How To Clean A Vacuum Cleaner That Smells

Alex Mcil author
Alex Mcil

Have you noticed an unusual smell emanating from your vacuum? The foul odors may be of concern, causing you to vacuum less frequently.

Then you’re stuck with a foul-smelling machine and a filthy home. And nobody wants that!

In this article, you’ll find all about how to clean vacuum cleaners.

“Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of problems relating to vacuum cleaners. A common issue is a poorly maintained vacuum emitting unpleasant odours, which can often be avoided with regular cleaning and maintenance. One possible solution is to use baking soda to deodorize it. Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpet or floor, then vacuum it up. Doing this on a regular basis will help in eliminating the odour inside your vacuum cleaner.”

Ramona Giannetti , Certified Appliance Technician

Why Do You Need To Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuum cleaners require routine maintenance every 3 months to avoid dirt accumulation. Fortunately, with our five tips, a stinky machine can be made to smell fresh again. It’s especially important to clean your vacuum filters regularly.

ways to prevent a vacuum cleaner from smelling

Read on to discover how to eradicate vacuum odors so that your entire home smells welcome.

Quick answer

The first thing that you should do when you clean a vacuum cleaner that smells is finding the source of the smell, this could be something that is lodged inside the bag, mold or a mechanical part. Each of these reasons will require a specific solution. We recommend giving proper maintenance every 6 months to avoid any of these issues.

Why Does Your Vacuum Cleaner Smell Bad?

Understanding where a foul smell originates is crucial for removing and preventing it. The following are the four primary causes.

1. Pet Hair Stuck In Your Vacuum Cleaner

Your pet could be the source of the odor. Pet hair and dander have an unpleasant smell, and when vacuumed, the smell enters your gadget.

Pet urine might also contribute to the odor. While it is rare that you will vacuum your pet’s urine directly, the liquid may adhere to pet hair and dust. Then, once vacuumed, the dried urine and pet hair combine to create a recipe for disaster.

However, removing pet smells from your vacuum cleaner involves a specific procedure that differs from the standard suggestions in this article. So give it a read!

2. Mold Accumulation

Mold spores have been discovered in vacuum bags and filters. This results is a nasty and musty odor if neglected.

Mold requires humidity and moisture in order to grow. Vacuuming a wet carpet may introduce these particles into your device and amplifying the odor.

If you use your vacuum to clean wet spots, it is 100% guaranteed that some kind of mold will form at some point.

3. Belt Burning Smell

Additionally, your machine’s belt could be the source of the problem. The rubber belt rotates, allowing the brush to roll and collect hair and other dirt.

Vacuum cleaner brushes should be cleaned on a regular basis at least every six months. Without adequate care, hair trapped among the bristles may obstruct the brush’s rotation, causing the rubber to to slip and deteriorate. Additionally, the belt can become entangled in the brush.

Belts that are stretched and overused emit an immediately identifiable rubber burnt odor. Just use a plastic brush with 3/4 cup of water an 1/4 of vinegar.

4. Excess Dust

Dust never arrives on its own. When you vacuum, additional debris comes along for the ride. Therefore, whether you’re catching dry food or used coffee grounds, they can all contribute to an overpowering odor.

Allowing an excessive amount of dust to accumulate in your dust bag or dust bin will eventually have an adverse effect on the health of your vacuum.

Does the type of machine you’re using matter?

Naturally, you cannot avoid your vacuum having to clear up dust that causes it to smell. After all, that is its purpose! You can, however, choose a vacuum cleaner that is less likely to smell.

We’ve discovered that using a bagged vacuum significantly reduces vacuum odors. Immediately upon picking it up, it seals everything into a sealed bag. Additionally, you may discard everything and have an (almost) fully clean and new vacuum every time you change the bag.

We also use bagless vacuum cleaners and appreciate their convenience, however, the technique for de-stinking them is slightly different, but not significantly more complex. Therefore, if you find yourself in such a situation, have no fear!

How To Get Rid Of Bad Vacuum Cleaner Smells

Have you determined the source of the foul odor? The following are the simplest and most efficient methods for getting rid of bad vacuum cleaner smells. This task is anticipated to take around 30 minutes. You can also buy a water filter vacuum cleaner that are better in this department.

1. Empty The Dust Bag Or Bin

Replace the dust bag if your vacuum comes with one first. Occasionally, this is sufficient to reset your device’s fragrance and reduce bad vacuum cleaner smells.

Remove the dust bin if your gadget includes one. Empty the contents into the trash and thoroughly clean the container with a cloth wet with cool water and 2 spoons of soap.

We recommend using 1/3 cup of white vinegar or baking soda to help destroy any mildew that may be present. Ensure that you thoroughly clean all corners and angles.

2. Thoroughly Clean Vacuum Filter Cavity Or Replace Filter

Filters, too, become dirty and dusty over time. Remove any dust from around the filter and rinse it under cold water if it is washable for 5 minutes. Rinse the filter 2- 3 times well until clean water streams through it.

Even vacuum filters that appear to be in good condition can accumulate an astounding amount of dust. As a result, do not be shocked if this procedure takes longer than five minutes. Then, allow the filter to air dry for 24 hours before reinstalling it.

If your filter cannot be washed, it may be time to replace it. In general, vacuum filters should be replaced at least once every 12 months. Filters should be checked every six months if they are subjected to excessive use or if you keep pets.

