How To Make Vacuum Smell Better: Reasons Your Vacuum Cleaner Smells Bad

How To Make Vacuum Smell Better - Why Does My Vacuum Cleaner Smell Bad

Jul 19, 2021
You are struggling with vacuum cleaner smells when doing the housework even though you invested in an expensive vacuum machine. I used to have the same issue and I manage to get rid of those foul odors. Right now, you are going to know all that I've done to solve the issue.

How to Keep a Vacuum Cleaner Smelling Fresh

A vacuum cleaner is now a basic home-cleaning equipment all over the world. In theory, it is an effective tool for us to keep our house clean and fresh. In practice, in most cases, I have to withstand foul and nasty smells coming out from the machine. I keep wondering why it can happen to a cleaning equipment. I started to search about this issue and found out that this is a very popular problem when doing cleaning with the vacuum machine. The machine can function correctly but it does not mean that it does not emit bad odors. I have tried many methods to make vacuum smell better and here are all experiences I want to share with all of you!

Cleaning tasks are tired and it is much more exhausted when you have to deal with burning vacuum smell.


Where are all those “nasty smells” coming from? The vacuum cleaner smells like burning? The vacuum smells like feet? Here are all possible causes to explain this problem.

Whether you are using a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner, these things are the causes of the vacuum cleaners’ smells.

Possible causes of smoking odor of the vacuum cleaner


1/ Pet Hair

If you are raising a pet like a dog, a cat, etc. at home, their hair-falls are one of the main causes of this issue. Normally, pet-hair are smelly and they are a lot worse when stuck inside the vacuum cleaner. This is the reason why your vacuum device smells like feet.

Apart from pet-hair, pet urine is another “culprit” in this case. Let’s think like this. The liquid sticks to your home-carpet and also their hair. When we vacuum, the mix of pet urine and pet hair can create a “special” combination of nasty smells to your house.

➜ RELATED: How To Clean Dyson Vacuum Cleaners In Easy Steps

2/ Mold

If you don’t have pet at home, it does not mean that your vacuum cleaner will not emit bad smells. Dust and dirty things stay in the vacuum bag can make strong smell if they are left unattended for a long time. Why?

It is because humidity and moisture make a good environment for mold to develop and grow. Then, when we do vacuum, these dirty molds get into the vacuum bag and create nasty smell.

3/ Belt

Vacuum belt is the part that is made of rubber and its function is to make the vacuum brush to roll and capture all dirt.

Moreover, overused vacuum belt can lead to burnt belt and as a result, a burning smell is emitted from the vacuum cleaner. The rubber belt is not as durable as the metal belt though it is cheaper than the metal one. If you are using the rubber belt, it is advised that you replace it once a year as it get worn out easily.

In order to check the issue, you must first unplug the device. Then, if you see any pet hair, strings, fiber stuck in the vacuum brush, you pull out them immediately and plug back the vacuum cleaner.

4/ Dust and debris

A mix of different debris and dust stored in the vacuum bag is another reason why your vacuum cleaner smells badly.

The mix of dust and debris is not only harmful for your health but also for the durability of your vacuum machine.

To solve this issue, you must first stop and unplug the machine. Then, check the roller and remove anything stuck in the vacuum cleaner.

5/ Motor

Motor, the most important part of the vacuum machine, can be burnt inside and create smoking smell for your vacuum machine.

In order to determine if the motor has problem or not, you should check first the rubber belt and brush roller. If they are all fine, the motor might be having problem. In this case, you should bring to a professional service and repair centre for checking.

Please remember to unplug the machine whenever you would like to check the vacuum cleaner.


You know about all factors that contribute to make foul odor for the vacuum machine; but, most importantly, how to eliminate those nasty smells and prevent this issue from happening again.

I would like to divide this main part into 2 sections:

1/ How to fix the issue: a step-by-step guide

Young woman having fun with vacuum cleaner

Some people say that bagless vacuum cleaner smells bad but, in reality, both bagged and bagless vacuum cleaner will have the same problem if they are not cared properly.

● Compulsory checkup

You should always remember check the vacuum belt and the brush roller before using the vacuum cleaner. You should see if any hair, pet hair, string, etc. stuck there or not. They are all potential causes of bad smells.

If these parts are clean. Then, plug in and start using it. If you still smell smoking odor, then, you should think of something wrong with the vacuum motor. A “healthy” machine needs to move smoothly and freely.

After the cleaning task, you should clean the dust bag for the bagged vacuum cleaner or the dust basket for bagless one. Besides, the vacuum filter has to be cleaned frequently. If you are not sure about how often the filter should be cleaned, please read the provided manual of your machine or contact directly the manufacturer to ask for this information.

Step 1: change the vacuum bag or empty the canister

If your machine is a bagged version, check the bag and replace a new one if it is too old. Please try to buy authentic bag manufactured or recommended by the brand. In principle, you should change the bag every 6 months but it can be shorter if you use the vacuum machine very often.

The bagless version in this case is much more convenient for you when you just need to empty the dust canister; then, wash it and let it dry completely.

