vacuuming tips

A really good vacuuming job can draw in up to 99 percent of the dirt and dust in an area, which not only means the place is tidier, it's also a healthier environment. Use these tips to perfect your vacuuming.

1. Clean strategically

When doing a proper cleaning (as opposed to the mid-week zoom around the house to eliminate the most offensive bits of dirt and pet hair tumbleweeds), you'll want to dust the room before vacuuming so you can vacuum up the dust and lint particles that settle on the floor.

2. Clear the way

Move furniture out of the way before you begin vacuuming, both so you don't bump into it and so you do a thorough job of cleaning under and around it. In other words, if you're vacuuming in between the legs of the chairs as they sit tucked under the dining room table… you're doing it wrong.

3. Take your time

When vacuuming a floor, start inside a room and vacuum your way out of it. Be careful around baseboards to avoid marring them. Vacuum both forward and backward in long, slow, overlapping strokes. Of course, it's incredibly satisfying to suck up any small objects that lie in your path, such as leaves of houseplants, small lego blocks or cat litter. However, you really should forgo the pleasure: they might present a danger to the vacuum's mechanism or get stuck in the tube.

4. What's inside that counts

Don't let the vacuum bag get too full. For maximum efficiency, always change it when it's half to three-quarters full.

5. Set a schedule

To keep things looking great, it's a good idea to incorporate spot-vacuuming into your weekly housekeeping routine. Your ideal frequency will vary based on kids, pets, and lifestyle - aim for twice a week at least in high-traffic areas.

6. Go with gadgets

Many vacuum cleaners come with standard attachments - but all too often they're forgotten. Know which tool use on which surface, and your vacuuming will be more effective. Some of the newer models have a wide range of gadgets, including special tools for upholstery and mattresses; and there's even a pet grooming attachment to eliminate fur tumbleweeds right at the source.

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