How to Get the Odor Out of a Vacuum Cleaner

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether your vacuum was used to whisk up something that has since started to smell foul, or you used it as the go-to tool for smelly hair-covered pet areas, you now find that the disagreeable odour permeates the air anytime you turn on the appliance. Rather than living with this lingering reminder of the unappealing items your vacuum has ingested, you can remedy this problem, whether you have a bagless or bag-style vacuum.

Check the bag if your vacuum is equipped with one. If it's full, change it. If you notice dirt or dust seeping out of the vacuum as you use it -- it's time to change the bag. If there are odour-causing materials in the bag, getting rid of the bag will get rid of the odour.

Spray some of your favourite perfume on two or three cotton balls and place them in vacuum bag. The scent of the perfume will escape into the air when you use the appliance. Add three whole cloves to the vacuum bag if you don't care to use perfume.

Add 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon, allspice or potpourri to the vacuum bag. If you own a bagless model, sprinkle one of the spices or potpourri directly onto the carpet and then suck it up with the vacuum.


As an alternative to perfume, soak cotton balls in your favourite essential oil, such as lemon, lavender or peppermint, before putting them into the vacuum bag.


If you have light-coloured carpet, do not sprinkle dark-coloured spices on it -- it could be stained by them.

Things You'll Need

  • New vacuum bag
  • Whole cloves
  • Perfume
  • Cotton Balls
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon; allspice; potpourri
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.