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Four Easy Tips When the Vacuum Cleaner Stinks

person cleaning the living room carpet with a vacuum cleaner

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Have you ever wondered what makes that foul smell when you’re running the vacuum cleaner? It seems odd because the vacuum is meant to make things cleaner and less dusty, after all! Let’s take a look at what could be causing the problem.

The four main causes of a vacuum cleaner smell

1. Pets

Most furry creatures release hair and dander, which is quite smelly. When you suck this up with the vacuum, it all ends up inside the device. If pet urine gets added to the pet hair and dust, this all mixed together will create a strong musty smell.

2. Moisture

Unwanted moisture particles may be found in vacuum bags and filters, which thrive on humidity and any moisture you picked up while vacuuming. This will create a mix that takes the smell up a notch.

3. A burned belt and vacuum brushes

Sometimes the belt may be the root cause as it is made with rubber and because it circulates the brushes, it picks up dirt, hair and food, which clogs the entire belt mechanism. It is easy to detect a burning plastic kind of smell.

4. Excessive dust

This is relative to dust mixed in the bag with so many other “stinky” factors, creating a symphony of smells. Any or all of these reasons may contribute to that unpleasant vacuum cleaner smell we know all too well.

Let’s tackle the vacuum cleaner smell head on

Here are four tips you can use to mix and match to find the right “recipe” for eliminating that yucky vacuum cleaner smell once and for all.

Tip #1 – Get to know your vacuum cleaner

Start a new regular cleaning and maintenance routine and schedule to manage the vacuum cleaner smell. It’s best to place the vacuum cleaner on some kind of a work bench and learn what the parts are. Make sure to clean them every month or even every time you vacuum. Empty the bag or canister—and be sure you have a damp paper towel to gently remove all traces of dirt, hair and dust.

Tip #2 – Learn about the filters that need changing

When the vacuum cleaner stinks, get to know your filters and change them as needed. The filters are usually replaceable, and some vacuum cleaners have easy-to-clean filters. Be sure you have the device unplugged while you are cleaning it.

Tip #3 – Deodorize your vacuum every once in a while

If you have a vacuum cleaner that uses bags, just wipe the interior of the vacuum where the bag sits when you change out the bag. Sprinkle with a little bit of baking soda to neutralize the odors.

If you have a bagless vacuum cleaner, you’ll just need to take one extra little cleaning step in your vacuum deodorizing routine. You’ll empty out the chamber where all the dirt, dust and hair is collected. Then you’ll wipe it down with a cloth with warm, soapy water. Leave it open to dry thoroughly before you close the little trap door and start using the vacuum again.

Tip #4 – Try a spice from your kitchen or scent from your bathroom

While you are cleaning all of the moving parts and getting to know the inner workings of your vacuum cleaner, try using a tablespoon of ground cinnamon inside the bag or container (depending on if you have a bag-based or bagless device). It will produce a nice aroma when vacuuming.

Happy cleaning! We hope you enjoyed learning about getting rid of a bad vacuum cleaner smell. Don’t forget to check out our other tips on cleaning your home such as what works best for cleaning carpets, how often to clean the bathtub and the proper way to get rid of dust. Make sure you register with Ask Team Clean to get more advice and rewards sent to you!