My vacuum cleaner smells terrible

Southern Girl
by Southern Girl

I have a dog and three cats so I vacuum a lot. I empty the canister every time but still whenever I use my vacuum cleaner the air smells terrible. What can I do to prevent this? Does anyone have tips for how to clean a vacuum?

  8 answers
  • Cheryl Clark Cheryl Clark on Feb 15, 2015
    I don't think you can prevent it, but I put Arm & Hammer Carpet & Room Pet Fresh Odor Eliminator in my vacuum cleaner bag and that helps cut the doggy/cat odor for a longer period. I have also tried the frebreze vacuum bags and they work pretty good.
  • Sounds as though the filter has not been doing its job. Fine dust gets through the filter bag and collects inside the fan housing. Some vacuums have a filter in front of the fan that will collect this dust, look for it. It may need to be removed and cleaned. If not, you can use a air can for computers if you do not have access to a compressor and blow the dust out. Ideally do this outside. Run vacuum without bag and while its running blow the compressed air into the fan area. This will break up the dust and it will blow out the discharge end of the unit. there will be a lot of dust coming out. So be prepared. If your not able to do this, I suggest you take the vacuum to be serviced where they can clean inside. There are vacuum fresheners that can be purchased that will emit a pleasant odor when the vacuum is running. But these only mask the odor and does not get to the root cause of it. Also you will notice that there is a bit less suction as the fan fills with the odor causing dust it lowers its ability to suck as hard.
  • When was the last time you replaced the filter? I do not use bagless vacuums any more because I would go through a lot of filters. If you have an air compressor you can blow out the filters every couple weeks to keep them clean.
  • Dee Dee on Feb 16, 2015
    I had the same problem,here is what I did and found that it works and does so for a very long time...I made a small plastic see through bag and put the Downy Unstoppables that are used for laundry in the bag and taped it closed,then made some small slits in the bag(small enough so that the Downy beads can't fall out) and then just put it in the vacuum cup(I use this in my stic-vac)after every use when dumping the cup,I remove the bag of beads,dust it off and put it back into the cup.I have tried many things that didn't work but found that this does and can be used over and over again as the smell lasts a long time and smells beautiful to boot!!!!!
  • Sandra Audet Sandra Audet on Feb 16, 2015
    I have a dirt devil and I put the filter in the dishwasher and all of the plastic parts, dog smell gone. Let the filter dry for at least 2 days. the filters costs 20-30 dollars, better in my pocket.
  • Tzu1029398 Tzu1029398 on Feb 18, 2015
    i use essential oils in mine... couple drops in the canister.... i have eucalyptist mint... it helps.. i have dogs too...
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  • Janice Janice on Feb 01, 2024

    I use a few drops of essential oil directly into the canister and often place the canister outside in the fresh air after cleaning. My vacuum has a sponge filter that I wash out using Dawn dishwashing soap. I'd rinsed it out so it looked relatively clean then decided to squirt a couple of drops of Dawn. Wow! Much more dirt came out. Rinse, rinse, rinse and set in a safe place to air dry before replacing into the vacuum.