Does your vacuum cleaner smell? Over time, most vacuum cleaners eventually pick up an foul smell or might even smell like burning rubber. This doesn’t mean that the vacuum cleaner is ruined. What your vacuum cleaner does need is a little maintenance to keep it functioning smoothly and smelling fresh.
Vacuum cleaner odors typically fall into four categories. All of these are easy to identify but only three are easy to fix.
The burning rubber smell. Vacuums smell like burning rubber when the belt breaks or the beater bar can no longer roll due to an obstruction or a loose belt. It’s really easy to tell when a roller bar isn’t working properly. All you have to do is tilt the vacuum backwards while “on” to see if the beater is rolling. If it’s not, then unplug the cord and examine what’s preventing the roller from rotating.
Sometimes pet hair, bits of yarn or string can bind around the ends of the beater bar which prevents it from rolling smoothly. These strings should be cut or pulled away from the bar.
But, if it’s the belt that’s broken or if the belt has too much slack, the vacuum cleaner will need a new belt. Vacuum cleaner belts are available at all discount department stores. Remember to jot down the brand name and model number of your vacuum cleaner since belt sizes differ by brands.
The mildewy, stinky sock smell. Certain vacuums can pick up mildew smells. These include models that use washable bags, or use water in their filtration systems such as a Rainbow brand vacuum. Mildew happens when filters are placed back in the machine wet, or the machine isn’t allow to “air dry” thoroughly before being put back into storage.
To prevent mildew smells, always dry bags and filters thoroughly before installing.
If mildew has developed, the filters and bags will need to be removed, washed, and allowed to air dry in the sunshine for about 4 hours before being reinstalled into the vacuum cleaner. Baking soda will also help to neutralize any lingering odors. The baking soda can be tossed on the carpet or floor, and then vacuumed up with the machine where it will be dispersed around the unit.
The rancid, rotten food odor. Pet hair, bits of food, leaves, grass, and soil will smell over time, leading to a rancid or earthy odor. To prevent your vacuum cleaner from developing an earthy odor, bags and filters should be changed or washed frequently, and the inside canisters wiped down with a vinegar solution.
“I think it’s on fire” odor. When the odor coming out of your vacuum cleaner smells like an electrical odor, your machine is most likely on fire and needs to be switched off immediately. When this happens, there’s not much that can be done but to take the vacuum cleaner to a repair shop. A vacuum cleaner repairman can tell you if the machine can be fixed, or if it’s time for a new one.