How to Get Dog Smell Out of a Vacuum Cleaner: 9 Essential Tips!


Your fluffy dog is probably a wonderful friend. But no one is perfect. This becomes apparent when it comes to vacuuming. The hairs and dirt that accumulates on the carpet, couch and other areas of the home from a dog can make a vacuum cleaner very smelly.

This is true even if you frequently bathe your dog with the best coconut shampoo. However, this doesn’t mean you should throw your pal in the bin. There are much easier ways to eliminate this smelly problem. With that in mind, here are top 5 tips for getting rid of dog smell out of a vacuum cleaner.

1. Change the vacuum bag after every use

The doggy smell is coming from the vacuum bag. Unless you’re using a bagless vacuum cleaner of course. So if your’s has a bag, make sure to replace it often. This isn’t very affordable, but if you want to get rid of the stench it’s necessary. Perhaps not after every single use, but quite frequently. This is something you can make up your own mind about.

How to change vacuum bags:

2. Rinse out your vacuum

Any parts of the vacuum that are affected with the suction and collection of dirt can become smelly. Inspect all the parts of the vacuum cleaner involved in suction and collection and clean them with a damp, soapy cloth. This is especially important for the inside of canister-type vacuums.

Also don’t forget to clean the vacuum hose. Look for any blockages in the parts leading from the hose and intake valves to the container. Pet hair can cause blockages in any part of the vacuum’s “digestive system” and cause a dog smell.

How to clean a vacuum cleaner:

3. Place the vacuum outside

After using the vacuum, place it outside for 24 hours or more to air out. Preferably before cleaning it with a damp soapy cloth. Of course, make sure that it’s protected from bad weather or thieves in case you have a brand new and/or expensive vacuum cleaner.

 4. Place a scented laundry dryer sheet inside the vacuum

Place the scented sheet inside the new bag or the canister. When you use the vacuum it will heat up and the sheet will release pleasantly smelling fragrance in the air. This won’t get rid of the doggy smell if it’s already present. But it will make your home smell fresher nonetheless. An alternative is to spray the bag/canister with a moderate amount of a freshener like Febreze and allow it to dry before vacuuming.

5. Utilize baking soda on the carpet

Baking soda can be used to neutralize unpleasant smells. A carpet is most likely to accumulate dog smells because the dog is probably laying on it most of the time. Sprinkle the carpet with a layer of regular baking soda. Allow it to sit for 24 hours or so. Then vacuum the carpet. This will not only neutralize the smells in the carpet but also some of the smell inside the vacuum cleaner.

Baking soda on carpet:

6. Sprinkle the carpet with scented spices

Cinnamon, rosemary, lavender and other pleasantly scented spices can be sprinkled on top of a carpet to remove dog odor. Allow them to sit for 1-2 hours before vacuuming. However, make sure that the color of the spice you’re using is compatible with the carpet. Using cinnamon on a light-colored carpet for example is not a good idea.

7. Place essential oil in your vacuum cleaner

There are many wonderfully scented essential oils such as orange or vanilla extracts. Place a few drops in the vacuum cleaner bag or the dust container. When the vacuum cleaner runs it will diffuse it around your home as you clean. This is especially good for freshening up a carpet and other areas that your dog frequents.

8. Clean the bottom of the vacuum cleaner

Don’t forget to the clean the part of the vacuum that slides across the floor while you’re cleaning. It can also accumulate dust and debris. A thin layer that doesn’t look like a big deal can in fact get quite smelly. It can also allow new particles to stick more easily to the surface. A baby wipe or a soapy damp cloth is often enough to clean this part, unless you haven’t done it in quite a while.

9. Last resort – purchase a new vacuum cleaner

Sometimes the smell is impossible to remove if the vacuum hasn’t been cleaned for a long time. Not only the bag but also the other components get soaked in the smell. At that point you can either do a thorough cleaning of all the small and difficult-to-reach components or purchase a new vacuum cleaner altogether. In that case I recommend getting a vacuum with removable bags instead of a bagless one because it’s much easier to get rid of the smell when you have the option of removing this primary container. Hope this helps!

Peter Baron

I learned how to fix many appliances while working part-time in a repair shop. Appliance Solver is the result of this experience, coupled with my interest in writing helpful content online. When I'm not fixing stuff, I'm usually either playing with my kids or on a walk with my golden retriever. Doesn't get much better than that.

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