How To Clean A Vacuum Cleaner That Smells – Article Guide

In this article, we shall discuss how to clean a vacuum cleaner that smells and how to clean the same in general. Cleaning the house is essential and will always be a part of our lives. Like the saying goes, “the house reflects of our selves. So, it is compelling yet innate and nature to every people that cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness.

Brought about by the pandemic, most of us are forced to stay at home. In such situation, the vacuum cleaner caught the attention of many, as cleaning the house may have been the focus of the people during these times, more often than prior to this period of global health disaster. The modern vacuum cleaners and other similar cordless minimalist ones have taken the market sales by storm.

However, most of the vacuum cleaner user’s dilemma is that they also have limitations.  As being used most of the time, it may accumulate unwanted gunk, which may be one of the causes of having to smell bad or to emit unwanted odor or not to even perform well as it is usually desired.

Gunk according to Meriam-Webster are filthy, greasy, or sticky matter. These usually accumulates in the leanest part of the vacuum cleaner which  is oftentimes microscopic and will amasses over the time. With these, we take a dive to show you the how’s, do’s, don’ts, and about of the vacuum cleaner.

How to clean a vacuum cleaner that smells?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the musty smell from your vacuum, then this article is for you. We’ll show you how to clean a vacuum cleaner that smells. Because you are reading this, it seems that your cordless or handheld device might not smell so clean anymore.

It could be a clogged device already. The smell is actually caused by bacteria that grows on the dirt and dust in the appliance itself.

Cleaning a vacuum cleaner is a simple and straightforward task. With just a few supplies and tools, you can make sure its stays in top shape and is ready to go when you are to utilize the same for cleaning.

Suggested materials:

  • Vacuum cleaner with removable tank
  • Water
  • Vinegar or Special Vacuum Spray
  • Bowl
  • Drain snake (optional)
  • Mopping towel or rag

Empty out your vacuum cleaner as much as possible by removing all the debris and dust that has accumulated in it. Set this aside for now.

Take off the lid on top of your dust canister or remove the bag from inside of your machine if you have an older model. A good rule of thumb is to replace it with a new one once a year or as often as you may deem it necessary.

The first step in cleaning your vacuum cleaner is removing the bag. Some bags are easy to remove and clean, while others might be harder to get out of the machine. You do not want to throw away the bag yet because there are some things you can try before doing so. If you cannot get it out of your machine, try shaking it a bit when it is still attached to dislodge anything that might be stuck inside of it. Be careful when doing this because you do not want to damage your vacuum.


Dust can accumulate in there very quickly so it is best to be prepared ahead of time when you notice that there is a slight odor coming from your vacuum cleaner.

Your vacuum cleaner’s filter will get clogged with dirt over time. Every so often, pull off that filter and give it a good scrubbing with soap and water or a special vacuum cleaner spray.

You can also use vinegar in gently scrubbing the filter. You don’t have to replace the filter more often if you follow this advice, but you should at least be sure to keep it clean as may be necessary as possible.

When cleaning a dirty vacuum, one should start by removing any debris from the top of the machine and then work your way down towards the bottom of the machine. If there are any filters or exhaust vents then these should be removed and cleaned as well. After you have removed all of the assorted pieces of debris that are cluttering up your vacuum, use warm water and mild detergent to wash out all of the dust, dirt, even gunk.


To make sure that your vacuum does not smell again in the future, be advised that you must check for blockages regularly. Oftentimes, they come from hair being matted together and left untreated for long periods of time. This can cause a very unpleasant odor when it gets hot enough inside the machine.

How to clean a clogged vacuum hose?

Don’t get me wrong, gunk in machine cleaning tools like in the vacuum cleaner is just normal. Regular cleaning thereof requires to maintain its usability, especially if the vacuum cleaner is used on the daily basis.

You will know that it is time to clean the vacuum when there appears something is clogging the cleaner’s hose. The clog is noticeable when suction is not performing well or the machine itself will not work. There are times you will observe that there is a difference in sounds from what it was before.

Now, how do we clean clogged vacuum hose? The traditional vacuum cleaner has a standard snake-like shape hose. To clean this, make sure that the vacuum cleaner is turned off or if not, unplug it first.

Try to observe using your naked eyes. Look and find where the clog is. At this time, unclip the vacuum cleaner hose from the connection of the main body or the vacuum itself. Once the hose got detached, washed through it a running water.

