Why does my vacuum smell: what to do, is it possible to get rid of the smell, and how?

Frequently, during the operation of the vacuum cleaner, people notice an unpleasant odor. This can happen with a bagless vacuum cleaner or with a vacuum bag for several reasons. More about why my vacuum smell you can read in this article.

Why does my vacuum smell?

Why does my vacuum smell?

Causes of the vacuum cleaner smell

Quite often, people wonder why my vacuum smell. It happens for various reasons. If you are interested in why does my bagless vacuum smell, you can read the main reasons below.

Pet hair

If cats or dogs live in the house, pet hair actively falls out. As you know, it spreads throughout the house. The pet hair has an unpleasant odor. If pet hair gets inside the vacuum, the situation is only worsening. There is an odor that resembles unwashed feet.

If you have pets, consider one of the dedicated pet hair vacuums.

Pet urine

A vacuum cleaner smell may appear due to the urine of pets. It sticks to the carpet and pet hair. During cleaning, urine, along with wool, penetrate the device, so the bad odors increase.

And, yes, there are great vacuum cleaners for pet urine.

Mold accumulation

If you do not have a pet, this does not guarantee that your vacuum cleaner smells good. Dirt that accumulates in the dust bag of the vacuum cleaner may emit bad smells. Especially if they stay there for a long time.

Why is this happening?

This can be explained by the fact that with increased humidity, mold begins to develop. After vacuuming, you run the risk of sucking in the mold as well. It penetrates the vacuum bag and begins to spread an unpleasant smell around the house.

Vacuum belt

Rubber is used in the manufacture of the vacuum belt. This part rotates the vacuum brush and collects dirt. If you use the device very often, the belt may burn out. This causes an unpleasant smell of burning.

Rubber bands are not strong and durable. Therefore, buy vacuum cleaners that have a metal belt. If you use a rubber belt, you should change it every year.

How to check?

It’s easy to check the issue. First, you need to turn off the device. If hair, threads, or wool have accumulated inside the vacuum, they should be removed, and then restart the device.

Dust and debris

If a lot of debris and dust accumulate inside the bag, your vacuum cleaner smells may be bad. This is quite dangerous for human health, as well as for the durability of the device.

To solve the problem, you need to stop the vacuum and unplug it from the mains. Then check the device. If there is debris that is stuck in the vacuum, you must remove it.


As you know, the most important part of the vacuum cleaner is the motor. It can burn and become a source of bad vacuum cleaner smells. To determine this issue, the rubber belt and brush roller are checked first.

Dirty vacuum cleaner motor
Dirty vacuum cleaner motor

If these parts are in order, then the problem lies in the engine. It can be solved only in the service center.

Spilled food or oil

If particles of food or oil remain on the floor, they penetrate the device during cleaning. After that, it starts to emit a bad smell. This is because the oil is fixed on the working parts, including nozzles and hoses. The oil may cause clogging.

Fixing when there is a bad vacuum cleaner smells

Many people ask, how do I stop my vacuum from smelling? Previously, all the most common causes of the bad smelly vacuum cleaner were listed. However, now it is necessary to determine how to get rid of it, as well as prevent it.

Replacing the dust bag and emptying the dust canister

As you know, it is in the garbage bags that the greatest amount of dirt accumulates, which is absorbed from the floor.

If you clean the dust canister or change the bag only after it is full, this causes debris to decompose. Therefore, the vacuum emits a bad smell.

If you notice that you haven’t replaced your garbage bag for a very long time or cleaned it, and the vacuum cleaner smell, immediately proceed to eliminate your mistake. To avoid a reoccurrence of the problem, it is recommended to empty the dust bag after each cleaning process.

Especially if there is a bag inside the vacuum. After all, they have a porous structure. Over time, pores become clogged, which causes foul odors.

Using the original vacuum bags

It is recommended to use the original bags on an ongoing basis. You can also stop at those options that are recommended by the manufacturer of vacuums. This is because such parts are of high-quality construction.

They may have additional layers for air filtration. This is reliable prevention of the formation of foul smell in the vacuum bag. If you use a vacuum that does not have a dust bag, it is recommended that you rinse the canister regularly and thoroughly.

It is recommended to work with mild cleaning agents. It is also appropriate to use an aqueous solution that neutralizes persistent odors. The canister must dry well before use. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing mold forming, which again causes a foul odor.

Checking filters for vacuum cleaner smells

The main task of the vacuum cleaner filter is to capture dust and various kinds of contaminants.

This prevents further engine damage. Often the filter becomes clogged. If no action is taken, the vacuum cleaner may emit an unpleasant odor.

If you notice that even after emptying the bag or canister, bad odors remain, you should check the filter. You have to read the instruction manual if it is already clogged. This allows you to determine if the laundry bag is suitable.

If washing is not possible, it should be replaced. If washing is allowed, you can clean it using a mild detergent.

