Why Does My Vacuum Smell? Quick Fixes for a Fresher Clean.

Your vacuum may smell due to a clog or a dirty filter. A smelly vacuum can be an indicator of poor air quality and can affect the overall performance of the machine.

To maintain a clean home, it’s important to address the issue promptly. To prevent this from happening in the future, regular maintenance is key. By cleaning the filter and checking for clogs, you can ensure your vacuum remains odor-free. In this article, we will explore the reasons your vacuum may smell and provide tips for how to fix the issue.

Understanding The Causes Of Vacuum Odors

Vacuum cleaners are a great asset when it comes to keeping our floors, carpets, and upholstery clean. However, sometimes, they can start to emit an unpleasant odor, which can make the job of cleaning even more unpleasant. Understanding what causes vacuum odors is the first step towards getting rid of them.

Here are some common causes of vacuum smells and how to identify the source of the odor.

Common Reasons For Vacuum Smells

Clogged Filters

Clogged filters can lead to a musty smell, as air cannot flow freely through the vacuum cleaner, causing it to circulate inside the unit. Over time, this air can pick up dust, moisture, and other particles, resulting in a bad smell.

  • To fix this problem, clean or replace the filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Full Dust Canister Or Bag

Another cause of vacuum odor could be a full dust canister or bag. When the bag is full, it can start to emit an unpleasant smell as dirt, debris, and moisture accumulate in the bag.

  • To fix this issue, empty the canister or replace the bag as soon as it becomes full.

Dust And Debris In The Vacuum Brush Roll

Dust, debris, and pet hair can accumulate in the brush roll, leading to a burning smell. This is because the brush roll can get stuck, causing friction, and the motor has to work harder to keep it moving.

  • To fix this problem, clean the brush roll regularly, using a pair of scissors to cut away any tangled hair and debris.

Dirty Or Damaged Vacuum Hose

The vacuum hose can also be a source of the odor, especially when it has cracks or holes that trap dirt, dust, and moisture.

  • To fix this issue, inspect the hose for any damages and replace it, if necessary. Clean the hose with a mixture of soap and water, then allow it to dry completely before use.

How To Identify The Source Of The Odor

Identifying the source of the odor is crucial to getting rid of it. Here are some simple steps to follow to determine what is causing the bad smell.

  • Start by unplugging the vacuum and emptying the dust canister or replacing the bag.
  • Check the filters and clean them if they are clogged.
  • Remove the brush roll and clean it thoroughly.
  • Inspect the vacuum hose for damages and replace it if necessary.
  • Turn on the vacuum and check if the smell persists. If it does, take the vacuum to a repair shop to identify the underlying issue.

With these tips, you can easily identify the cause of vacuum odors and get your vacuum cleaner back to smelling fresh and clean.

Removing Pet Hair And Dirt

Why Does My Vacuum Smell: Removing Pet Hair And Dirt

Pet hair and dirt can accumulate quickly and cause unpleasant smells in your vacuum. Thankfully, there are a few simple techniques that you can use to remove both pet hair and dirt from your vacuum, as well as prevent future accumulation.

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Appropriate Vacuum Tools To Remove Pet Hair

To effectively remove pet hair from your vacuum, utilize the following tools:

  • Pet hair brush: Use a specialized pet hair brush to remove any pet hair that may be clogging the brush roller. Simply place the brush on the roller and run it over the hair until it comes loose.
  • Upholstery tool: Use an upholstery tool to remove pet hair from furniture and other surfaces. Simply run the tool over the surface, and it will capture any hair that may be present.
  • Crevice tool: Use a crevice tool to get into tight spaces where pet hair can accumulate. This is particularly useful for removing hair from stairs, skirting boards, and other hard-to-reach surfaces.

