There are several things that can cause a smell to come from your upright vacuum cleaner. Just because you empty your bag or collection canister doesn’t mean the source of the smell goes away. A smelly vacuum also has a tendency to spread the horrible odor throughout the room whenever you vacuum. Try one or more of these tips and you should be able to remove that bad smell once and for all.
Step 1: Locate the Smell
If you accidentally vacuumed up some water and your vacuum is not a wet/dry, this could easily be the cause of that stench. Locate the smell. Is it coming from the hose, the canister or the beater brush?
Step 2: Check Bag or Canister
If your vacuum cleaner has a bag, whether it is full or not, discard it.
Empty your bagless canister. Spray the container with Scrubbing Bubbles (or cleanser of your choice). Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the length of time to let it sit before scrubbing. Thoroughly scrub the container and rinse. Allow it to air dry.
Step 3: Clean Filter
Take apart the air filter and, using only the small scrubbing brush, dry brush the debris out of the filter. If it is time to change your air filter, do so. Avoid getting the filter wet. Not only will it cause suction problems but it will also breed bacteria that cause bad smells.
Step 4: Clean the Vacuum Hose
Spray the inside of the hose with air freshener or window cleaner. Then place a blow dryer at the opening of the hose to dry any dew or mist. You’ll want to dry for about 5 minutes, intermittently. If you leave the dryer continuously you may cause the plastic hose to melt. You’ll want to be sure the hose is completely dry since your upright isn’t likely a wet/dry vacuum.
Step 5: Clean the Roller Brush
Flip the vacuum cleaner over and see if the roller brush needs to be cleaned as well. Chances are it will. Remove the screws holding the bottom plate in place, pop if off, and remove the brush from the vacuum. Soak the brush in water mixed with antibacterial soap. Blow dry the brush until it is 100 percent dry and then put back together. Just remember to always unplug your vacuum before you start to take it apart.
Step 6: Clean Periodically
After the initial cleaning of your vacuum cleaner, ensure that you periodically clean it as dust mites, bacteria and mold are the leading cause of vacuum cleaner odor. The vacuum's job is to collect dirt from shoes, dust and dead skin that a home's inhabitants throw off.
Between cleanings, periodically vacuum up some fresh coffee grounds as they have a great odor neutralizing effect. Baking powder and different brands of carpet freshener powder also do well for the smell of your vacuum.