How to Get Rid of a Smell in the Canister of a Vacuum


By Home Guides

Vacuums suck up all the dirt, dust and hair that accumulates on your floors. If you own a bag less vacuum, this matter is collected inside a plastic canister. Sucked up food particles and pet hair can emit an odor inside the canister if allowed to sit for long periods of time. Discarding the contents immediately after vacuuming is one way to prevent odors, but if a smell lingers even if the canister is empty, check the attached filter system for any clogged hair and dirt. Once that's cleaned, proceed with wiping down the canister.

1. Turn off the vacuum.

Separate the canister compartment from the main body of the vacuum. Generally, there's a button near the top of the canister area that when pressed releases the canister and possibly an attached filtering system.

2. Empty the contents from inside the canister into the garbage.

Shake the canister gently over the garbage to free any dust that's clinging to the sides.

3. Close the bottom hatch of the canister, if applicable, to reseal the canister.

4. Detach the filter system connected to the top portion of the canister by pressing the release button.

Remove any hair and dust that's collected on the filter by wiping it with a paper towel over an open garbage can or sheets of newspaper. Refer to the owner's manual for any specific cleaning instruction in regard to the filters.

5. Wipe the interior of the canister with a damp paper towel to remove all traces of dust and dirt.

If the canister can be completely detached from the filtering system, scrub it with a soft bristle brush under cold running water.

6. Dry the canister with a towel before reattaching the filter system and putting the entire structure back on the vacuum.

Fold up the newspapers in your work area carefully so as to not release any dirt into the air or onto the floor.

Things You Will Need

  • Garbage can
  • Paper towels
  • Newspapers
  • Cloth
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Towel

Allowing the parts to air dry is the best way to ensure no moisture gets into the machine after you have washed the parts.


It's important to refer to your owner's manual for specific cleaning instructions with the canister and filters. Using detergents and air fresheners while cleaning can damage the unit. If you no longer have your owner's manual, check the manufacturer's website.

Never assemble and operate your vacuum with wet components for risk of electrical shock. Always make sure all the pieces are thoroughly dried or have been allowed to dry completely before reassembling.

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