually does all of the work. If it doesn’t transfer power properly then you may get a burning smell.

How to Remove Bad Vacuum Cleaner Smells

If you’ve figured out the source of where the bad smells are coming from you can take some steps to remove the smells.

1. Empty the dust bag or canister.

If you are using a bagless vacuum, remove the filter and clean it with water. For both types of vacuum cleaners remember to clean the motor parts with a damp cloth and dry fully before operating. If you can’t clean these parts, take it to a professional. A bagged vacuum option should be much easier to clean out due to no filters.

If there’s still a bad smell coming from your vacuum, try adding some new dryer sheets to the vacuum bags.

2. Clean or replace filters.

If your vacuum still smells after cleaning it out, it might be time to replace the filters. You can find these at any home improvement store or online .

How often you should remove the filters depends on how frequently you use your vacuum, but it will probably be somewhere between 1-3 months.

3. Clean or replace the brush, belt and vacuum inlets.

Sometimes a bad smell is the result of hair, dirt and other debris building up in these parts. Not only will it make your vacuum smell, but it may also damage the motor and belt.

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t remove the bad smells, it may be time to replace your vacuum.

How often you should do this depends on how frequently you use your powerful vacuum, but it will probably be somewhere between 1-3 years.

4. Wash the vacuum hose.

The vacuum hose can also collect dirt, hair and food that contributes to bad smells. Wipe it down every once in a while with a damp cloth.

If you notice a bad smell coming from your vacuum hose it may be clogged by food or dirt and needs to be cleaned out.

If your vacuum smells when you are vacuuming, it may be that the suction is blocked or sucking in too much air. More air means less suction, which means your vacuum isn’t removing dirt properly.

Remove the obstruction and see if that helps. If not, it may be time to replace the hose.

How can I avoid a smelly vacuum cleaner?

Vacuum cleaners only tend to produce bad smells when you don’t take care of them properly.

A few tips of things you can do to preserve your future vacuum:

  1. Add some baking soda inside the vacuum bag.
  2. Make sure your vacuum filters are replaced regularly
  3. Add essential oils inside your dust bin
  4. Take out your vacuum belt and clean it regularly
  5. Immediately add extra baking soda if you sense an unpleasant odor building
  6. Keep perfume pads around your home to make it smell nice

Why do I have a musty smell in my vacuum?

This smell usually comes from the bag or your vacuum filter.

If it’s your filter change it.

If it’s coming from the bag, then use baking soda inside your bagged vacuum. This should eliminate the foul odor.

To get a fresh smell add some fresh scent sachets.

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