● Step 2: Clean all vacuum’s parts

Use a wet cloth to wipe all the surface of the vacuum cleaner including the hose, the filter, etc. After, use another dry cloth to clean these parts.

● Step 3: Clean or change the filter

The filter in the vacuum cleaner is important to keep dust, dirt and all allergens not to be back into the vacuumed area. In other words, the filtration system of the machine helps to protect your health as well as all your beloved ones. So, my advice is that you don’t go for any cheap filter when it is time to change the filter.

In theory, it is recommended to replace the filter every 3 months to 12 months. If your vacuum device uses washable filter, you should disassemble it to clean frequently after several using times.

●  Step 4: Put perfume pads

After completing all the above steps, you can place a perfume pad on the top of the filter of the vacuum machine. By this way, when you turn on the machine, a pleasant scent will be released!

➜ RELATED: How To Fix A Vacuum: Common Issues With Vacuums And How To Fix Them

2/ How to prevent the issue from happening again: some useful and simple tricks

To face up with all issues in life, I always keep in mind that “Prevention is key!”. This is why I would like to find ways to prevent the vacuum cleaner from emitting bad smells than waiting for it to create odor.

It is very simple to prevent the vacuum device from bad smells. It is summarized by 2 words “Regular maintenance”. Please follow the 5 steps I have described above.


When you have a clean vacuum device, you may want it to bring fresh smell for your house. Right?

Here is the list of best vacuum cleaner deodorizer:

1. Baking Soda

The baking is well-known for its cleaning properties. This substance is able to absorb odors. You just simply put some in the vacuum bag or sprinkle it to the walls of the canister. This is the most basic deodorizer you can think of.

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils especially organic oils are good deodorizers you can apply for your vacuum cleaner. My favorite scents are thyme, lemongrass and lavender. These oils will not only create pleasant smells while vacuuming but also help to prevent mold from developing.

You mix around 20-30 drops of oil with 10 liters of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle with some baking soda. After, you can spray inside the vacuum bag or the dust canister.

➜ RELATED: How To Clean With Vinegar - Amazing Remedies And Cleaning Hacks For Homeowners

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a popular spice you can find in the kitchen. Surprisingly, it is an effective deodorizer in terms of cost and performance.

Just simply put a little cinnamon in the vacuum bag or canister. It will help to protect your house from unwanted bacteria and germs. Its aroma is not too strong for your living environment.

4. Commercial vacuum cleaner fresheners

If you have a little budget for professional vacuum cleaner freshener, some good products are being sold on the market. As they are made for this job, they are much more effective to kill odor and release nice scent to your house.

Here are some products that you can have a look at:

●  SEBO Fresh Air Scent Tabs (Orangina Sun)

This product is packed to come with 5 capsules per package for long-term storage. The capsule can be used for any type of vacuum cleaner.

When you put one capsule inside the dust bag or canister, a citrus scent is emitted to keep you house smelling fresh and eliminate nasty odors. This product is recommended for homes with pets.

●  Scent Tablets

This product does not have any scent but it can help your home to get rid of bad smells. There are 8 tablets per package for long-term use. You just simply place one tablet inside the dust bag or canister, you will not need to worry about any uncomfortable smells.

●  Fresh Wave Odor Removing Vacuum Beads, 5.25 oz

This product is another popular type of deodorizer for all types of vacuum cleaners. This product is my favorite one thanks to its natural ingredients and its environmental-friendly design. This is a safe way to eliminate odors while is still safe for human, pets and the Earth.

You put a cap of vacuum beads in the dust bag or canister. When we start vacuuming, the airflow of the machine will activate the beads’ smell removing properties.

The best answer for the question “How to make vacuum smell better?” is the combination of regular cleaning maintenance and good deodorizer.


How often should we clean the machine?

There is not an exact answer for this question because it depends on many factors such as the size of your house, the number of pets at home, the size of your home carpet, etc.

For standard use, it is advised to clean thoroughly the vacuum cleaner every 3 to 6 months but it may come earlier if you use the machine quite often or even you have to clean it every month because of your pets.

There may be too many information in this guide so far; thus, to summarize, please bear in mind these things:

● Take some time to read through the machine manual to know how to use it properly. You need to disassemble all parts for a regular cleaning maintenance.

● The vacuum is best for hair, pet hair, strings, carpet, etc and never for liquid. The liquid when go inside the machine can create mildew odor and bacteria.

● Set a little budget for deodorizer products. Besides, some good deodorizers can be found in our house and kitchen such as baking soda, cinnamon, etc.

● Carpet is a challenging area in our house that usually has bad smells. If you can combine dry cleaning method with vacuuming, it is an optimal solution.

➜ RELATED:  How to Get Dog Hair Out of Carpet - How to Get Rid of Dog Hair in House

Final Word

How to make vacuum cleaner smell better is common household struggle nowadays. There are many other ways to prevent, to deal with the vacuum smells. If you don’t mind, please share your experiences to make the housework more enjoyable!

You Might Also Like