It is recommended to place some good amount of pressure on the water to wash away the clogged hose. There are times that obstructing objects are clinging inside the hose. What you can do is to hold the hose straight upright, then throw down a little small-scale down the hose. It can be a coin or button.

Now, if the coin or button plunges through and through to the ground, you will realize that the hose is clean and clear, unless blocks of dirt are also blocking the hose path. If so, you may want to again exert some effort.

Let us say, the hose is clogged. Hence, it is time to fix it by poking the obstructed area in the other end with the use of pressure water or mop pole. Then, slowly, but with a bit of force, try to push the blocking material out. For safety precautions, it is advised to check your user’s manual.

Should I clean the bottom of my vacuum?

There are different types of vacuum cleaners. Therefore, in cleaning them, the approach towards taking care the appliances may vary. Like for this instance, the question might be a no brainer whether the bottom of the vacuum needs to be cleaned.

Because how will you clean your house when the instrument you are using to clean is dirty, right? Necessarily, it begs the inquiry on the need to remove dirt, dust, or otherwise from the bottom of the vacuum cleaner.

My mom might be spanking me if I ask to her this question. Lol. But kidding aside, it is important to disinfect the bottom of the vacuum cleaner.


The bottom of the vacuum cleaner touches around the house. It has been to all the places in your house. From the porch to the living room, to your room, and to the kitchen. The dirt itself has made a land already on certain areas of your house.

How to clean the bottom of vacuum cleaner?

Most of the vacuum cleaners, may it be the bulky standard one or the modern cordless vacuum cleaners, refer to its bottom as the brush roll or the passageway of the dirt. It is the part that rubs and touch directly the floor, sofas, carpets, and the like.

To clean the  bottom of the vacuum, as a safety precaution, find time to make the manual ready and available for some technical specifications of cleaning. Then, assure that the vacuum cleaner is unplugged.

Since the area that is the target for cleaning is in the bottom part, remove the brush from the mouth of the vacuum cleaner. Wash the bristles of the brush by water and by cleaning detergent.

You can use an old toothbrush, or a screen sponge, or a cloth to scrub off the dirt. You may opt to put some baking soda but just a little bit like sprinkler on it if detergent is unavailable.

After you thoroughly brush the whole part of the brush roll or vacuum brush, leave it for about five minutes to let the chemical reaction do the magic of cleaning into the bristles. After which, rinse the brush roll very well.

There are some vacuum cleaners that have disposable brush which can be refilled or replaced. If this happens to be your vacuum, you can just remove the brush and throw it away and buy a new one on your reliable hardware store.

Again, this in only applicable to some vacuum cleaners and still it is highly recommended that you should check and read the manual first before doing things on your own.

Can I clean my vacuum with water?

A vacuum can be cleaned using water. In fact, water is the main element which is reliable in cleaning. It is a universal solvent as we may call it.

Nevertheless, be careful not to put nor splash or spill water on the machine area because it might destroy the machine. Modern cordless vacuum cleaners are modular.

This means that each part may be detached. The advantage of this is that you can clean each part one by one without harming the other parts. And since it is modular, each part can be thoroughly cleaned.

Just be careful on the power cords and its cyclone assembly. The latter is the heart of the vacuum cleaner. Since it is delicate as the motor parts are in it, it must not get wet.

How do you clean vacuum heads?

Vacuum cleaner heads are also important part of the vacuum. That is where the main brush is connected. Some vacuum cleaners have various heads depending on their uses.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, modern minimalist cordless vacuum cleaners are modular and offer various parts.

To mention some several vacuum heads, there are dusting brush, turbo brush, ceiling fan tool, mattress tool, and even pet grooming tool. These vacuum head may be present in some, and some may not in other kind or unit of the vacuum.

To clean the heads, first, make sure that they are not connected to the whole vacuum cleaner itself. Then, you can use clean dry cloth to wipe off some visible dirt or gunk.

Finally, you can brush away the dirt and gunk with dishwashing safe detergent. Afterwards, clean, sanitize, and tidy it with water and let it dry.

How to deep clean a vacuum?

Deep cleaning has been the most satisfying videos on the internet. Deep cleaning is not supposed to be done regularly if cleaning maintenance on a monthly or bi-monthly basis is done to the vacuum cleaner.

Unlike the old standard ones, modern cordless minimalist vacuum cleaners are easier to clean than the traditional bulky devices of old. Despite that, if yours are still traditional, meaning with hose and have bulky canister, this one is for you.

