Why Does My Vacuum Cleaner Smell So Bad When I Vacuum?

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

Clogged vacuums can give off an unpleasant aroma.


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, odors 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 deodorizing 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 odor. Beater brushes that stick can lead to broken vacuum belts and should be repaired as soon as possible.