Thread Number: 15869
Dog smell schooled my HEPA filter
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Post# 169134   2/10/2012 at 18:47 (2,979 days old) by sanifan ()        

So I am finally setting up my Tristar CXL for a big cleaning project this weekend. Turns out the used CXL, while in very decent shape, smells very strongly of wet dog! I took out the stinky paper bag (3/4 full and smelly!) and vacuumed the cloth bag with my trusty red Sanitaire Mighty Mite canister before giving the bag a wash in soapy water.

A funny thing happened - I could smell dog coming through the Hepa filter! Yuck! The Mighty Mite Hepa filter is well sealed; it's got a soft closed-cell foam gasket that's very slightly tacky. I put my nose up to the Hepa filter to make sure. Yup, dog smell coming through.

What gives?

Aren't the smelly bits filtered out by the Hepa filter? It's amazing how potent that dog smell is. After 5 or 6 wipe downs with damp rags, and then a couple with alchohol, I can still smell slight dog inside the Tristar. Potent stuff!

Post# 169145 , Reply# 1   2/10/2012 at 19:43 (2,979 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

HEPA filters used on domestic vacuum cleaners are not the same HEPA ratings used on industrial machinery which can filter out unwanted gasses, on domestic vacuums you need an activated carbon filter which should remove most of the smell...

Just wash the filter as per my description in the other thread on Tristar filters and it should de-dog the filter... :)

As for cleaning out the smell from the Tristar, you need to do more than use damp rags and alcohol wipes, you need a full cleanout, using soap & water and a scrubbing brush, the motor can be a bit fiddly to clean though, if it too is a bit on the stinky side, as you'd need to dismantle it to remove the fans & vanes to soak in waster with dishwasher detergent...

The shell though should be easy enough though, it's just 3 parts, the lid, the top and the base, so, separate those and scrub away, and you should be good... :)

And I bet the previous owner had a dog that had a lot of lanolin in it's fur, like a German Shepard, cos dogs like those absolutely STINK, my brother had one, and just one visit to our old house and the living room stunk of that dog, horrid smell... :S

Post# 169165 , Reply# 2   2/10/2012 at 22:38 (2,979 days old) by bagintheback (Flagstaff, Arizona)        

bagintheback's profile picture
Try some of Kirby's Odorific. Just place a few drops on the filter and it should smell fine.

One thing I would like to know through is where this dog smell comes from. My family has owned dogs since 2000 and none of my vacuums smell like them, and I have never acquired a vacuum that smelt like dog. There was once a vacuum at the Goodwill that smelt like ferrets, but never dog. Is it just because I take care of my vacuums?

Post# 169170 , Reply# 3   2/11/2012 at 00:34 (2,979 days old) by sanifan ()        

Yeah, good advice about the scrub down. I'll have to do it, but that's a project for another day, unfortunately. It's weird, but the smell seems to have been absorbed into the paint layer. It's just in there hardcore. Hopefully dish washing soap will take it out.

Funny thing regarding dog smell: I've run across 7 or 8 Kenmore Whispertone uprights in thrift stores over the last couple of years (not the dual-motor ones, but the one with the belt). Incredibly, all but one smelled strongly of wet dog. Unfortunately I own one of the smelly ones. When I found the clean one, I couldn't justify having another Whispertone, but every now and then I wish I had picked it up. It's an interesting coincidence that so many used Whispertones were from dog households.

I haven't had a dog in years, but there's no mistaking that wet dog smell. It's very likely that some dog breeds are more fragrant than others.

Post# 169171 , Reply# 4   2/11/2012 at 00:44 (2,979 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
A Lot of Work, But....

....One of the ways I get old things to look (and smell!) like new is a total disassembly. I wash each part, then reassemble.

Results in a really clean item. What's funny is that the major difference between a new item and an old one is generally just dirt. Get rid of the dirt, and you have something new again.

I have cleaned stuff up you would not believe, like vintage Farberware, which I collect. Several pieces I've found were so filthy you could not believe a human being could bring himself or herself to cook in it, let alone eat from it.

Dog smell dissipates with a good cleaning. My Diamond Jubilee smelled like a wolf pack in mating season when I got it. All better now.

Post# 169194 , Reply# 5   2/11/2012 at 09:53 (2,979 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Hepa filter...

What about the thing with the Hepa filter? Are dog and pet smell particles smaller than what consumer grade Hepa filters can remove?

I have to admit I was dismayed when the dog odor was getting through the Hepa filter. I thought it would have been blocked.

Post# 169205 , Reply# 6   2/11/2012 at 11:22 (2,979 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Washing is needed, apparently my Tristar reeked of cat pee when the previous owner got it, and after they put a lot of time and effort into cleaning it, the thing smells clean and fresh, so it's not an impossible job, it just takes persistence and time... :)

It's all part of the joy of owning used vacuum cleaners, or anything used, washing, scrubbing and deodorising... :)

Post# 169220 , Reply# 7   2/11/2012 at 14:17 (2,978 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
You're Right!

There is a joy in taking something dirty and damaged and cast-off, and making it like new again, that cannot be had by merely walking into a shop and flashing a credit card to buy something new.

My TriStar's first owner just had the money to buy a new vacuum cleaner. After all the work and care I put into the machine, it's MINE in a way it never was for the first owner.

Post# 169234 , Reply# 8   2/11/2012 at 17:24 (2,978 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Definitely, there's little satisfaction in new appliances for me, putting the work into restoring or refurbishing someone's cast-offs is more appealing, even the Vax foldaway I fixed up, it was a POS, but the fact that someone threw it out, left it outside in the rain to fester and flood the motor, and I come along, dry it out, clean it out and put it all back together, it's a great feeling when it all runs... :)

Post# 169292 , Reply# 9   2/12/2012 at 01:25 (2,978 days old) by briguy (Wichita, Kansas)        
I agree with Sandy...

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Nothing like the satisfaction of finding a well used dirty vac & taking it apart & cleaning it to make it like new again! It's always a thrill for me to return something so dirty sometimes to like new condition.

Post# 169301 , Reply# 10   2/12/2012 at 06:41 (2,978 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Dont forget though - your hose will need to be cleaned out - that's one of the worst areas where dog hair and associated collected dirt in the oils of pet hair collects and congeals.

Post# 229950 , Reply# 11   4/25/2013 at 12:11 (2,540 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

I remember having to disassemble my Electrolux 1205 & TriStar CXL because it reeked of cigarettes; my pop used them to clean ashtrays. Worse, he often smokes INSIDE the house, which really is TOXIC to one's health & discolored living room furniture. After cleaning out the vacs, they no longer smell like cigarettes.

This post was last edited 04/25/2013 at 17:43
Post# 229985 , Reply# 12   4/25/2013 at 16:13 (2,539 days old) by KirbysNphones ()        

HEPA filters filter out particulates, not fumes or gasses. Like someone else mentioned, to filter gasses, you need activated carbon (charcoal) which binds the odors to it. (That's how gas masks/respirators work)

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