7 Reasons Why Your Vacuum Cleaner Smells

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Picture this: you grab your trusty vacuum cleaner, all set to tackle the dusty mess in your home, and then BAM! An unexpected twist hits you like a ton of bricks—a foul stench, right from your very own vacuum cleaner

Yep, you heard that right! The same vacuum meant to freshen up your living space is now unleashing an offensive odor that makes you wonder what on earth is going on.

But hey, no worries, we’ve got your back! Together, we’re diving deep into this smelly mystery. From clogged filters to trapped debris, we’ll uncover the reasons behind your stinky vacuum cleaner. So let us sniff out the culprit and bring back that sweet, fresh-smelling victory to your home!

vacuum cleaner floor brush

Filters or Dust Container Is Wet

When you clean the dust bowl or accidentally suck up wet debris, moisture can find its way into the vacuum’s filter or dust bag. If you don’t take the time to thoroughly air dry them, you’re practically inviting mold to set up camp inside your vacuum cleaner.

Mold loves warm, damp environments, and your neglected filter or dust bag becomes the perfect breeding ground for these pesky spores. As they multiply, the mold releases a musty, unpleasant odor that can quickly turn your cleaning routine into a stinky nightmare.

The Dust Bowl Has Something Gross In It

As the vacuum does its job, it not only picks up dust and debris but also sucks in tiny insects that happen to be in its path. Now, at first, it might not seem like a big deal. After all, they’re just bugs, right? But here’s where things get interesting (or should I say, stinky).

Once those poor little critters are stuck inside the vacuum, they start the natural process of decomposition. It’s like a tiny bug graveyard in there! As time goes by, their bodies break down, and as a result, they release all sorts of funky-smelling compounds. And that, is when the foul stench starts to spread.

There is Mold Growth Inside The Vacuum Cleaner

Mold growth inside the vacuum cleaner isn’t solely triggered by wet debris and filters. Storing your vacuum in a humid environment, like the balcony or utility area, can also introduce moisture, as can any leaks or damaged seals. These factors create the perfect breeding ground for mold, leading to its formation inside the machine.

Parts Are Clogged

Clogged filters, tubes or even roller brushes affect the airflow in a vacuum cleaner. The accumulated debris and dirt can start to decompose, especially if there are any organic materials like food crumbs or pet dander. This decomposition process gives rise to not-so-pleasant odors that can quickly spread throughout your home as you vacuum. Moreover, it can put a strain on the vacuum cleaner’s motor, leading to overheating. This overheating can cause the motor’s insulation or other components to release a burning smell, indicating potential damage.

You Have A Pet

Pets themselves might not be the culprits of that funky smell, but when your vacuum starts gobbling up their hair, it’s a whole different story! Your vacuum isn’t just picking up those pesky strands. It’s also collecting their dead skin cells, dander, and maybe even traces of urine scent if there have been any accidents. All these lie in the vacuum cleaner’s dust bag emanating odour and even affecting hygiene in your house.

Components Have Worn Out

An old vacuum that has seen its fair share of cleaning battles may struggle to handle the load, causing the motor to overheat. Similarly, damaged parts like a worn-out belt or a faulty motor can put extra strain on the machine. This overheating can lead to the insulation around the motor or other components to burn, releasing that distinct burnt smell.

Lack Of Maintenance

Neglecting to give your trusty vacuum cleaner the care it deserves can lead to a whole bunch of foul smells that you’d rather avoid. Clogged filters and full dust bags may have organic matter that start to decompose, unleashing a stench that fills the air every time you switch on the vacuum. Moisture could lead to mold and worn out parts could lead to burnt smell. Hence, it is important to periodically service your vacuum cleaner and regularly clean it for an odour-free home.

How To Remove Bad Odour From Your Vacuum Cleaner?

clean vacuum cleaner to avoid smell

Now that you know the causes of stench from your vacuum cleaner, let us try to figure out how to remove that stench.

Clean The Dust Container

To kick those nasty odors to the curb and keep your vacuum smelling fresh, let’s start with the most crucial step – cleaning the dust bag or container. After each use, make sure to discard the debris, especially if you don’t vacuum frequently.

