Vacuum cleaners are now a mainstay in our homes. Within a twinkle of an eye, they get our cleanings done. But when these units are not well cared for, they can become smelling monsters.
There are many reasons for these smells. Perhaps your pet hair is stuck in the unit, a burned belt, mold, or too much dirt. When you use a vacuum cleaner that smells, the odor escapes to every part of your house where it cleans.
Does your vacuum cleaner smell? Then, keep reading this article. We have covered everything you need to know about how to clean a vacuum cleaner that smells.
First, let’s discuss why vacuum cleaners smell.
Why Does My Vacuum Cleaner Smell During Use?
Many factors can cause a vacuum cleaner to smell. The type of dirt you vacuum up influences the smell that comes out of the unit. For instance, if you often vacuum dog hair, there is a high chance that your vacuum cleaner will smell like a dog.
However, a poor maintenance habit can cause the vacuum cleaner to smell like burnt rubber. Besides, a musty odor can occur if you don’t clean the filters well. Here are the leading causes of a smelling vacuum cleaner below:
- The sucked-up dirt.
- Clogged or outdated filters.
- Food and oil spills.
- Worn components.
- The level of humidity in the vacuum cleaner.
- Old dirt in the dust container.
Types of Vacuum Cleaner Smells
Vacuum cleaners may emit different types of smells. The following are the most typical vacuum cleaner smells and their causes:
- Dog Smell: this can be the result of vacuuming dog fur (and dander)
- Burned Rubber Smell: occurs when a component of the vacuum cleaner needs replacement.
- Vomit Smell: this arises from vacuuming liquids, causing decaying dirt in your vacuum cleaner.
- Musty Smell: happens when old blocked filters or debris are in the dust container.
- Rotten Egg: this may be due to decomposing material in the dust container.
- Burning Smell: emerge because of a worn-out component in the unit.
Meanwhile, smells, like tastes, can differ from person to person. The above list shows the most common smell associated with vacuum cleaners.
How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner that Smells
Now that you know what the likely reasons are, here are some measures you can take to eliminate nasty vacuum cleaner odors:
1. Replace the Dirtbag or Empty the Canister
The dirtbags and dust canisters collect most of the vacuuming dirt. So, your vacuum can give off an unpleasant smell if you replace the dirt bag or empty the canister only when it’s filled because the debris would have decayed.
Now is the time to change the dirtbag or empty the canister of your vacuum cleaner if you haven’t done that lately.
Moreover, to keep the problem from recurring, always empty it regularly. It is crucial for bagged vacs since most dirtbags include pores that can become blocked with dirt over time, causing your vac to generate foul odors.
Meanwhile, when choosing replacements for your vac’s dirtbag, ensure you go for quality ones. The original bags feature solid construction and, in some cases, additional filtering layers to prevent unpleasant odors.
In addition, if your vacuum is bagless, thoroughly wash the canister with a mild soap and water solution to remove any lingering odors. To minimize moisture-related issues such as mold, allow it to dry before reattaching.
2. Wash or Replace the Filter
The vacuum’s filter works hard to catch dust, dirt, and even the tiniest dirt particles to prevent motor damage. As a result, they become dirty quickly, and if you do nothing, your vacuum will smell.
So, after emptying the vacuum cleaner and it still stinks, check the filter. If it’s dirty, check your manual to see whether it’s washable. If not, replace it with new ones, and if washable, carefully clean it with a mild soap mixture.
Also, when you want to replace the filter, always ensure that you consult the manual.
3. Clean the Brush Rolls
When you clean, the brush rolls are often in touch with dust, grime, and other particles. They may gather this dirt over time, resulting in a stinky and ineffective vacuum cleaner.
So, if none of the above methods of removing nasty vacuum cleaner odors worked, flip your vacuum over and inspect the brush rollers.
You can clean the brush rolls of your vacuum cleaner by taking the following measures:
- First, remove anything trapped or wrapped around them with a seam ripper or a pair of scissors.
Spray a mix of water, vinegar/baking soda, or a disinfectant to reduce the smell and clear the blockage.
- Also, examine the other attachments. If they are dirty or blocked, clean them with warm water and a mild soap mixture.
4. Check the Vacuum Cleaner for Blockage
Have you performed the above steps but still can’t get that musty odor out of your vacuum? Don’t worry; it is probably blocked. Food spills, pet hair, and debris can become stuck in intake valves, resulting in blockages and a foul odor.
In other cases, tiny food particles may become lodged and accumulate within the hose, causing unpleasant smells over time. Without regular maintenance, the build-up can render your vacuum ineffective.
So, before you throw away your vacuum in rage, check to see if there is a clog. The simplest method to check the intake valves for obstruction is to test the suction, but you can also remove the vacuum brush and check for blockage using a flashlight.
If the hose is the source of the clog, follow these easy steps to clear it:
- First, detach it from the unit.
- To dislodge the build-up, pour a litre of hot water into a sink through the hose tube.
- Then, mix two teaspoons of vinegar (or baking soda) with a basic cleaning detergent and soak your hose in the mixture. Also, move it around to ensure that all areas are covered.
- Rinse it under running water and allow it to dry completely before reinstalling it.
