How To Clean A Smelly Vacuum Cleaner

Is your vacuum cleaner’s smell making you feel nauseous? It’s time to clean it up. A smelly vacuum cleaner can be harmful to your health. Inhaling pet dander, old dirt, growing molds, or a burnt belt can cause respiratory issues. 

Fortunately, you can get rid of the smell and improve your home’s air quality by following our step-by-step guide on how to clean a smelly vacuum cleaner. We’ll provide tips to clean the inside and outside of your vacuum, remove filters, and even sprinkle baking soda over carpets to keep them fresh. 

Let’s dive deep into the steps to know how you can maintain your vacuum cleaner’s effectiveness and keep your home cleaner and healthier.

Why Does Your Vacuum Smell Bad?

Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, here’s why your vacuum cleaner smells bad. 

Pet Dander

If you’re a pet owner, your vacuum cleaner will likely collect pet hair and dander. The buildup of pet dander inside the vacuum can lead to an unpleasant odor, making it important to clean your vacuum regularly.

Old Dirt

Leaving dirt and debris inside your vacuum cleaner for extended periods can result in a foul odor. The longer the buildup remains, the stronger the odor becomes. It’s vital to clean your vacuum cleaner regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.

Growing Molds

Using a vacuum cleaner to clean wet surfaces can trap moisture inside the machine, creating a favorable environment for mold growth.

Burnt Belt

A worn-out belt in your vacuum cleaner can emit a burning smell. This occurs when the belt rubs against the motor’s metal components, causing it to heat up and produce a distinct burning odor.

Clogged or Dirty Filters

With time, vacuum cleaner filters can become clogged or dirty, impeding airflow and causing dust and debris to accumulate. This buildup can result in the machine emitting an unappealing scent and decreased functionality.

Step-by-Step Guide to Clean a Smelly Vacuum Cleaner

Supplies Required

Before you start cleaning your vacuum cleaner, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Baking soda
  • Soft cloth
  • Screwdriver

Step 01: Unplug the Vacuum

Before starting the cleaning process, always remember to unplug your vacuum cleaner. This precaution is essential to ensure your safety while cleaning the machine.

Step 02: Clean the Inside of the Vacuum

To eliminate the unpleasant odor from your vacuum cleaner, use a soft cloth to wipe the interior. This will effectively remove any loose dirt or debris causing the smell.

Use a long brush or a crevice tool to reach hard-to-reach areas inside the vacuum cleaner.

Step 03: Add Dish Soap to Warm Water

In a bucket, mix warm water with dish soap. The dish soap will help to break down any dirt or grime that may be inside the vacuum cleaner.

Step 04: Wipe the Vacuum Housing

Dip the soft cloth in the soapy water to wipe the outside of the vacuum cleaner. Be sure to clean the entire housing, including the wheels and handle.

Dry your vacuum cleaner with a dry cloth to prevent water damage.

Step 05: Remove Filters

Cleaning the filters is an essential aspect of maintaining your vacuum cleaner. Remove the filters from the machine and wash them with soap and water to ensure longevity and effectiveness.

Step 06: Wipe the Vacuum’s Interior

Wipe your vacuum’s interior using a soft cloth. Pay close attention to any difficult-to-reach areas, such as crevices and corners. By doing so, you can remove any accumulated dust and debris from every part of the machine.

Step 07: Sprinkle Baking Soda Over Carpet

If you want to eliminate odors from your carpet, sprinkle baking soda and leave it for a minimum of 30 minutes. Baking soda effectively absorbs any particles causing unpleasant smells, leaving your carpet smelling fresh and clean.

Step 08: Reassemble the Vacuum

Reassemble the vacuum cleaner after cleaning and drying all the parts, ensuring that every part is correctly placed and securely attached. This guarantees that the machine will work efficiently and prevent any future bad odors.

Also Read: How To Clean a Shark Vacuum Cleaner


Keeping your vacuum cleaner clean is essential to maintain efficiency and prevent unpleasant odors. This article has provided a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to clean your vacuum cleaner. 

Remember to clean the filters regularly and wipe the inside and outside of the machine to prevent dirt buildup. By following these tips, you’ll not only extend the life of your vacuum cleaner but also keep your home cleaner and fresher. 

Remember to prioritize the air quality in your home by ensuring that your vacuum cleaner remains clean and fresh.


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