Best Vacuum Guide is supported by our readers. We independently and objectively review products which, if you purchase, may earn us an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Why Does My Vacuum Smell When I’m Using It?

Why does my vacuum smell when I'm using it

Has your vacuum been smelly when you are using it? If yes, worry not. Even the best vacuum cleaners can smell due to several reasons. Once you realize that your vacuum is smelling when in use, take action to solve the problem.

However, it is necessary to know the source of the problem first to solve it successfully.

What Makes a Vacuum Smell When in Use?

The following are reasons why your vacuum can smell when in use:

Accumulation of dust

Primarily, the work of your vacuum is to remove dust and other small particles from bare floors and carpet. Therefore, it attracts a lot of dust which may lead to over-accumulation.

The vacuum can become smelly when using it due to the burning smell of the dust. Besides, the vacuum cleaner can catch many different particles that result in a pungent odour when mixed or when they stay inside the dirt canister for too long.

Damaged vacuum belt

One of the main reasons for smelly vacuums is the presence of a damaged belt. Usually, the belt continuously runs in the floor nozzle, causing friction and a pungent smell in the long run.

Also, the belt may experience wear and tear or get off track. The heat emitted when operating the vacuum cleaner may stretch or slightly burn the belt and develop a burning smell.

Smelly pet hair

All pet parents allow their loved ones to get inside the house – or even spend a night on the same bed. There is no problem with that. However, be wary that they could be the culprit of the awful smell coming from your vacuum.

When pets urinate, some liquid may remain on their fur or skin. When the liquid sticks and mixes with dust and hair, vacuuming results in a bad smell. So, if the pets are not groomed properly and regularly, the smell may be carried into the vacuum.

Also, pet (and human) hair may get stuck on the beater bar. If some of it finds its way around the belt, it can result in a burning smell.

Why does my vacuum smell when I'm using it - Floor nozzle
Shark vacuum floor nozzle

Total burn-out

The motor may become smelly if it is in the process of complete burn-out. In such instances, you may experience the smell of burning tires while vacuuming. Motor burn-out may result from overuse of the vacuum cleaner or using a very old one.

Presence of mould in the vacuum

Accumulation of mould inside the vacuum cleaner may result in a bad smell. Mould thrives in humid areas. If you use your vacuum to clean wet grounds or carpet, moist air may find its way into the vacuum.

So, avoid using a regular vacuum to clean any spills. Instead, go for a shop vac especially when there is a lot of water or liquid to be picked up.

How to Get Rid of the Vacuum Smell

Now that you know why your vacuum is smelling when in use, you should know how to get rid of that smell or solve that problem. The following are ways in which you can get rid of the vacuum smell.

  1. Clean the vacuum filters after using them – this helps in preventing the accumulation of dust particles and other dirt.
  2. Regularly empty the dusty bin to remove the smelly particles.
  3. Frequently check the floor attachment – the brushes can retain many dirt residues. Therefore, they need to be checked and cleaned if need be.
  4. Often clean the hose – usually, dirt particles stick on the walls of the hose. With time, the particles may accumulate to produce a pungent smell. They may also clog the hose resulting in poor performance.

When you try all these methods and your vacuum continues to smell, please consider hiring an expert to help you solve the problem. The problem might be technical and may need intervention by a professional.

If the vacuum is still under warranty, the best thing would be to contact the manufacturer for repair or replacement.


Even if you buy the best Shark vacuum, you may experience some sort of smell when vacuuming. The problem could be poor maintenance or a malfunction. By following our guidelines, you’ll be able to know the exact cause and solve it accordingly.

If you are unable to get rid of the smell completely, consider talking to a manufacturer or taking advantage of an existing manufacturer’s warranty.

The below YouTube video by ajrup will help you solve the burning smell coming from your vacuum:

Leave a Comment

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