Why Miele Vacuum Smells Bad?

Miele vacuums are known for their long lifespan and reliability. However, if you’ve found that your Miele unit is giving off a bad smell, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll discover all of the possible reasons why your vacuum smells terrible and what you can do about it.

If your Miele vacuum smells terrible, the machine has likely sucked up something smelly like rotting food scraps, soil, or ash. Pet dander and other organic matter can also cause the same problem. All those bad smells will get worse if the vacuum bag and filters aren’t changed regularly. Lastly, technical problems like a burnt belt or motor will give off burning smells.


Before troubleshooting or repairing your Miele vacuum, always be sure to disconnect it from its power source. That will prevent any danger of electrocution. Plus, it will reduce your overall injury risk, such as when using your fingers to work on or near any moving parts.

Sucked Up Something Smelly

Why this happens: Yes, this seems like a very obvious answer. But if your Miele vacuum smells terrible, it’s likely because it sucked up something with foul odours like rotting food scraps, soil from potted plants, or even ash from the fireplace.

Like most people, your first instinct would probably be to change the vacuum bag. But why does it still smell so bad afterwards?

That’s because the bag isn’t the only part that traps odours. As the air flows into the vacuum, it also passes through the hose, wand, brushes on the powerhead filters on its way out the exhaust. So those parts also trap a lot of those nasty odours and need to be addressed as well.

How to fix: The first step to fixing this problem is to change the vacuum bag. Next, the filters will need to be changed. Sure, that does involve a small cost, but it’s a necessary one if you want to get rid of the smell entirely. Washable filters can be cleaned in the kitchen sink and air-dried.

Next, remember to clean the powerhead (if your unit has one) as well as the hose and wand. These parts will also catch some nasty smells, so be sure to wash them a few times and let them air dry before using them again.

Pet Hair Or Dander

Why this happens: Another common cause for a smelly Miele vacuum in many households is pet hair or dander. Unfortunately, pet owners already know all too well the kind of bad smells that their animals can carry on their fur. 

On top of that, other smelly particles from dried pet urine and faeces can also be present on that animal fur, all of which gets sucked up by your Miele vacuum.

Remember: vacuums are all about airflow. If your vacuum picks up musty smelling pet hair, all of its odours will travel through the hose, wand, filters and vacuum bag. Worse yet, that air will also flow out of the Miele vacuum’s exhaust and circulate back into the room.

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How to fix: Unfortunately, it’s impossible to altogether avoid pet dander in a household with pets. However, there are several steps you can take to stop it from causing problems for your vacuum.

Firstly, households with pets need to be vacuumed regularly. That way, your vacuum will not be overwhelmed with large amounts of smelly pet hair all at once. Of course, your vacuum will still smell of pet dander, but regular vacuuming will ensure that the odour isn’t as intense each time you do it.

Secondly, it’s essential to clean your vacuum more often than usual. That includes regularly cleaning the hose, wand, and powerhead to avoid pet hair from building up and causing foul smells. 

Filters and vacuum bags should also be changed regularly. The more those parts get saturated with pet hair, the worse the smell will get.

Other non-vacuum related methods to protect your Miele unit from pet dander include:

  • Groom your pets regularly so they shed less fur that will be sucked up by your vacuum.
  • Use an air purifier or upgrade your HVAC system, which will remove any pet dander from the air.

Vacuum Bag Not Changed Often Enough

Why this happens: Suppose you prefer to wait until your vacuum bag is full before changing it to a new one. That’s fine unless it takes a very long time before that bag gets full. You see, the longer that dust sits inside your vacuum bag, the more the smell will grow stronger

That’s because any bacteria and germs inside the dust will also multiply and contribute more to the foul smell overall.

To make matters worse, the dust itself will continually trap more odour inside the bag each time you use the appliance, and any organic bits inside will also continue to rot.

How to fix: This problem is very straightforward to fix and prevent it from ever happening again. Firstly, you should change your vacuum bag regularly and on a schedule, even when it’s not complete. That way, the bad smells will not have a chance to accumulate inside your vacuum, and the appliance will smell as fresh as can be each time you use it.

This task is even simpler to do with bagless Miele vacuums. All you have to do is empty the canister regularly into your household trash. You could even do it after each vacuuming session.

Saturated Filters

Why this happens: Paying attention to the various filters in your Miele vacuum is just as important as doing so for the vacuum bag. Not only do these filters become saturated with dirt and dust over time, but bad smells will also build up in each of them. Until you change those filters, your Miele vacuum will continue to smell bad.

How to fix: Changing your vacuum filters regularly is crucial, though the frequency of doing that will be different from when you change the bags. The filters to pay attention to are the air clean filter and motor filter, as well as the HEPA filter or charcoal filter (if your Miele model has them).

Generally, the manufacturer, Miele, recommends changing the filters in their vacuums at least once a year. However, these filters will become saturated much quicker than usual the more often you use the vacuum. So, heavy-duty users should change filters more often, perhaps once every six months.

Burnt Belt

What it is: Miele vacuums also rely on belts used to turn parts like the brush bar on the powerhead. These belts are made of rubber and kept under a degree of tension so that the motor can transfer power to the brush bar by turning the belt.

How it fails: If you notice a burning rubber or plastic smell coming from your vacuum, the drive belt is likely the root cause. This problem typically happens when the belt becomes damaged, stretched or worn out after being in use for a long time. 

The same belt can also become overused if a jam makes it harder for the belt to turn the brush bar.

How to fix: For bad smells coming from a burnt belt, the fix is pretty straightforward. The belt must be replaced. To do that, you will need to remove the bottom panel underneath the powerhead and then remove the brush bar.

If the bar is dirty, you will need to remove all of the dust and debris before replacing the belt.

Once everything has been cleaned, you’ll see a plastic housing or casing covering the belt wrapped around the brush bar. You can open it and remove the existing belt to replace it with the new one.

Motor Problem

What it is: If your Miele vacuum is giving off a burning electrical smell, that’s a clear indicator that there’s a problem with the vacuum motor. That smell is sometimes accompanied by an abnormal popping sound whenever you turn the vacuum on.

How it fails: There are several reasons why you might experience motor failure like this on your Miele vacuum. However, the most likely reason is that the motor has been overused and has experienced excessive wear and tear. That will typically happen with heavy-duty usage over many years.

How to fix: Unfortunately, a motor failure like this cannot be repaired. Instead, the motor has to be replaced entirely. A motor replacement can be somewhat challenging as a DIY task, so feel free to contact a qualified technician to do it for you.

Still, here’s what that process might look like. Firstly, the Miele vacuum needs to be taken apart. There are four or more screws that you need to unthread to remove the vacuum’s top lid, for starters. Then, you will need to open the motor housing to gain access to the motor itself.

At that point, the job becomes much more manageable. All you’ll have to do is lift the motor out and disconnect the wire harness.

Slide the new motor into place and reconnect the wire harness. Then, replace the housing cover and the vacuum’s top lid.

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