Checking the brush rollers

As you know, it is the brush rollers that are constantly in contact with debris, dirt, and dust when cleaning the house.

Over time, a lot of debris accumulates on them, which causes the formation of unpleasant smells. The device itself may stop working as efficiently as before.

Hair and dirt stuck on vacuum cleaner brush
Hair and dirt stuck on vacuum cleaner brush

If the above methods to remove the unpleasant odor are not successful, it is recommended that you immediately start checking the brush rollers. To make it easier to remove all stuck objects and hair, it is better to use scissors.

Then spray water or a solution made from white vinegar or baking soda. It is also appropriate to use disinfectants. This removes the unpleasant smell, as well as blockages.

Checking nozzles

It is also recommended to check other nozzles. If they are dirty, they should be cleaned in warm water. In addition, use a mild detergent solution.

Inspection of the smelly vacuum cleaner for a blockage

If you have checked and cleaned the bag, dust collector, vacuum brushes, and filters, however, the unpleasant smell remains, you should not immediately panic and buy another device. Often, this phenomenon is a sign of a clogged vacuum cleaner.

Sometimes wool and other debris enter the intake valves. This causes blockage of the device and the appearance of an unpleasant odor.

Frequently, small debris gets stuck and accumulates inside the hose. If you do not clean it in time, the garbage begins to decompose, which provokes an unpleasant odor.

Removing dust from vacuum cleaner pipe
Removing dust from vacuum cleaner pipe

If not properly maintained, the vacuum cleaner does not operate efficiently. You may need to replace it.

Before throwing the vacuum cleaner in the trash, check if it is clogged. The easiest way is to do a suction test. You can also remove the vacuum brush and shine the hose. This determines if there are blockages.


If the cause lies in the pollution of the hose, you can correct the situation with the help of simple steps:

  1. Disconnect the hose.
  2. Pour 1 l of hot water through the hose into the sink. This makes the growth softer.
  3. Prepare the cleaning solution. To do this, mix two tablespoons of vinegar or baking soda with a detergent cleaner. Dip the prepared product into the hose. All parts must be covered.
  4. Rinse the hose under running water and wait until it is completely dry. You can then vent it back.

Vacuum odor prevention

The above methods are effective in combating foul odors. However, it is important to know how to prevent the formation of an unpleasant odor. This saves time and effort in the future. For more details about prevention methods, you can read below.

Application of baking soda

Many housewives frequently use baking soda. It has excellent cleansing properties and absorbs odors well. Many people ask, how do you deodorize a vacuum cleaner? Soda is an effective option.

It is recommended to prepare a solution using warm water and baking soda. After that, wipe all parts of the vacuum cleaner with a solution.

You can also use baking soda while cleaning. It is sprinkled on carpets, and after 30 minutes it is vacuumed. This absorbs all unpleasant odors, as well as neutralizes the stink from the vacuum cleaner.

You can also use one of the special carpet cleaning sprays.

Uses of cinnamon for vacuum cleaners

Many people wonder what can I put in my vacuum to make it smell better? It is appropriate to use cinnamon, which is considered an excellent option for absorbing odor. After that, your bad vacuum cleaner smells good, though.

To prevent the vacuum cleaner from emitting an unpleasant smell, and to fill the house with a pleasant aroma of cinnamon, pour a small amount of spice into a dust container or garbage bag. You can even apply cinnamon over the carpet, which you vacuum then.

An alternative to cinnamon can be orange or lemon peel. These products also help to neutralize existing odors and prevent new ones. It is enough to throw them into the filter cavity.

Essential oils

Essential oils can be used instead of cinnamon or citrus fruits. They help to fight unpleasant odors and also leave behind a pleasant aroma.

Lemongrass, thyme, and lavender oils can be used. There are also other options. It all depends on what flavor you like.

If you decide to use essential oils, dilute a few drops in 20 ounces of warm water. Spray the product into the dust container or bag after each cleaning or replacement.

How to care for a vacuum cleaner?

For the vacuum cleaner not to emit unpleasant odors, it must be properly looked after. Read more about the most relevant tips below.

Block check

Check the vacuum cleaner hose after each use. Remember to check the filter, outlets, and other details.

If there are blockages, you should remove them. This prevents the formation of an unpleasant odor in the future, and also has a positive effect on the durability of the device.

Regular cleaning maintenance

Almost all the problems that are associated with a vacuum cleaner are provoked by dirt. That is why you must clean the device.

Try to disassemble it once a month and wipe the nozzles. To do this, use a cloth and a mild detergent solution.

Clean the filters regularly and check the roller brush. This removes all blockages. Before starting work, the vacuum cleaner must be disconnected from the mains.

Dry storage

As you know, under the influence of moisture, mold begins to form. This provokes not only an unpleasant smell, but also various kinds of damage to parts. Try to store the vacuum cleaner in a dry place.


As you can see, the unpleasant smell from the vacuum cleaner appears for various reasons. If you clean it regularly, these issues can be avoided.

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