Why Does My Vacuum Smell When I Use It

Why Does My Vacuum Smell When I Use It? [Quick Answer]

Why does your vacuum smell even when you do regular cleaning maintenance before storing it? And you are not wrong!

When you clean it properly before storing it, there should be no bad smell. But if it still emits some nasty odors, then it should raise some eyebrows.

But here's a thing! Even properly maintained vacuums can sometimes emit odors. However, you can take some measures to reduce these unpleasant vacuum cleaner smells.

In this guide, we will highlight some aspects associated with this matter.

Why Does My Vacuum Smell?

vacuum cleaner maintenance

As mentioned above, there can be several reasons behind it. First, if there is some foul smell, it will smell bad when you use it. These contents may include excessive dust, dried pet urine, etc.

Another reason here is a stuck beater brush or roller head. When stuck, it can cause friction and burn the vacuum's belt. It can create a foul odor as well.

Pet hair and dander also contain odors, and when they are inside your vacuum cleaners, they will make it stink. Apart from that, mold accumulation is another problem. You will find these mold particles in your vacuum bag. Again, moisture and humidity are to blame here.

Moreover, dust is never alone. It will also have used coffee grinds and dried food particles. And over time, they rot and begin to release smell. All these factors can make your vacuum cleaner smell bad.

It can happen with a bagless vacuum cleaner. However, apart from a bagless vacuum cleaner, canister types can have this problem. A canister-type or a bagless vacuum cleaner also has hoses, which can have bad smells.

How Can I Keep My Vacuum From Smelling?

How Can I Keep My Vacuum From Smelling

There are some easy methods that you can use to keep your vacuum cleaner from smelling bad. But first, you must identify the source of the problem as we described above.

Emptying your dust bag

Emptying your dust bag

You need first to replace your vacuum bag if your vacuum cleaner comes with one. In most cases, this will be the only thing you will have to do to get rid of the bad smell.

But what if your vacuum cleaner doesn't have a dust bag? Well, then there will be a dust bin, and you will have to remove it. Just empty all its contents and discard them. Now, wash the container thoroughly using soap and hot water.

You can also add a small amount of baking soda or white vinegar. It will be enough to kill any potential mildew. Make sure to wash the bin from all corners and angles.

Replacing or cleaning filters

Replacing or cleaning filters

With time, vacuum filters also get dusty and dirty. If your vacuum cleaner has washable filters, then remove the dust that is around it. Also, rinse the filter under cold water. And keep rinsing it until the water starts running clear.

Even if your filtration system looks clean on the outside, it will have some impressive dust in it. So prepare yourself to spend at least 5 minutes here. After that, you need to air dry completely for at least 24 hours. Don't just palace it back right away, or it will begin to develop mold and mildew.

 However, if your vacuum filter is not washable, then you need to replace it. In general terms, you need to replace your vacuum cleaner filters every 12 months. If you have pets or use your vacuum cleaner heavily, you should replace the filters every six months.

Checking your brushes

Checking vacuum cleaner brushes

No matter what smell you have, you should clean your rotating brushes at least a couple of times a year. If you use it on your carpets and rugs frequently, then they will have plenty of residues. So make sure to check your floor head accessory and get rid of this residue.

Make sure you unplug your cleaner. First, detach the brush if it's removable. Then, take a pair of scissors and cut or remove those pet hair stuck in the bristles. But be careful not to cut the bristles with the pet hair, or your cleaner will not function properly.

Now wash your brush using soap and water. If you can't reach it or are not removable, spray a solution of vinegar and water. After that, you can allow it to air dry for at least 24 hours. Don't place it back until it's completely dried.

Washing the hose

vacuum cleaner hose

Most people underestimate the hose power when it comes to smelly vacuum cleaners. But your cleaner hose is the first place where it first passes before it enters the filter. And then it enters the vacuum bags.

Small dust particles tend to get stuck on the inside of the tube and might cause a clog. Also, it can result in decay over time and start smelling. But cleaning your hose is not difficult at all.

You will have to detach your hose and place it flat somewhere. For removing any of those remnants, you need to use a broomstick or anything similar. Now push it through the hose and release the blockage.

Now, fill your sink with about four inches of water. Throw in a tablespoon of dish soap and a couple of bleach. You can also use vinegar or baking soda in the same amount.

After that, place your hose in it because they are flexible, so fitting will not be a problem. Next, you can cover the tube around to make this water flow through the hose. Finally, it's time to empty your sink and place your hose right under the tap.

Just run water from one end to the other and make sure that water flows through it. Now, hang it somewhere for at least a couple of days in a properly aerated area and then place it back.

Why Does My Vacuum Smell Like A Dog?

dog looks at the vacuum cleaner

Dogs are a part of the family, and they can be pretty loving and loyal. But they can also be pretty smelly. Dogs are prone to foul odors due to their body functions, sweat, dirt, and body odor.

