How to Get the Smell Out of a Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum is a tool you use to keep your home clean and smelling fresh, but what do you do when this device lets off less than an appealing odor? Nasty smells can build up in vacuum cleaners for a variety of reasons, especially if you have pets.

Pet hair can give off a musty, and dank smell especially when combined with dust and other debris such as moldy coffee grinds. Luckily this problem is not the end of the world and you can easily solve it with just a few clever techniques and a little effort.

1. Change the Bag Regularly

When vacuum smell especially foul it is usually the result of the bag being filled with lots of smelly contaminants. The simplest way to get rid of the smell is to change the bag regularly. A lot of new models will not have bags which can be a lot more convenient for regular use, however cleaning them out is going to be slightly more of a challenge.

If you do have a bagless vacuum then you are going to need to completely empty the canister. Next, you should remove the filters and soak them in soapy water. You will need to let the filters dry completely before putting them back in the vacuum or the unit won’t work effectively next time you use it.

2. Check for Blockages

If you have changed the bag or emptied the canister and the smell is still persistently apparent then you are going to need to dig a little deeper. It is highly possible that there’s a blockage in the vacuum that’s causing the smell.

For example, the intake valves could be clogged with pet hair resulting in a musty smell emitting from the vacuum. On more complicated models it’s a good idea to refer back to the user manual before you take anything apart, in order to make sure that you don’t damage any parts of your new vacuum cleaner.

3. Give the Entire Vacuum a Thorough Clean

So, you’ve changed the bag, checked for and removed any blockages yet the smell is still there. If this is the case then it likely means that the odor is stained onto the vacuum canister and you’re going to have to give it a deeper clean. To do this, you will need to prepare a cleaning solution of baking soda and water.

The baking soda will act as an abrasive that can remove any tiny particles from the canister causing the unappealing smell. Clean every reachable area of the vacuum cleaner with this solution including the filters and the hose. Dry the separate components with a clean cloth and leave the filters to dry thoroughly, then reassemble the vacuum.

4. Impose a Fresh Smell

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your vacuum should have lost its unappealing odor. But, now you need to keep it smelling fresh.

Luckily there is a cheeky little technique you can use to do this. Take some pieces of dry orange peel and insert them into the fresh vacuum bag. If you have a bagless model then you can put the sections of orange peel into the filter cavity instead.

By using this technique you can ensure that every time you use your vacuum a lovely fresh scent is spread throughout your home.

If you’re not too keen on putting the orange peel directly into your vacuum then there is another method you can use. Take a paper towel and sprinkle a generous helping of vanilla extract on to it. Next, rip the towel up into small pieces and drop on to the floor. You can then simply hoover the paper towel up, and next time you use the vacuum the delicious vanilla scent will be expelled into your home. You could also use other scents for this method, such as cinnamon or even some ground down potpourri.

bagless vacuum cleaner smells bad

A Word of Warning

A smelly vacuum is easily fixed, but you need to be aware that some smells need professional maintenance. If your vacuum is getting extremely hot and is emitting a kind of mechanical smell, then it is highly likely that there is an electrical fault. You should cease use immediately and seek technical help.

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