This is one of the common issues that pet owners find in home cleaning. A good and efficient vacuum cleaner is a must for picking up pet dander and hairs. But after each time you vacuum, there is a noticeable smell that lingers on.

And it gets worse with each house vacuuming cleaning session. You tried emptying the vacuum canister and it is still there though there is a slight reduction in smell. You need help and we would like share some tips on ways to get rid of or at least minimise the unpleasant smell.

1. Get into the habit of emptying the vacuum cleaner regularly.  

It is the accumulation of different smells that are allowed to stand together that makes the problem so bad. 

2. Change the Bag Regularly (Applicable for a vacuum cleaner with bag)

If a smell is starting to be noticed from the vacuum cleaner, it is usually the result of the bag being filled with lots of smelly contaminants. The simplest way to get rid of the smell is to change the bag regularly. 

3. Clean the dirt canister bin (Applicable for a  Bagless vacuum cleaner)

After multiple vacuums, dirt get caked and line the container which begin to fester and be the main cause of the smell.  After emptying the bin, wash it with  some liquid detergent and give it a good scrub and rinse!   

4. Wash and/ or Replace the filter

Filters in a vacuum cleaner work to keep dust, dirt and allergens out of the air.   They get dirty quick especially when you are cleaning up after pets. If the filter is clogged, it can cause the vacuum to smell like wet dog.  

Pet dander can cause allergy problems too so be sure to wash your (sponge) filter or replace it frequently.  It is advisable to replace the filter at least every 3 to 6 months to maintain performance and to prevent foul smell.

5.  Check for Blockages

If you have changed the bag or emptied the canister and the smell is persistently obvious, you will need to find out more.  It is most likely there’s a blockage in the vacuum cleaner.  Pet dander and dust might be clogging intake valves, filters and hose.  Remove any blockage you find and if you are sure how to check for blockages, consult the manual or get help.

6. Clean the Rollers/ Brushes

Hair gets caught around the rollers and embedded in the brushes.  This will give something for the dust and dirt to cling to.  Once a month, flip your vacuum over and inspect the brushes. Pick hair out of brushes and cut tangles free from the roller.

 7. Use the Correct Tools

If you just brushed your pet, don’t try to mow over the tufts of fur with the vacuum. Use the hose on the large tufts to prevent clogs and tangles on the roller.

8. Avoid Damp Dirt

Avoid vacuuming damp dust and dirt.  This can stick to any surfaces within the vacuum cleaner and while it is drying out enables the growth of molds and fungi.

9. Introduce a Fresh Smell

After doing the above steps and if the unappealing smell is still there, try adding a fresh smell to mask it off.   Any of the options below will add a fresh scent to your vacuum cleaner and all over your home every time you use your vacuum cleaner. 

  • Take a piece of paper towel and sprinkle a generous helping of vanilla extract or your favourite essential oil on to it. Next, tear the towel up into small pieces and drop on to the floor. You can then simply vacuum the paper towel up.
  • Insert a dryer sheet or pieces of dry orange peel into the new vacuum bag through the hole that attaches the bag to the vacuum. If you have a canister model without bags, stash the sheet or orange peel in the filter cavity.
  • You can also sprinkle ground cinnamon, grounded coffee or ground potpourri directly onto the floor and vacuum as usual.   Note: If you have a white or light-colored carpet, be careful about using dark-colored spices — you don’t want to stain the carpet.
  • Vacuum the contents of a small box of baking soda. Baking soda is an odour neutralizer which will prevent bad smell from coming back out into your home.  However, you may have to do that a few times before it really starts to work.