How to Prevent Bad Vacuum Cleaner Smells
The above steps can help you get rid of vacuum cleaner smells. But why wait till it happens before you address it? Here are some techniques that can help prevent bad smells:
1. Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is a common home ingredient due to its excellent cleaning and odor-absorbing properties. To use it for your vacuum cleaner, create warm water and baking soda solution, then wipe clean the various sections of your vacuum to deodorize it.
Also, make baking soda a part of your cleaning routine by spraying some on your carpet thirty minutes before vacuuming. It will absorb new and existing odors while neutralizing any smell inside the vacuum.
2. Emptying the Dirtbag Regularly
There is no low risk of anything decaying or any possible odors if the vacuum’s dust bin or dirtbag is emptied often. For a bagged canister vacuum cleaner, airflow and suction power are better.
3. Making Use of Different Vacuum Cleaners for Specific Dirt
For some specific dirt, you might opt to use a different vacuum. For instance, if you have a dog, using a separate vacuum cleaner from the one you use for your home to remove pet hair is a wise choice.
4. Sprinkling Cinnamon
Cinnamon, like baking soda, is a good odor absorber. Plus, it smells much better. Sprinkle some cinnamon in your vacuum’s dust canister or dirtbag to eliminate vacuum cleaner odors while enjoying the wonderful cinnamon flavor. You may also sprinkle some on your carpet before vacuuming.
5. Using Essential Oils
Essential oils are an excellent odor neutralizer. There are many options, including thyme, lemongrass, and lavender. Use a few drops of essential oils in a 20-ounce spray bottle (or more, it’s your home) and fill it with water. Spray the dust canister or dirtbag lightly each time you empty or replace it.
Tips on How to Maintain a Vacuum Cleaner
Maintenance of your vacuum cleaner is vital for avoiding issues like unpleasant smells and preserving the performance of your vacuum. The following tips will assist you with maintenance:
Check for Clogs
Make it a practice to inspect the hose, exhaust ports, filter, and other internal components of your vacuum cleaner for blockage. Early detection of clogs will stop unpleasant smells and potential vacuum damage.
Most of the issues associated with vacuum cleaners are due to dirt. For example, a blocked filter can be the result of poor cleaning or replacement over time. So be sure to clean your vacuum regularly.
Besides, dismantle the unit every month, and clean the attachments with a moist cloth and a light detergent solution. Also, clear the filters, and make sure the brush rolls are free. Importantly, ensure that the appliance is unplugged when you are cleaning.
Ensure Dry Storage
Mold can develop on a vacuum cleaner due to moisture, which leads to musty odors and belt damage. To avoid such issues, store your vacuum in a dry location always.
Adjust the Nozzle Height Correctly
Airflow is what drives vacuums. On the lowest setting, when the nozzle is buried in the carpet, you have no airflow, which also harms your carpet. If your vacuum has a height adjuster, turn it to the highest setting, then slowly lower it until you hear the brushes make contact with the carpet pile.
Take Your Vacuum to a Shop for Servicing
You should take your vacuum cleaner to a vacuum shop if you discover a problem with it but can’t figure out what’s wrong. These stores are often affordable, and depending on the situation, the technician can fix it the same day or otherwise,
What Are the Factors that Affect the Lifespan of a Vacuum?
The maximum lifespan of your vacuum cleaner depends on some factors. They include:
- The Vacuum Cleaner’s Brand: The lifespan of the vacuum cleaner may vary depending on its brand. Brands like Dyson and Shark are popular because of the quality of their products.
- Design: The lifespan of your vacuum cleaner depends on its build quality.
- User Behavior: The way you use the equipment is also crucial. Handle your vacuum cleaner with care.
- Area of Use: The application of a vacuum cleaner can make or mar its performance and, ultimately, its lifespan.
- Maintenance: Routine cleaning and timely replacement of parts can help a vacuum cleaner to last longer.
How Does a Vacuum Cleaner Work?
A vacuum cleaner works based on the principle of airflow. It consists mainly of four parts – the suction motor, brush, dust collector, and exhaust. These four parts combine for a smooth vacuuming process.
Through a brush or a nozzle, dust and dirt enter the dust collector via the pipe or hose. The suction motor drives this operation, and all air passes through the exhaust filter to prevent junk in the vacuum while only releasing clean air.
When should I Change My Vacuum Cleaner’s Belt?
After every 3-4 months. The belt stretches out with time and won’t revolve the brush roll at the ideal pace for thorough cleaning. If your vacuum makes a squeaking sound when you turn it on, it’s due for a new belt.
You could even start to smell anything burning if you waited for a longer time. It’s been too long already! Change that belt right away!
Do Higher Amp Vacuums Clean Better?
No, not necessarily! Amp is a unit of measurement for how much power the appliance uses. Meanwhile, the more airflow the machine generates determines its cleaning capacity. A larger, more effective fan may move more air while consuming fewer amps.
As you have seen, it is possible to clean and eliminate the smell from your vacuum cleaner. By following the steps highlighted in this article, you can be free from unpleasant odors in no time.
The first time you attempt it could need a little bit of work, but if you stick with it, the process becomes easier. At Cleanitorial, we appreciate feedback; kindly give the method written above a try and share your feedback in the comment!