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Pet owners can have a love-hate relationship with their vacuums at times. They do a fantastic job of sucking up animal hair, making it sometimes impossible to tell that you even have a pet in your home. On the other hand, with all that highly efficient cleaning, they can have a tendency to smell a little strong.

It’s unlikely that your dogs are extra smelly, or that your vacuum cleaner is not performing as it should. It’s usually when you vacuum an area that your dog has been laying, the odors can stay in the machine.

There are some easy ways to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresh when you use it, and also help it work more efficiently, to boot. With up to 30 percent of Americans showing allergies to cats and dogs, all of these tips will help reduce allergy symptoms, too.

Check Your Filters

Some models of vacuums will have filters that can get a bit caked with all the dust and debris that they’re efficiently filtering out. Just check your owner's manual to see the location and best procedure for cleaning or replacing them.


Some filters are disposable and need to be replaced on the recommended schedule given by the manufacturer. Others can be rinsed, dried, and reused.

Rinse out the Dustbin

If you own a bagless vacuum model, the dustbin can still be coated with a thin layer of dust even after you empty it. This can also produce lingering pet odors, just when you thought you’d disposed of the smelly evidence.

Use a towel moistened with soapy water to wipe down the interior of the dustbin, and remove that layer of caked dust each time you empty the canister. Be sure that it’s totally dry before you reattach it to your vacuum.

Check the Rotating Brush

In a home with pet hair, it’s possible to get clogs in the rotating power attachments, or hair wrapped around the rotating brush that’s moving along the floor. These can contribute to the pet smell, and also affect how well your vacuum is operating.

It’s a good idea to occasionally flip your vacuum over and do a check for anything that is preventing the brush from spinning freely, or obstructing the airflow and reducing suction. Use scissors to remove anything wrapped around the brush, and look for any wads of hair that are stuck. While you’re there, it’s also a great idea to wipe down the unit with a bit of soapy water to remove any layers of dust that are building up. Bonus: This sort of maintenance makes your machine run longer and more efficiently.

Change the Bag

Changing out your vacuum cleaner bags regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways of controlling pet odors coming from your vacuum. They do an amazing job of catching all the hair and associated smells, but they need to be changed out before they fill up.

Frequent changes keep your suction strong, and don’t let any unpleasant odors build up in your vacuum. It’s easy to keep a package of several new bags on hand for quick, easy changes. If you notice any dust build-up inside the area that holds the bag, give it a wipe down to eliminate any source of additional odors.


Pet odors and vacuums don’t have to be a permanent pairing. It’s easy to stay ahead of any problems with just a few simple checks, and you can continue enjoying your pets in your home!



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