These odors may remain in your vacuum. And this can even be a problem if you bathe your dog regularly. So, here are some steps that you need to follow to keep your vacuum cleaner from smelling like a dog.

  • Change the bag or clean the bin regularly. If you have a bagless vacuum cleaner, then empty and rinse it out after every use. Other than bagless vacuums, replacing the bag might not seem an economical option. But it will keep that vacuum smells from building up inside your cleaner.
  • Make sure to place your cleaner outside in good weather. You need to let some air in the cleaner. Allow it to be there for about 24 hours. Then, please clean it up using a soapy cloth, let it dry and store it.
  • Before you use it, place a scented laundry dryer sheet within your bagged vacuum cleaner bag or bin. As your cleaner warms up, the fragrances from the sheet will release.
  • You can sprinkle some baking soda on your carpet and leave it there for about a day. And then vacuum cleaner. Baking soda will neutralize any pet odors pretty easily. You can use laundry detergent powder with a fresh scent instead. Moreover, you can use aromatic spices like lavender, rosemary, cinnamon, or allspice.

What Can I Put In My Vacuum To Make It Smell Good?

Cleaning your machine and using a fresh scent on your carpet is one thing. It would help if you also made your vacuum cleaner smell good when using it. So here are some remedies to make your cleaner smelling fresh,

Baking soda

Baking soda works every time, and that is why it's an old remedy. In addition, it has some excellent cleaning properties and can absorb an unpleasant odor very well.

Using the hole of your dust bag, you can sprinkle some teaspoons of baking soda inside. If you have a bin, you will only have to sprinkle the baking soda over the bin's walls. And then start using your vacuum.

Essential oils

For some additional benefits, you can use essential oils as well. Thyme or lemongrass are best because they fight mold and add a fresh smell. You can add a few drops of these oils in a 32oz spray bottle.

Now fill it with water and then add a teaspoon of baking soda in it as well. Just spray inside the bin or bag but don't dampen it too much, and you want it to dry quickly. Now, use the vacuum cleaner, and you won't notice any dog smell thanks to those essential oils.

Citrus peel

If you think that nothing has worked for you to get rid of those vacuum cleaner smells? It would help if you tried citrus peel. It is one of the most efficient ways to eradicate those stinks. You can place an orange or a lemon peel directly into the filter cavity of your cleaner.

It will create a fragrance throughout the cleaner. Apart from that, you can also try putting perfume pads in your filter. A perfume pad will also work in the same way as a citrus peel.


You can put half a tablespoon of cinnamon inside your bin or bag. This spice is antibacterial and can reduce bacterial growth. Plus, it will also add an aroma that feels pleasant.


Deodorants, especially commercial ones, are a pretty large investment as compared to home remedies. But they are pretty efficient because they have a very nice fragrance as air passes through them. There are a variety of scents you can try out. It would help if you used a single tablet or a tablespoon per bin or bag, and that's it.

Frequent maintenance and cleaning

Using all the fragrance agents doesn't mean that you are exempt from cleaning your vacuum. You still have to regularly clean and maintain your vacuum and do it more if it smells bad.

If you do this regularly, you might not have to use any of these fragrance agents. However, every 3 to 6 months, you need to clean your machine thoroughly. And if you have a pet, then you might have to do it monthly.

Some Important Considerations

If you don't do the regular maintenance of your machine, then it will get dirty on the inside. What if a collection of dirt and debris is left inside a vacuum cleaner for longer periods? Well, then you will have to get some professional help to eliminate the odor.

You might have your beater vacuum brush stuck, and it can result in a broken vacuum belt. With a broken rubber belt, you will have to repair it as soon as possible.

Also, make sure that you don't use any harsh chemicals or deodorizers inside your cleaner or on your carpets. Or you will end up clogging your vacuum cleaner, and it might get damaged permanently.

Moreover, check to see if any vacuum machine smells are mechanical or hot. If that is the case, then there might be a faulty electrical cable. This issue can cause a fire hazard, and there is a risk of electrocution as well.

You need to get in touch with a technician to have a look at your vacuum. Furthermore, make sure that you don't sprinkle any dark spices on your carpet. They tend to discolor your carpet for good.


You can stop wondering about "why does my vacuum smell when I use it? ''. But keep in mind that no cleaner, including a vacuum's canister-type or a bagless vacuum cleaner, is spared from these vacuum cleaner smells.

There are various ways to remedy a cleaner that smells bad. You can try out different remedies, and they are pretty effective for freshening a vacuum that smells bad.

You can opt for commercial deodorants as well. But also keep in mind that you have to regularly clean and maintain your vacuum. Check for any faulty wires or a worn-out vacuum belt. Also, look under your floor head and get rid of any clogging in the hose too.

You can get rid of smells from your vacuum cleaner if you give it a good clean now and then. Otherwise, it will continue to smell bad when you use it.