Find Out How to Clean Smelly Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners are meant to clean your house. So, it doesn’t feel good when your vacuum cleaner releases bad smells in the air. Sadly, our cleaning equipment also smells bad for various reasons.

Therefore, you have to be careful to ensure that your vacuum is clean, and deodorized so that it doesn’t smell bad. 

If you want that the vacuum will discharge a fresh scent after every time you clean, then you have to put some extra efforts and take care of the machine.


How to Clean Smelly Vacuum Cleaner?

Nothing ruins a good day like cleaning with a smelly vacuum cleaner. A smelly vacuum makes us feel like we are making the house dirtier instead of cleaning it. 

Thankfully, a smelly vacuum can be easily fixed. To get rid of the smell, you first need to find out the source of the odor in the vacuum. 

What is causing that smell?

There are many reasons behind a stinky vacuum cleaner. If bad odor comes from your cleaning machine you should take the necessary steps as soon as possible. There are many factors that contribute to a smelly vacuum cleaner:

A dust bag/Receptacle with Smelly Dirt:

If there is smelly dirt in the dust bag, the vacuum might smell. However, the smell can be removed if you simply empty the dust bag. If it is a bagless vacuum, empty the dust container. 

In case of reusable dust bag, it should be washed and dried in the sun. For bagless vacuum cleaners, the dust canister should be cleaned with a solution of water and baking soda.

Dust bags and dust canisters should frequently be emptied to prevent bad smells. You don’t have to wait until the bag gets full. Even reusable dust bags get old, therefore, they should be replaced at least once a year. 

A dirty or worn out filter:

A vacuum's exhaust filter prevents the leaking of bad smells from the vacuum. But dirty or worn out filters will allow the smell to leak. 

If your vacuum’s filter is washable, clean it with soapy water and let it air dry. You can also dry the filters in the sun, for 24 hours. 

On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget that even washable filters wear out with time. Thus, the filters should be replaced every 3 to 12 months.

If you have a cylinder or canister vacuum that smells, the odor may be caused by the dirt stuck in the hose. To remove the smell, clean the hosepipe with a flue brush following the simple steps mentioned below:

  • Tie a weight with a nylon string or a slim cord.
  • Drop the weight through the tube until it comes out the other end of the hose.
  • Tie the free end of the cord to the flue brush.
  • Using the weight, pull the flue brush through the hose until it reaches the end.
  • The brush will remove the dirt that was lodged in the hose.
  • Disinfect the hose by pouring a solution of water and disinfectant/bicarbonate through the hose and leave it to dry.
  • If the hose is made purely of plastic, soak it overnight in soapy water in order to remove any lingering smells.

Damp dirt:

If you use your vacuum to clean moist dirt like mud, the moisture can trigger the growth of mold and other fungi inside the cleaner. 

As a result, damp dirt can also stick to many surfaces in the vacuum cleaner and cause the smell. It is wise to avoid cleaning dump dirt with the vacuum cleaner.

Dog hair:

Dog hair has a strong smell. Unfortunately, if dog hair gets stuck into the vacuum during the cleaning process, it will cause the vacuum to stink. 

To prevent this, you need to remove dog hair from the floor by sweeping. Try to avoid using the vacuum to remove hair altogether. Hair and fur are very good at causing clogs in vacuums. 

When you are going to vacuum the house next time, make sure dog hair doesn’t get sucked into the machine. Even if it accidentally finds its way into the vacuum, empty the dust bag without any further delay.


If the vacuum smells like burning plastic and too hot to the touch, it is probably overheating. This means that the vacuum has an issue and needs servicing. To get rid of that smell, take the vacuum cleaner for a checkup.

How to Keep the Vacuum Cleaner Smelling Good

If the smell stays even after cleaning the bag, filter, hose, and attachments, you need to deep clean the entire vacuum cleaner. Clean every accessible surface of the vacuum with a solution of baking soda and water. 

This process may involve disassembling the vacuum, and cleaning the individual parts thoroughly. Afterward, you will also have to reassemble the vacuum cleaner once the parts are dry.

Put dry orange peels in the dust bag or dust receptacle. Subsequently, the vacuum cleaner will give out a citrus scent whenever you clean.

Another trick is to pour cinnamon on the floor and suck it up with the vacuum. With the cinnamon now in the dust bag and filters, a sweet cinnamon scent spread in the air whenever you vacuum.

The best way to avoid a smelly vacuum cleaner is cleaning the machine regularly. At the end of the day, however, being proactive is the easiest way of maintaining a nice smelling vacuum cleaner.

Theresa Lori

Theresa Lori, a Mom, a Wife, and a blog writer based in the United States. Published on Pro Vacuum Cleaner in need of a new vacuum cleaner, carpet cleaner, steam mop, or even spare parts & accessories for your beloved appliance. And also lots of Cleaning tips for your Home, Carpet, Tiles, Wooden floor.

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