Stinky vacuum filter…what to do?


I have a bagless, hoover windtunnel, canister vacuum. I have cleaned out the filter with water and let it dry, and now whenever I vacuum it smells terrible. I tried cleaning the filter again, sprayed it with lysol and it didn’t make a difference. It says on the manual not to clean the filter with any soaps or detergents, but just now I did use a squirt of dish soap and cleaned it again. aside from getting a new filter, what should I do? It takes a few days for the filter to dry completely , which is a real pain if I need to use the vacuum in the meantime.

It is not a burnt rubber smell or anything like that. It is definitely not coming from the motor or the belt. It smells like garbage.


  1. Ok go out and buy yourself some
    Arm and Hammer Carpet Freshener (Its in powder form) It comes in scents like mountain rain and spring flowers and sprinkle as much as you want on your floor then vacuum it up. Everytime you run the vacuum it will smell like the powder. Do this as much as you like to freshen it up.

  2. Be sure to clean all filters. Try some Lysol Spray in the hose while the vacuum is running. Spray a minute into the hose and then let the vacuum run for ten minutes to dry out the inside.

  3. the vacuum u have is probably very old r not if it is very old u prob used it a lot and all the toxic is coming from ure vacuum and u may get sick if its new its a crappy vacuum te smell can affect (and ure family) buy a newer vacuum that has a bag r just look for the instructions maybe there is a bag

    • My god that grammar is horrible. Please retake high school English, Gabby.

      In answer to your question it does sound like you have a bad filter. If it’s not too old it may be covered by warranty still, at least mine guarantees that problems like that shouldn’t happen.

  4. I’ve had good luck with placing air fresheners directly into the vacuum bag. Ive used both automotive types as well as scented oil placed on cotton balls. I recently broke one of the plug-in type of air fresheners – the type the uses a replaceable bottle of scented oil – and then used that oil to de-scent the vacuum by placing some of the oil on cotton balls and inserting them into the vacuum bag. One could put the cotton ball into the clean-out chamber on a bagless for the same effect. This method not only freshens the cleaner – but also freshens the air in the home while vacuum cleaning the carpets.

    It also sounds like maybe the filter soured after being cleaned. You might try a light bleach solution sprayed onto the filter. I know if it was me – I’d replace the filter with a new one and then use the methods above to help keep it fresh.



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