How to Remove Odors From a Vacuum Canister

Dirt, dust, pet hair, bits of food and dead insects are just a few of the smelly items your trusty canister vacuum picks up for you.

It's easy to get the bad odor out of your canister vacuum.It's easy to get the bad odor out of your canister vacuum.
Because a vacuum's job is to suck up trash, it's no wonder it begins to smell over time. It's frustrating to spend the morning vacuuming in an attempt to get your home fresh and clean, only to have your vacuum cleaner send smelly, musty air back out into your rooms. However, it's easy to get your canister vacuum smelling sweet again. Just follow these steps.

Empty and rinse out your vacuum's dirt cup often, or if your vacuum uses disposable vacuum bags, change them often. The longer dirt and debris sits in your vacuum, the more smells will accumulate. When you rinse your dirt cup, dry it completely before putting it back in, as moisture can grow mold, which only causes more odors.

Check your filter often, and either clean it or change it when needed. Filters don't generally need to be replaced as often as bags do. However, a dirty filter can contribute to bad odors.

Add a deodorizer to your vacuum bag or dirt cup before installing it in your vacuum. There are several options for doing this. You can sprinkle a little cinnamon or baking soda into your bag or cup, or drop in a cotton ball that has been soaked in perfume. Another option is to sprinkle some powdered carpet deodorizer on the floor and simply vacuum it up. Follow this step each time you install a new bag or empty your dirt cup.

Wipe down your vacuum with a deodorizing solution periodically. A mixture of bleach and water, lemon juice and water, or plain white vinegar are good options for this, as all three have deodorising properties. Wet a clean rag with the solution of your choice and wipe down the exterior including the main body of the canister, plus the hoses, wheels and any other parts that have visible dirt or small bad. Open the canister, remove the bag or cup, and wipe down the interior cavity and dirt cup.

Clean the brush rollers, as tangled hair and other debris only add to the smell in your canister.

Simply use your hands or an old comb to pull out the mess.

Things You Will Need

  • Vacuum bag (if applicable)
  • Vacuum filter (if applicable)
  • Baking soda, cinnamon or powdered carpet deodorizer
  • Clean rag
  • Vinegar, bleach and water or lemon juice and water


  • There are vacuum bags on the market that have scent added to them and claim to help control odors in the vacuuming process. They may work for you.

About the Author

Sandra Rousseau has been writing since 1990, covering such topics as home decorating, fashion, health, beauty, gardening and cooking. Her articles appear her hometown newspaper, the "Aledo Community News," and on various websites. Rousseau holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and advertising from the University of Texas at Arlington.