The dust containers of bagless vacuum cleaners come with filters. And if the filter happens to get wet, be sure to dry it thoroughly before your next cleaning session.

To keep things spick and span, give the dust container or bag a good wash every 1-3 months, depending on how often you use your vacuum. Use mild soap and water, then make sure it’s completely dry before putting it back in action. Sun drying it for extra drying power is a great idea if the weather allows!

Related reading: Best Vacuum Cleaners In India

Replace The Filters

If the filters have already started to stink, first try soaking it in regular detergent and washing it thoroughly. If the stench persists or the fibres are coming off, unfortunately, it is time to replace the filters.

Check The Brushes And Accessories

The roller brush does a fantastic job thanks to the belt and motor working together. But sometimes, human and pet hair, along with other pesky debris, can hamper its free movement. When they get tangled up in the roller brush, friction kicks in, and that can lead to belt wear and, you guessed it right, a burning smell.

But fret not! We’ve got a simple solution to keep your roller brush clean. Grab a small pair of scissors and gently cut off any hair or debris that’s causing trouble. And if you suspect there’s something more significant stuck in there, consult your manual and safely remove the brush to check for any large obstructions.

Wash The Hose And Wand

If you have picked wet debris using your vacuum cleaner, moisture and dust may result in a clumpy mess inside the hose and wand. To clean it, grab a health faucet or any other source of pressurized water and force water inside the wand and hose. The high-pressure water will dislodge any stubborn debris in it.

Now, the crucial step – sun-drying! After the cleaning, make sure to thoroughly dry the hose and wand under the warm rays of the sun. But wait, how do you know if they’re completely dry? Simple! Tap the wand’s opening on a newspaper. If you spot any water droplets on the paper, it’s a sign that more sun time is needed.

How To Use Vacuum Cleaner To Spread Pleasant Odour In Your House?

using vacuum cleaner to spread fragrance in home

Now that you know how to remove odour from vacuum cleaner, let us explore how you can use your trusty cleaning companion to elevate the fragrance of your home!

Add Essential Oil To The Filter

Your vacuum cleaner can be turned into an air freshener by adding a few drops of essential oil to the filter. The air that passes out through the vacuum cleaner will pick the aroma of the oil and spread it in your home, leaving a fresh and inviting ambiance. It can also neutralize any odour inside the dust container and filter.

Spread Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda on surfaces like upholstery, mattresses, carpets, or any area where odors linger, and let it work its magic for a few hours. Baking soda is an excellent odor neutralizer, absorbing and trapping unwanted smells. Once the waiting period is over, bring in your trusty vacuum cleaner and suck up the baking soda along with all those pesky odors it has captured. You’ll notice an instant improvement in the air quality and fragrance of your home.


Do Bagless Vacuum Cleaners Smell?

Yes, bagless vacuum cleaners can smell if there are any organic debris inside decomposing inside. To avoid it, clean the dust container after every use.

Can I wash Bagless Vacuum Cleaner?

Yes, dust containers of bagless vacuum cleaners are made of plastic. They can be washed using water and mild soap. Remove the filter and clean it if necessary. Also, dry the container and filter thoroughly after washing.

How Do You Make A Vacuum Cleaner Fresher?

You can make a vacuum cleaner fresher by first cleaning all components including dust bag/container, tube, wand, floor brushes and accessories. Then, add essential oil to the filter or keep some citrus peels or cinnamon powder inside the dust bag so that it emanates a nice fragrance when in use.

Why Does It Smell Musty After Vacuum Cleaning?

The main cause of musty smell after vacuuming is mold inside the dust bag or filter. Discard the debris, wash the dust bag and filter thoroughly and then air dry it completely to get rid of the musty smell.

Why Does Vacuum Cleaner Have A Burnt Smell?

A common cause of a burnt smell in a vacuum cleaner is usually due to a worn-out belt or the motor insulation starting to burn out. This can happen when the machine is old or when there’s friction between the roller brush and the belt caused by entangled hair.

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