Tips to get Rid of Vacuum Cleaner Odors

We rely on our vacuum cleaner to keep our homes smelling fresh. But over time your vacuum may develop a bad odor. This is a common problem that doesn’t necessarily mean that your vac has reached the end of its functionality. So, here we’ll explore tips to get rid of vacuum cleaner odors to extend the lifespan of your appliance.

What Causes Bad Vacuum Cleaner Odors?

Smelly Vacuum CleanerVacuum cleaners are prone to odors, and if you have a bagged model, it is common to experience a smelly vacuum cleaner. Odors can accumulate inside the vacuum cleaner and over time, these foul odors will be released as you try to keep your home clean and fresh.

The source of the odors are the things that you suck up with your vacuum cleaner. This can include pet hair, but mold can also develop from the moist, humid conditions inside the appliance.

Mold is particularly harmful. It not only creates a bad odor, but any mold spores that are lingering inside your vacuum cleaner can escape to other areas of your home. This can be particularly problematic for any allergy sufferers in your home or members of your family who have breathing issues such as asthma.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to get rid of those nasty odors.

Tips to Get Rid of Vacuum Cleaner Odors

There are a number of tips to get rid of vacuum cleaner odors and you won’t need any costly equipment or unusual components. With some simple habits, you can ensure that your vacuum cleaner smells fresh and clean. Allowing you to continue using your vac throughout your home.

Empty The Vacuum Cleaner Frequently:

As we touched on above, the debris inside your vacuum cleaner is likely to be the cause of those nasty smells. So, one of the best tips to get rid of vacuum cleaner odors is to frequently empty the vacuum cleaner or change the bag.

If you have a bagged model, try to use original manufacturer recommended bags. These bags often have an additional layer of filtration to limit the smells released. They also have auto seal systems that help to prevent a smelly vacuum cleaner.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the bag every one to six months. But this will depend on the frequency of your vacuuming. If you have a washable bag or a debris collection bin, you should empty and wash out, allowing it to completely dry before replacing it.

Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner:

This may sound counter intuitive, since you use your vacuum cleaner to clean, but it is actually crucial to prevent nasty odors. Use a damp cloth and soapy water to wipe the surface of the vac and remove any dust or debris.

You can also use a baking soda and water mixture to wash out the filters, bag compartment and hoses. Just be sure to rinse out the parts with fresh water and dry them completely before reassembly.

Clean or Replace Your Filters:

Changing Vacuum FilterThe filters in your vacuum cleaner are designed to prevent dust, dirt and allergens from escaping back into your freshly vacuumed room. However, these filters can become clogged with debris that can not only escape back into your rooms, but may also harbor mold, mildew and nasty odors.

Most manufacturers recommend changing the filters every three to 12 months. It is important to choose recommended components that are designed for your specific model of vacuum cleaner. Third party filters are often made with inferior materials and may not properly fit your vac. This will allow particles to evade the filtration system.

If your vac has a washable filter, you can wash them and allow them to fully air dry. However, be aware that even washable filters can wear out. So you may need to purchase new ones if yours are looking beyond their best.

Use Perfumed Pads:

While it may not be the best vacuum cleaner deodorizer, you can use perfume pads to mitigate mild odors in your vacuum cleaner. You can use scented tablets such as lavender or other distinct smelling products to freshen up your vac. Just be sure that the fragrance is something that appeals to everyone in your home.

Perfume pads are scented and can be placed on top of your vacuum filter. This will release the fragrance as the machine pulls air through the pads while it is operating. You may be able to replicate this by putting a couple of dots of essential oil on your filter, but this may not be recommended for all models.

Use Cinnamon in Your Vacuum Bag:

Cinnamon is not only great in baking, but it can also absorb bad smells. This makes it one of the best vacuum cleaner deodorizer options. The strong cinnamon scent can combat the odor of the dust particles that accumulate inside your machine during cleaning. This makes a great alternative to using perfume pads. All you need to do is put a pinch of cinnamon into your canister or vacuum bag.

If you don’t like the fragrance of cinnamon, there are natural alternatives such as coffee beans or dried orange rinds that also provide a fresh fragrance and offer odor absorption properties.


The vacuum cleaner industry is worth $570 million in the USA alone. There are many reasons to upgrade your vacuum cleaner, but having a bad smell should not be one of them.

A smelly vacuum cleaner is a common thing in any home. But this is no reason to go to the expense of upgrading your appliance. If your vacuum cleaner is functioning well, but has a bad odor, you can use our tips to get rid of vacuum cleaner odors.

By following our tips and giving your vacuum cleaner a little care and attention. This can prolong the useful lifespan of your machine and enjoy a fully working, odor free vacuum cleaner. In return it will keep your home fresh and clean for years to come.