To start with the satisfying deep cleaning, cleansing, tidying, or even sanitizing the vacuum cleaner must be done. To start, you should ensure that the vacuum cleaner is unplugged and dry.

All you need are brushing tools like dishwasher-safe brush or sponge, or an old toothbrush will do. You may as well utilize dishwasher-safe detergent and dry cleaning cloth.

Then, disassemble the removable parts one by one and carefully place them in a clean dry place such as a reasonably sized tub. Carefully arrange the parts one by one from the canister to the hose and to the vacuum head.

This way, you will be able to familiarize the parts. Now, you can carry out the cleaning first by emptying the vacuum cleaner’s dust canister. Clean with water or solution the other parts that you disassemble, if allowed under the manual. After which, you can scrub the vacuum cleaner canister with some brush or sponge with dishwasher-safe detergent.

Gently brush off the gunk. You can also use a water solution with baking soda on its others use a vinegar but be careful not to overdo the vinegar as it will accumulate smell on the parts.

Then, rinse off the vacuum cleaner cannister. Let it dry with the use of clean dry cloth. Place the vacuum cleaner cannister into the rack where it will completely air dry.

Next, other vacuum cleaner has foam filters. These filters are often washable. It is recommended to clean it as well. If filters are removable from the main body, remove it and clean it with running water.

You may opt to clean it using a dishwasher safe detergent or liquid. Then let it dry. In other instances, filters which are not washable can be replaced with new filters. In this case, all you must do is to remove the filter and replace it with a new one. Vacuum cleaner will not work properly if the filters are filthy.

Do not forget to check your vacuum cleaner’s manual first before doing or removing anything. Chances are, most of the cleaning guides are designed according to the type of the vacuum cleaner, and there are recommended type of filters or cleaning agent to the type or model that you have.

Another stage is to clearing out the hose. As stated above, cleaning out the hose may be done by running it through the water. This will rinse out loose dirt. On some occasion, you can either dilute the one-half cup of baking soda to a one cup of water the pour it inside the hose.

If you do not like to dilute it, you can simply pour or sprinkle the same amount of baking soda directly inside the hose. Then, give it a shake. Gently run the water through it or pour two cups of water (or 1 cup vinegar in a water) into the hose and shake gently.

You will notice that there sizzling sound which is a chemical reaction of a baking soda, vinegar, and water.

As you observe the fizzing sound, dirt and some sort of gunk are starting to dissolve and a chemical reaction transpire. you can observe this when bubbles appear.

As soon as the bubbles and the fizzing stop, it will be a starting point to rinse the hose with water (warm one is preferred but not required). Let the hose air dry or hand it up.

Never forget to check the brush of the vacuum cleaner. There are times that hairs or other small objects get stuck to it. There are vacuum cleaners that its brush can be replaced. If this is possible, do it gently.

How do I clean my vacuum, so it doesn’t smell often?

We really do not want an awful smell in our cleaning tool. Who will ever want that the instrument or tool utilized for cleaning purposes is basically the same thing that creates and leaves an unwanted odor.

To clean the vacuum without leaving a smell, simply add a small amount of baking soda, about one teaspoon, and a squeeze of lemon to the water to make a solution that will clean and will remove unwanted smell to the vacuum. You may also use vinegar in that solution.

Just remember that only those non-machine parts shall be applied by this cleaning solution. The core parts should be spared, as the solution may affect the motor assembly of the vacuum cleaner.


Vacuum cleaner may be one of the better, if not one of the best, inventions and innovations in the world. It makes the cleaning fun, fast, and convenient. It is the best time to appreciate and may be to purchase (if you have not one yet) the modern minimalist vacuum cleaner.

Productions and innovations on it are comparably aligned to the production of cellular phones and action camera—every month or every quarter a new model is released.

Cleaning your home may be enjoyable and not be complicated, as we feel the same satisfaction when we use new, improved, and modern equipment and tools to clean our home.

When cleaning the gunk on the vacuum cleaner, remember to always opt to check the manual first to understand the anatomy of the vacuum cleaner. Service Manual is the mouth to of our cleaning devices when they cannot speak. 

Be careful of the delicate parts. Remember to clean the vacuum cleaner by yourself first, if you are confident in doing so with the help of the service manual. That way you will save a lot of money.

While contacting the service center or hire other people to clean it for you may be the most convenient and safe approach, it may cost you unwanted expenses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Technique Home