Tips on How To Keep a Vacuum Cleaner Smelling Fresh

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Does your vacuum cleaner smell like a dog? Are you struggling with a burning vacuum smell? It is funny yet inevitable that a machine used for cleaning your house can be sticky and smelly at some point. Nonetheless, it is important to learn how to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh whether it is in use or it’s waiting to clean parts of your to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh

However, before I take you through some of the irresistible hacks on how to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh, it’s important to know why the problem occurs in the first place.

Why Does My Vacuum Smell?

A vacuum stinks for many reasons. Before you decide the best way to deal with a smelly vacuum cleaner, you should know the source of the smell. In other words, you should first know why your vacuum cleaner smells before you decide on the best why on how to make vacuum cleaner smell good again.

Causes of Smelly Vacuum

Basically, there are four main reasons why your vacuum cleaner smells foul.

Pet hair/dander if you have a pet in the house such as a dog, a cat, or any other animal in the house that has furry hair, it is the first suspect. Pet dander or pet hair can be removed easily using a vacuum for long hair but not all hair or dander leaves the vacuum cleaner’s chambers when emptying the machine. Think of it this way: if pet dander and pet hair smells when outside the vacuum cleaner, how much more will it smell when clogged inside the vacuum cleaner for days?

Pet urine – another thing that makes your vacuum cleaner stink is pet urine. We are not done yet with pets. Although we all love pets, their urine is a mess when it gets into your vacuum cleaner. It is true that you may not vacuum pet urine directly using your vacuum cleaner. However, when this pet waste mixes with dust, it gets dry and finds its way into the vacuum and getting rid of the musty smell might proof to be a daunting challenge.

Mold – vacuum bags as well as filters can be good habitable places for mold. It becomes worse when the environment is humid, making it possible for mold and bacteria to multiply fast. Worse still is when you are vacuuming wet carpets, which tend to carry a lot of moist and dampness. If moist mixes with high humidity levels inside your vacuum cleaner, the smell will be extremely stinky.

Unmaintained or dirty vacuum belts – unmaintained vacuum belts can be a nuisance, bringing foul smell. You may be wondering what causes the smell. Put simply, a vacuum cleaner is a tool that enables you to get rid of certain dirt from your house. If you do not take proper care of the machine’s parts, it will elicit bad odor. In fact, vacuum belts give out recognizable burning smell that is hard to get rid of.

Also Read: How To Deep Clean Terrazzo Floors Yourself

7 Irresistible Hacks On How To Keep Your Vacuum Cleaner Smelling Fresh

Now that you know the main causes of vacuum smell, you may ask, what can I put in my vacuum to make it smell good? The following section shows how to get dog smell out of vacuum cleaners.

1. Do Away With Smelly Bags

If you own a bagged vacuum cleaner, the first prudent step on how to make vacuum cleaner smell good again is to remove the vacuum bag. If a bagless vacuum cleaner smells bad, we’ll address that later.

One of the options to a vacuum bag is to clean it. However, to be on the safe side, I’d rather you remove the bag, throw it away and replace it with a new one. Remember, it the vacuum has had the bag for several months, it could be the sole source of the awful smell, which will be hard to get rid of with mere cleaning.

Although you might be anxious about getting rid of the smell, be careful not to replace the bag with substandard bag. Going for a manufacturer-approved vacuum bag will save you a lot of agony in the future.

It is general practice to change your vacuum bag every four months.

Also Read: How to clean a smelly mop

2. Give Your Vacuum Cleaner a Thorough Cleaning

Conducting proper vacuum cleaning after a few uses is another ingenious way of dealing with a smelly vacuum cleaner. When doing a complete vacuum cleaner cleaning, you start from the exterior.

For the interior parts, use warm soapy water to ensure each part that needs cleaning is done. You should not be in a hurry when cleaning every part of the vacuum cleaner. When cleaning the vacuum cleaner, do so meticulously, ensuring every part is wiped using a piece of cloth.

You can choose to use baking soda. The correct amount of baking soda is 1 teaspoon against 500 milliliters of cleaning warm water.

The good thing about baking soda is it is an effective agent in cleaning not only the outer and inner parts of a stinking vacuum cleaner but also a good option in cleaning crevice tools and the hose.

When cleaning the hose, make sure there are no blockages. You can do this by thoroughly inspecting every part of the hose.

3. Change the Filter(s) to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh

It is good to remember that vacuum filters help ensure dirt sucked into the vacuum cleaner does not escape to the air. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that filters get overwhelmed after prolonged use.


Because filters perform such an important duty, it is prudent to inspect them regularly and if need be, you need to change them.

I agree that some of the filters are robust and permanent thus do not need replacement. If so, you need to conduct a regular cleaning of the filters, lest, your vacuum cleaner will continue to smell awful.

Like vacuum bags you need to be sure your manufacturer approves the type of filter you are replacing on your stinking vacuum cleaner.

4. Use Vacuum Cleaner Fresheners.

Have you recently cleaned your vacuum cleaner but continues to release a bad odor? You might want to opt for vacuum cleaner fresheners or vacuum deodorizers. Premium vacuum cleaner fresheners go a long way in eliminating bad odor from your vacuum cleaner.

If you decide on this option, go for a vacuum cleaner freshener that you can place easily inside a vacuum cleaner’s dust bag or even inside the filters.

Watch out for the fragrant smell that comes out of your vacuum cleaner the moment you switch on the vacuum cleaner.

5. Insert Perfume Pads

For a long time, homeowners have used perfume pads for maintaining a good smell in their toilets and bathrooms. However, what many do not know is that perfume pads are a perfect antidote when it comes to ending that bad odor in their vacuum cleaners.

Now that you know this secret, it is time you select a perfume pad with a scent that augers well with you. Once you purchase the pad, place it at the top of the vacuum near the filter (I’m sure there’ll be application instructions on the package).

The perfume pad will start to work the moment you turn on your vacuum cleaner. As air passes over and through the perfume pad, it will unleash a gentle aroma not only to the vacuum cleaner but also to the entire house.

6. Add a Little Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common substance in many homes. Although it has been widely used for many purposes, very few individuals know how it can eliminate the vacuum cleaner’s bad odor. For effective removal of the bad smell, sprinkle a little baking soda into the vacuum bag. Alternatively, you can pour some into the debris compartment.

Remember, baking soda is one of the substances with odor-neutralizing ability. As such, by putting some in the vacuum’s compartments that hold dirt, you would be controlling the spread of bad smell from spreading to the rest of the house.

7. Add Cinnamon

Like baking soda, cinnamon too has odor-chasing strength thanks to its strong scent. Therefore, your target should be the sections of your vacuum cleaner that hold or that are associated with dirt. Once you find out the areas, which evidently should include the debris and the vacuum bag compartments, you should pour a liberal amount of cinnamon into these areas.

If you are keen, you will notice that after a few minutes, the bad odor that has been prevalent in the room has subsided or even varnished completely. For better results, experienced vacuum cleaner users say you should always combine baking soda with cinnamon.

  1. In the event that you do not have the two or do not like their smell either, you can try other ideas. Some say that coffee beans, dried orange rind or even lemon peels will also eliminate bad smell from your vacuum cleaner.

If you choose the latter, have a routine of putting the aforementioned items into the vacuum’s dirt compartments for best results. However, you will be forced to remove these items from the vacuum cleaner before you use it.

Final Thoughts

The quest of how to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh is not new. It is one of the mind-boggling questions for homeowners who are struggling to ensure their homes stay clean and smell fresh all the time. Now than any other time, you have four proven hacks on how to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh even when you think it is impossible to bring back the fresh fragrance when the vacuum cleaner was new.

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