Techniques For Removing Dirt

To remove dirt from your vacuum, consider using the following techniques:

  • Empty the vacuum bag or canister regularly: When the bag or canister is full, it can cause a musty smell that will be released back into your home. To prevent this, empty it regularly.
  • Clean the filters: Depending on the vacuum model, it may have one or more filters that need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. If the filters become clogged, it can cause a smell and decrease suction power.
  • Use baking soda: To help absorb any unpleasant smells, place a teaspoon of baking soda in the bag or canister.

Preventing Future Accumulation Of Pet Hair And Dirt

To prevent future accumulation of pet hair and dirt, follow these tips:

  • Brush your pet regularly: Regular brushing can help reduce the amount of hair that your pet sheds around your home.
  • Vacuum more frequently: If you have pets or a lot of dirt, it may be necessary to vacuum more frequently to prevent build-up.
  • Keep your home clean: By staying on top of general cleaning, such as dusting and sweeping, you can prevent dirt from accumulating in your vacuum.

By utilizing the appropriate vacuum tools and techniques, as well as taking preventative measures, you can keep your vacuum smelling fresh and clean. Say goodbye to unpleasant odours, and hello to a cleaner home!

Getting Rid Of Mold And Mildew

Reasons That Cause Mold And Mildew Growth

Mold and mildew are commonly known for causing unpleasant odors in vacuum cleaners. Some of the reasons that may cause mold and mildew growth are:

  • High humidity levels: A high humidity level can create a moist environment where mold and mildew can thrive.
  • Dirty filters: If the filters in your vacuum cleaner are not cleaned or replaced frequently, they can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • Damp debris: If the debris in your vacuum cleaner is damp, it can create an environment for mold and mildew growth.

Proper Cleaning Techniques To Remove The Odor

Getting rid of the odor caused by mold and mildew in a vacuum cleaner is not a difficult task. Here are some proper cleaning techniques to remove the odor:

  • Disassemble the vacuum cleaner: Start by disassembling the vacuum cleaner and removing all parts that can be removed, such as the filters, dustbin, and brush rolls.
  • Clean with vinegar solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl. Dip a clean cloth in the solution and clean the inside and outside of the vacuum cleaner parts.
  • Allow parts to dry: After cleaning, allow the parts to air-dry completely before reassembling the vacuum cleaner.
  • Clean vacuum brush: Use a toothbrush to remove any debris or hair from the vacuum brush to prevent future odor problems.
  • Replace filters: Replace or clean the filters frequently to prevent mold and mildew growth.
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Preventing Mold And Mildew Growth

Preventing mold and mildew growth in your vacuum cleaner is crucial for maintaining a healthy and clean home. Here are some tips to prevent mold and mildew growth:

  • Store in a dry place: Store the vacuum cleaner in a dry place to prevent moisture in the parts and components.
  • Allow parts to air-dry: After vacuuming damp areas such as the bathroom or kitchen, allow the parts to air-dry before storing them.
  • Clean debris regularly: Make sure to empty the dustbin and clean the vacuum filters regularly.
  • Vacuum dry debris first: Before vacuuming damp or wet surfaces, make sure to vacuum dry debris such as dust and dirt first.
  • Use a dehumidifier: Using a dehumidifier can help prevent high humidity levels in the air and deter mold and mildew growth.

Remember, by following these proper cleaning techniques and preventative measures, you can keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh and clean.

Clogged Filters And Overfull Vacuum Bags

Reasons For Clogged Filters And Overfull Vacuum Bags

Vacuum cleaners pick up almost everything, but sometimes that means they pick up more than they can handle. Here are some common reasons that vacuum bags and filters get clogged:

  • Overusing your vacuum: If you let your vacuum cleaner fill up with dirt and debris, not only will it start to smell, but the filter will become clogged. This results in the air not being filtered, so the dust and debris will be expelled back into the room.
  • Damp or wet debris: When you vacuum damp or wet debris, such as pet urine or spilled liquids, it can make the filter wet and cause it to clog up more quickly.
  • Cheap vacuum bags: If you use low-quality vacuum bags, they may not capture all of the dirt and debris, meaning that your vacuum filter will clog up faster.