3. Check The Brushes Of Your Vacuum Cleaner

Regardless of the type of odor, rotating brushes should be cleaned at least once or twice a year. If you mainly use your vacuum for hardwood floors the brushes will need less cleaning, however, if frequently used to clean carpets and rugs, the brushes can accumulate a significant quantity of dirt on their own. Therefore, a short inspection beneath your floor head attachment may be beneficial.

  • Ascertain that your vacuum cleaner is unplugged.
  • Remove the brush from the floor head attachment if it is removable.
  • Cut and remove any hair lodged between the bristles using scissors. Take cautious not to cut the bristles.
  • Rinse the brush well with water and soap. If the object is not removable or is difficult to reach, spritz it with a solution of water and vinegar.
  • Allow 24 hours for the brush to air dry.
  • Reintroduce it only after it has completely dried.

4. Wash The Hose

When it comes to stinky gadgets, it’s easy to underestimate the hose’s power. The hose is one of the initial points of contact between dirt and the filter, dust bag, or bin.

Because small particles frequently become lodged within the tube’s inner layer, hoses are also prone to clogging. They can rot and emit a pungent stench over time. Fortunately, cleaning a vacuum hose is a rather simple task.

  • Remove the hose and lay it flat.
  • To remove any residues, use a broomstick or a similar-shaped implement. Persist until the obstruction is removed. You might even reclaim a misplaced sock.
  • Fill your sink with approximately 4 inches of hot water.
  • 2 tbsp. bleach and 1 tbsp. ordinary dish soap You may also substitute baking soda or vinegar for the bleach.
  • In the sink, place the hose. They’re frequently adaptable and should fit the majority of sinks.
  • Move the tube around to ensure that the water goes completely through and over the whole length of the tube.
  • Empty the sink and insert the hose beneath the faucet until water begins to flow from the other end.

Before reinstalling the hose, it should be completely dry. We recommend draping it over a shower curtain or in a well-ventilated room for 24 to 48 hours.

How to Eliminate Unpleasant Odors

How can we give our clean vacuum a fresh scent now that it is clean?

Always verify with the manufacturer to ensure that these procedures are permitted. Your warranty may be voided if you misuse them.

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)

Baking soda is an ancient yet well-known remedy that is renowned for its cleansing abilities. This powdered substance will absorb any odors.

Sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda into the dust bag’s hole. If your gadget has a bin, simply sprinkle it over the walls of the bin.

Essential Oils

We recommend using essential oils for further benefit. Lemongrass and thyme are well-known for their medicinal properties. They not only enhance the aroma of your vacuum cleaner, but they are also excellent at combating mold.

To a 32-ounce spray container, add approximately 30 drops of essential oils. It should be filled halfway with water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Spray lightly within the bag or container. We don’t want to over-wet the area, so a few squirts should suffice and should dry fast.

Cinnamon Powder

If you’re looking to incorporate a spice from your own kitchen, cinnamon may be a fantastic choice. Half a spoonful of powdered cinnamon should be placed into the dust bag or bin.

Cinnamon is antimicrobial, which means it may help prevent the formation of undesirable microbes. Additionally, it will infuse your vacuum with a lovely perfume.

Commercial Deodorants

Although commercial deodorants are more expensive than homemade cures, many people appreciate their efficacy. When the air flows through them, they emit a nice scent.

They typically come in a variety of scents, allowing you to choose your favorite. Per bag or bin, one pill, or tablespoon, should be enough.

Regular Cleaning Maintenance

Cleaning your vacuum cleaner should not be an afterthought, whether you sprinkle baking soda or use a professional deodorant.

Regular maintenance is the most efficient way to avoid offensive odors. We recommend fully cleaning your vacuum every three to six months, depending on how frequently you use it. If you own a pet, you may wish to clean it on a bimonthly basis. Make sure that you empty the vacuum bag regularly in order to prevent a smelly vacuum cleaner.

Give It a Try!

That is how you clean a smelly vacuum cleaner! If your vacuum has an unpleasant odor, you may rescue it by following these instructions. It would be a good idea if you can choose the right hardwood floor machine to make maintenance easier. It may require some effort the first time, but if you maintain it, it will require no effort at all! Please give it a try and report back on how it works for you! We suggest that you buy a bagless vacuum cleaner next time.

Remember to pin this for later so you’ll remember how to deodorize vacuum cleaners if yours does as well!


7 thoughts on “How To Clean A Vacuum Cleaner That Smells”

  1. Cleaning the vacuum filters routinely, as the article suggests, really helps to keep my vacuum’s performance at peak and odors away – I learned this the hard way after a regrettable month of ‘forgetting’ vacuum maintenance!

  2. I can personally guarantee the effectiveness of regular cleaning, after trying and testing most house and industrial vacuum cleaners for the last ten years, negligence in maintenance is your vacuum’s worst enemy.

  3. Avatar
    Nellie Rutherford

    I’ve found that adding a couple drops of essential oil onto the vacuum filter not only keeps it smelling fresh but also scents the entire house nicely during vacuuming.

  4. Indeed Nellie, essential oils do wonders for a vacuum’s smell. In my experience, lavender or eucalyptus creates a pleasant aroma that even counters pet odors in the house.

  5. I totally agree with using baking soda, it’s a fantastic deodorizer. I’ve worked with vacuums all my life and using baking soda during the regular maintenance has always kept them fresh else it could smell like a locker room in there!

  6. You hit the nail right on the head, Thelma! Just adding to that, it’s crucial not to forget to empty the dust bag or canister regularly, this alone could be a game-changer in combating nasty smells.

  7. I’ve found that using vinegar to dampen the interior components of my vacuum removes certain strong smells that baking soda can’t handle.

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