How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner That Smells

We use them to keep our homes clean so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if your vacuum cleaner smells.


vacuum cleaner smells


This is something that will usually happen if you clean up after pets or kids. The dirt, dust, allergens, and the air you vacuum are responsible for the smell.

A situation like this is bad enough, what’s worse is the smell is transferred to your home if you continue to vacuum with it.

As always, we’re here for you to help in your time of need. The solutions we’re going to suggest are easy and won’t cost you. So, relax and get ready to neutralize vacuum cleaner smells.


What causes vacuum cleaner smells?

One of the main reasons your vacuum cleaner smells is letting dirt sit in it for too long.

It is best practice to empty dust cups after every use. If you’re using a vacuum with bags, don’t wait till it gets filled before replacing it. If you do, the dirt will become stale and start smelling.

You can get replacement vacuum cleaner bags. If you want those cloth bags you can reuse, you will find them here.

However, make sure you replace the reusable ones if they start to smell even after a few uses.




Ways to cure vacuum cleaner smells

Now, let’s get to the hands-on part of what you can do to remove vacuum cleaner smells.

Clean the filters often

The dirt you suction with your vacuum cleaners pass through the filter(s). So, it is only natural that they will be dirty too and smell after a while.

Filters nowadays are washable so you can just put them in water and wipe gently depending on the type of filter it is.

Kindly note that before you wash a filter, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to know what it recommends.

For filters that are not washable, you will have to replace them entirely. If you’re sure the filter does not have a smell, you could just tap it a few times to get the dust and allergens out before reinstalling them.


Check the hose regularly

Sometimes dirt can line the hose and cause it to smell. A build-up of this can also cause a clog which reduces the suction.

You can detach the hose and run a small brush through it to remove any dirt or debris inside.

If you’re sure the hose is entirely plastic, you can just give it a full wash. Soak it in soapy water for a while and rinse it off.

You could also soak the hose, dust cup, attachment tools, etc. in a baking soda and water solution. This will remove the vacuum cleaner smell.

Leave them to fully dry up before using again. And be sure not to get any metal parts in water to avoid corrosion.


Use vacuum air freshener

Once the cleaning has been done, you can turn things around by making your vacuum cleaner smell good.

There are air fresheners you can use with your vacuum cleaner so your home can smell good as you vacuum.

There are even some vacuum cleaners that come with a filter that gives off a sweet smell to neutralize pet odors. A good example is this Bissell upright vacuum.


Doing these and making it a practice to keep the parts clean, vacuum cleaner smells won’t be a problem for you anymore. On a final note, we have guides and reviews that will help you make the most valuable vacuum cleaner choices. Take a look around!