How To Clean Or Replace Filters

Cleaning or replacing your vacuum filter is an easy process. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Turn off and unplug your vacuum cleaner.
  • Check the user manual to see where the filter is located. Most filters are located either in the dustbin or behind a removable cover.
  • To clean the filter, gently tap it over a trashcan to remove any loose debris. You can also use a soft brush to gently remove any remaining dust and debris.
  • If the filter is damaged, it’s time to replace it. You can find replacement filters at most home appliance stores and online retailers.
  • Once you’ve cleaned or replaced the filter, reassemble the vacuum and turn it on to test it.

Proper Vacuum Bag Disposal

Properly disposing of your vacuum bags is important to prevent any unpleasant odors or health risks. Here are some tips for disposing of your vacuum bags:

  • Don’t empty the bag into the trashcan. Instead, put the bag directly into the trash.
  • If the vacuum bag contains particularly dirty or hazardous debris, consider double bagging it.
  • If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the dustbin directly into the trashcan, and wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining debris.
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Preventing Re-Occurrence Of Clogs And Overfull Vacuum Bags

The best way to prevent your vacuum filter from becoming clogged is to stay on top of regular maintenance. Here are some tips to help prevent re-occurrence of clogs and overfull vacuum bags:

  • Empty your vacuum bag or dustbin regularly. If using vacuum bags, replace them before they become too full.
  • Clean your vacuum filter regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Vacuum in a back-and-forth motion, rather than just pressing down and moving forward. This will help prevent debris from getting stuck in the vacuum’s filter and bag.
  • Consider investing in a higher-quality vacuum cleaner with a more powerful motor. This will allow your vacuum to pick up more dirt and debris without becoming clogged.

Tips To Keep All Odors Away

Why does my vacuum smell? Tips to keep all odors away

Let’s face it: cleaning is not the most entertaining activity to do, but it has to be done. That unpleasant smell coming from your vacuum cleaner can make the task even more daunting. If you’ve ever caught a whiff of something funny while cleaning then it’s time to take action.

Here are some tips to help you eliminate all odors from your vacuum.

Vacuuming Frequently With Clean Filters

  • Always make sure your vacuum has a clean filter to prevent any nasty scents from lingering.
  • Replace the filters based on your vacuum’s manufacturer instructions.
  • Regularly vacuum high traffic areas and areas around pet bowls to prevent dirt and debris from building up, which can cause unpleasant smells.

Spreading Baking Soda On Carpets & Floors Before Vacuuming

  • Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and floors before vacuuming.
  • Baking soda is a natural odor eliminator that works to neutralize smells without any chemicals.
  • Let the baking soda sit for 15-20 minutes before vacuuming up.

Being Mindful Of What Is Tracked Into Home, I.E Shoes

  • Shoes can track in dirt and debris that can linger and cause odors in your home.
  • Make a habit of leaving your shoes at the door and wear indoor slippers.
  • Have family and guests wipe their feet before entering your home to prevent dirt and debris build-up.

Following these tips can help keep your vacuum smelling fresh and clean. Don’t let the stinky smells stop you from accomplishing your cleaning tasks. Remember to clean your vacuum components regularly and keep your home tidy to prevent the smells from resurfacing.


Vacuum cleaners provide an easy and efficient solution to keep our homes clean, but sometimes, we encountered an unpleasant smell emanating from them. In this blog post, we have highlighted the common reasons for a smelly vacuum and the potential solutions to get rid of that odor.

From cleaning the filter to disinfecting the canister, there are many simple DIY techniques that can help you eliminate the smell and improve your vacuum’s performance. Paying attention to the condition of your vacuum and its maintenance is essential to ensure a clean and healthy environment for your family.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule to keep your vacuum running smoothly. By following these tips, you can enjoy a fresh and odor-free home, leaving you with a cleaner and more pleasant environment for you and your loved ones.

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