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How To Eliminate Dog Smell from a Vacuum

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When you share your home with a furry friend, you may occasionally notice an unpleasant dog smell emanating from your vacuum cleaner. This odor can be a result of pet hair, dander, or other debris that has accumulated in various parts of your vacuum. Fortunately, there are several ways to eliminate this smell and keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh.


To eliminate dog smell from a vacuum, start by cleaning or replacing the filters, emptying and cleaning the dustbin, and cleaning the rotating brush. Use baking soda or activated charcoal to neutralize odors, and consider adding essential oils or dryer sheets for a pleasant fragrance. Regularly grooming your pet and vacuuming frequently can also help prevent odors from building up.

Causes of Dog Smell in a Vacuum

The main causes of a vacuum smelling like a dog are:

  1. Pet hair: Pet hair, dander, and any attached urine all smell outside the vacuum and continue to smell once inside.
  2. Mold: Vacuuming a carpet that’s damp with any fluid can introduce mold growth inside the machine’s bag or filter.
  3. Burned belt: If hair is caught in the bristles, preventing the vacuum belt from rotating properly, there can be a burned rubber smell.
  4. Dirt and crumbs: Dirt and crumbs can carry their own smells, particularly from certain foods.

Materials to Eliminate Dog Smell

To effectively remove dog smell from a vacuum, you can use a combination of products and methods. Some of the most effective materials and products include:

  1. Fresh Wave Vacuum Odor Eliminating & Deodorizer Beads: These beads are a natural plant-based odor eliminator that can be used in your vacuum to help absorb and neutralize odors.
  2. Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal is known for its high absorption of odors. You can use activated charcoal filters or granules in your vacuum bag or canister to help eliminate dog smell.
  3. Baking Soda: Baking soda is a natural odor absorber and can be used to remove pet odors from your vacuum. Sprinkle some on your carpets and vacuum it up, or add a few teaspoons of baking soda to the dust bag or dust bin of your vacuum.
  4. Vinegar and Baking Soda Spray: Mix equal parts of vinegar and baking soda in a spray bottle and use it to spray on fabrics and surfaces before vacuuming to help neutralize odors.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Regularly clean and replace your vacuum’s filters, dustbin, and bags to prevent the buildup of pet odors. Additionally, check the rotating brush for any trapped hair or debris that may contribute to the smell.
  6. Commercial Deodorants: There are commercial vacuum deodorants available in various scents that can be added to the dust bag or dust bin to help neutralize odors.

How to Clean the Vacuum

To properly clean a vacuum and eliminate dog smells, follow these steps:

  1. Check and clean the filters: Inspect the filters in your vacuum cleaner and clean or replace them as needed. Dirty filters can contribute to unpleasant odors.
  2. Empty and clean the dustbin: If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the dustbin and rinse it out with water to remove any lingering dust and debris. If your vacuum uses a bag, replace it regularly.
  3. Clean the rotating brush: Inspect the rotating brush for any hair or debris wrapped around it. Remove any buildup to prevent odors and maintain the vacuum’s efficiency.
  4. Wash or replace the vacuum’s filter: Some filters can be washed, while others need to be replaced. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific vacuum model.
  5. Use baking soda: Vacuum up a small box of baking soda to help neutralize odors inside the vacuum cleaner. You can also sprinkle baking soda on your carpet before vacuuming to help absorb pet odors.
  6. Add essential oils or dryer sheets: Pour 30 drops of essential oil into the vacuum’s canister or bag, or place a dryer sheet inside the dust bag to improve the fragrance of the vacuum cleaner.
  7. Clean vacuum attachments and accessories: Inspect and clean any tools or accessories that come with your vacuum, as they can also harbor pet hair and odors.
  8. Keep your pet well-groomed: Regularly grooming your pet can help reduce the amount of hair and dander that ends up in your vacuum, which can help prevent bad smells from building up.
  9. Empty your vacuum more regularly: The longer dirt, hair, and debris sit in the vacuum, the more chance there is for bacteria to grow and cause odors.

By following these steps, you can keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh and working efficiently, reducing dog smells in your home.

Preventative Measures

To prevent your vacuum from absorbing dog smell in the first place, you can follow these steps:

  1. Keep your pet well-groomed: Regularly grooming your dog, including brushing and bathing, can help reduce the amount of hair and dander that ends up in your vacuum.
  2. Vacuum frequently: Regular vacuuming can help prevent the buildup of pet hair, dander, and odor in your vacuum cleaner.
  3. Use a vacuum with odor-neutralizing features: Some vacuum cleaners, like the Shark IZ562H Pro Cordless Vacuum and Shark AZ3002 Stratos Upright Vacuum, come with odor-neutralizing technology to help keep your vacuum smelling fresh.
  4. Clean your vacuum regularly: Empty the dustbin or replace the vacuum bag frequently, and clean or replace filters as needed. This can help prevent odors from building up inside the vacuum.
  5. Avoid vacuuming damp areas: Vacuuming damp or wet areas can cause moisture to build up inside the vacuum, leading to unpleasant odors. Clean up spills with a mop or paper towels instead.
  6. Use baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, rugs, and furniture before vacuuming. Baking soda is a natural odor-absorber and can help neutralize pet odors before they enter your vacuum.

By following these preventative measures, you can help keep your vacuum cleaner free from dog smells and maintain a fresher-smelling home.


While it may seem like a daunting task to keep your vacuum cleaner free from pet odors, it’s entirely feasible with regular cleaning and maintenance. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can keep your vacuum smelling fresh and maintain a more pleasant environment in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any type of vinegar for the vinegar and baking soda spray?

Yes, any type of vinegar will work for the spray. However, white vinegar is usually recommended because it doesn’t leave any color residue and has a more neutral smell compared to other types of vinegar.

How often should I clean my vacuum to avoid dog smell?

Ideally, you should clean your vacuum cleaner after every use. However, if that is not possible, aim for a thorough cleaning at least once a week or after every three uses. The more frequently you clean your vacuum, the less likely it is to develop a persistent dog smell.

Will vacuuming more frequently make my vacuum smell worse?

Not necessarily. While vacuuming more frequently does mean that more dog hair and dander is being picked up, it also means that these materials are being removed from your home more often. If you clean your vacuum regularly, vacuuming more frequently can actually help reduce overall dog smell in your home.

Can I use other essential oils instead of the ones mentioned in the blog post?

Absolutely, you can use any essential oil that you prefer. Different oils have different fragrances, so you can choose one that you find pleasant and that effectively masks the dog smell.

My vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a bag. Can I still use baking soda or activated charcoal to eliminate dog smell?

Yes, you can still use baking soda or activated charcoal in a bagless vacuum cleaner. Simply sprinkle the baking soda or place the activated charcoal in the dustbin or canister of your vacuum. Be sure to clean the bin or canister regularly to prevent buildup.

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