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How to Keep Your Vacuum Cleaner from Smelling?

Published by: Katherine Frame

How to Keep Your Vacuum Cleaner from Smelling

Wondering where that odd and disgusting smell is coming from? Did you just realize that it was coming from your vacuum cleaner, a device that does the job of cleaning your home? Trust us, we are all sailing in the same boat and we wouldn’t be surprised.

Vacuum cleaners require maintenance too. If you do not clean your vacuum cleaner time & again, then dirt & dust particles will build-up, and this will lead to that odd smell you’re experiencing right now.

In this article, we’ll help you out with everything related to the topic, so let’s get right into it!

The Reasons Behind the Bad Smell of Your Vacuum Cleaner

Before you move towards preventing the vacuum cleaner from smelling or getting rid of the foul smell, you need to know exactly where the smell is coming from. You need an understanding of the causes behind the smell and the following are the main reasons behind it:

1. Do You Have a Pet? Pet Hair is No Joke!

If you have a cute little cat, dog, or any pet with fur, then their hair could be the reason why your vacuum cleaner is smelling.

Dander as well as pet hair are smelly and once the vacuum cleaner sucks them, they create that smell inside of it. 

In addition, if pet urine sticks to your pet’s hair and then they go inside your vacuum cleaner, then that can be another reason behind the foul smell. 

2. Dust is Never a Good Idea

Dust always comes mixed with several other debris whenever you vacuum it. Therefore, you don’t just suck dust, but you also take several other particles such as dried food along with it, and all of it mixed can be the reason behind that smell in your vacuum cleaner. 

You should always keep in mind that you don’t have to let dust build up in the vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner’s health gets affected when you let so much dust sit inside the vacuum’s bag.

Make sure that you clean it every now and then so that your vacuum stays away from the smell and works efficiently. 

3. Mould Piles Up!

Vacuum bags, as well as filters, get filled with mould particles and if you don’t do anything about it, they can become the cause of a very peculiar smell inside your vacuum cleaner. 

Humidity and air are the two things that a mould counts on in order to grow. This is the reason why you’ll always come across this smell after you vacuum a carpet that will be damp or wet. 

4. Your Vacuum’s Belt!

The vacuum cleaner’s belt can lead up to be one of the main causes why your vacuum smells bad. The vacuum’s belt is made using rubber and whenever it rotates, all kinds of dirt, as well as hair, get stuck to it. 

You should make it a point to clean your vacuum brushes regularly and be sure to maintain the brushes because you don’t want to damage the rubber. When the belts get overused or stretched, that’s when they give out that strong burning smell. 

What Can Be Done to Remove the Strong Foul Smell of the Vacuum Cleaner

Once you know the cause behind that bad smell of your vacuum cleaner, you can move towards getting rid of it efficiently. Below are a few of the most simple and effective ways which you can use to make your vacuum cleaner feel all nice and fresh. 

First Things First, Empty Your Vacuum’s Bin or Dust Bag

If you have a vacuum cleaner that has a dust bag, then you have to ensure that you replace it every now and then. Many times, just doing this will ensure that your vacuum cleaner’s smell won’t be foul anymore. 

On the other hand, if your vacuum has a dust bin, then you’ll simply have to remove it, empty it, clean it properly using soap and warm water. Then, put it back. 

We suggest you add a little baking soda or vinegar. This will ensure that any potential mildew gets killed. 

Clean or Replac The Filters!

With time and constant use, the filters of your vacuum cleaner get filled with dust and dirt too. If your vacuum has a washable filter, then you should consider washing it properly. Keep rinsing it till you see no dust or dirt. 

Even if your filter looks clean, you should clean it once in a while because dust does pile up. It will take you a few minutes to rinse it properly and then, you’ll have to keep your filter to air dry for a day. 

On the other hand, if you have a filter that cannot be washed, then you should simply replace it when it gets dirty. You should replace your vacuum cleaner’s filter once a year. In case you own pets or use the vacuum heavily, then you should consider changing it once every 6 months. 

Keep an Eye on the Brushes

Whether the smell is caused because of the rotating brushes or not, it is recommended to clean them once every 12 months. These rotating brushes are generally used when you have to clean your rugs and carpets, and they collect a lot of residues. This is the reason why you should always keep an eye on your rotating brushes and make sure that they stay clean. 

Before you start cleaning them, don’t forget to unplug the vacuum. See if the brush is detachable or not. Then, remove all the hair with a pair of scissors and make sure that you don’t cut the rotating brush’s bristles. 

Once done, go ahead and wash the brush using soap and water. It will take 1 day for the brush to air-dry. Also, you should consider washing your hose every now and then as well. 

How to Ensure that Your Vacuum Doesn’t Smell

In order to keep your vacuum from smelling bad, you can take a lot of measures to ensure that it smells fresh and clean.

1. Baking Soda to the Rescue

Baking soda goes way back but it is still a very effective ingredient that is used to keep things clean. Baking soda does the job of absorbing foul odours and you should consider sprinkling it a little in the vacuum’s dust bag or the bin. 

2. You Can Never Go Wrong With Essential Oils

Essential oils simply add that extra fragrance. These oils will make your vacuum cleaner smell so good, and they also fight mould. You can add around 30 drops of any essential oil that you like to a spray bottle. Then, add a little bit of baking soda and water to it.

Once done, spray your vacuum’s dust bin or the dust bag, and voila! you’re good to go.

3. Cinnamon Works Like a Charm

Who knew that our kitchen’s spices could come in handy outside the kitchen as well? Half tablespoon cinnamon powder can work like magic when you put it in the dust bin or bag of your vacuum.

Cinnamon has antibacterial properties and it gets rid of germs, while also giving you a nice fragrance. 

4. Maintenance is the Key to it All

No matter what you use to prevent the smell, cleaning it once in a while still has to be done to ensure that your vacuum works effectively and doesn’t smell bad.

You should maintain your vacuum and you should clean it thoroughly twice a year. If you have pets, then you’ll have to clean your vacuum 6 times in a year. 


When you use something on a regular basis, it is bound to get dirty and dusty.

If your vacuum cleaner starts smelling, the first step needs to be finding out the source of the smell. Then, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that you eliminate the smell and prevent the vacuum from smelling again.

We hope that you found this article to be helpful and that these tips will help you get a good smelling vacuum cleaner. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can be Done to Get a Fresh Vacuum Cleaner?

Purex crystals can be added to the vacuum cleaner as they instantly freshen up your cleaner and they also make your room smell good.

What can be done to ensure that the Vacuum Doesn’t Smell?

You can always use baking soda or cinnamon powder or any commercial deodorants to ensure that your vacuum cleaner does not smell. On the other hand, clean the vacuum time and again so that it doesn’t get dusty and smelly.

Is it Okay if I Add Essential Oils to My Vacuum Cleaner?

Yes. Essential oils won’t do any harm to your cleaner and they will make your room smell amazing as well.

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Article by:

Katherine Frame

Katherine Frame is a professional writer and reviewer who worked in higher education for eight years before working on The Hardware Hub. She has written for multiple home magazines and blogs.

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