Why Does My Vacuum Smell? 6 Reasons It Stinks & How to Stop It

Have you ever been vacuuming your carpet and noticed a horrible smell? If this has happened to you, don't stress. It's something that most people have had happen!

The good news is that if you notice a burning smell or feel like your vacuum suddenly smells like a dog, rest easy knowing that you can take steps to correct it easily and have it smell-free in no time at all.

woman wearing cuffed jeans and white sneakers vacuuming her floors while the vacuum smells

Why does my vacuum stink?

That's the million-dollar question. When people have high-dollar vacuums like a Dyson, Shark, Kirby, Rainbow, Miele, or Bissell, they question the quality of their vacuum once they start to notice a smell.

Here are 6 very common reasons vacuums smell.

1. Vacuum Filters

More often than not, there is an easily correctable reason vacuums smell and that reason typically is that the vacuum filter is clogged.

Filters clogged with dust, dirt, and other particles from your floors can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, mildew, and smells, especially if you suck up anything damp or wet too. When you stop and think about all the hair and grime that vacuums suck up, it makes sense that filters can be clogged easily and then start to smell.

The best way to take care of vacuum filter odors is to replace or clean the filters monthly. Some newer vacuum models have filters that can be washed, which can be helpful in saving money as well.

2. Full Vacuum Bags or Canisters

Your vacuum just sucked up a whole lot of trash, dirt, and gross stuff off the floor which can definitely lead to unpleasant smells if left too long. Don't keep it in your house! Dump out your dirty dustbin or replace the vacuum bag, even if it isn't completely full.

3. Wet Fibers

If there was water on the carpet or the carpet was vacuumed too soon after the carpet was cleaned, the can cause musty odors to creep out of the vacuum when it's running from the mold or mildew starting to grow in it. Only vacuum dry floors and ensure your vacuum is stored in a dry, non-humid location. Be sure you are regularly cleaning your vacuum's parts.

4. Clogged Hose or Roller

Hair, strings, and yarn can cause the carpet roller to get stuck, making a burning smell as it's running. While it's not a pleasant task, turning the vacuum over and removing the excess hair is key to preventing this smell.

Check for blockages in your vacuum hoses as well and clear out any obstructions.

5. Broken or Burnt Belts

Friction and heat occur when your vacuum is in operation, so if your vacuum belt is loose, worn, misaligned, or damaged, it can generate excessive heat, resulting in a burning smell or burning rubber smell.

It can also smell if paper or something else has been trapped under the belt.

A broken belt can cause the motor to overwork, also generating a burning smell. You'll usually know it's a broken belt if your vacuum seem unable to pick up dirt effectively.

Inspect the belt, insure its properly installed and at the right tension, and replace belts as needed. This also helps extend the life of your vacuum, along with preventing nasty smells.

close up of dog's paws on a rug in a living room

6. Pet Hair

Your pets are cute, but the accumulation of pet hair, fur, and dander in vacuums can lead to unpleasant odors, especially if your pet has wet paws or accidents. This can be especially true if you frequently vacuum up pet messes, as remnants may remain in the vacuum.

For pet-related odors, consider using vacuum accessories specifically designed for pet hair, and frequently emptying and cleaning your vacuum.

How can I make the vacuum smell better?

The first thing that you have to do is clean the filter. After that is done, make sure that there isn't anything wet or musty lodged in the vacuum. If there is, that needs to be removed as well.

Vacuums don't just start smelling if there isn't an issue, so keep that in mind when you're working through all the potential problems.

You can also choose to purchase scented filters and vacuum bags for your vacuum.

How do I get rid of the dirty vacuum smell?

There are many ways that you can get rid of the dirty smells coming from your vacuum after you clean out the issue.

Opening the windows and airing out the house is the quickest way to help to dissipate the smell.

You can also use an air freshener in your space if needed.

Last but not least, it's important to keep in mind that if the carpet is still omitting an odor after it has been cleaned thoroughly, you might be dealing with dirty carpets that need to be professionally cleaned.

Zerorez® Zr Wand extracting carpeting while a furry dog sits in an upholstered chair in the background

The great thing about hiring a company to come and clean the carpets is that they're experts in the field and know exactly how to clean the carpets in the best way possible. The carpet cleaners from Zerorez® take pride in their ability to deep clean carpets without harsh chemicals while effectively removing odors and most stains.

Now is the time to book an appointment if you feel that your carpets could use a cleaning!

Book a Cleaning with Zerorez® Today!