Why does my vacuum cleaner smell so bad when I vacuum?

Updated February 21, 2017

Even properly maintained vacuum cleaners can sometimes emit odours. These odours can be caused by a number of factors. Owners can take steps to reduce unpleasant smells once the source of the problem is found.


A number of issues can cause a vacuum cleaner to smell during use. If the vacuum cleaner has foul smelling contents like dried pet urine or excessive dust, odours can escape during use. If the roller head or beater brush becomes stuck, friction can burn the vacuum belt and create an unpleasant smell.


Remedies include replacing the vacuum's filter, emptying the contents and using deodorising products such as baking soda to combat any smells. In addition, remove the beater brush and clean it free of any inhibiting debris.


In some cases, a collection of debris or dirt left in the vacuum for a long period of time may require professional service to fully remove the odour. Beater brushes that stick can lead to broken vacuum belts and should be repaired as soon as possible.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.