Vacuuming Tips

Vacuuming is something we all have to do (unless you can pay someone else to do it) – and remains one of the less-loved household chores because a) you have to cart a large, noisy machine around that inevitably knocks into everything; and b) it’s very time and energy-consuming, unless you live in a really small house.

Even though I got rid of several vacuums after my cleaning business shut down, I still have three:

  • The Miele cylinder is the one I use for you know, vacuuming the house. Sadly the rented house we are in (only for a few more days hopefully!!) has floor coverings that cannot cope with the raw, untamed power of the Miele. I nearly lost my skin in there once.
  • The Harry became the go-to machine for customers with pets once upon a time, but in its retirement it is now relegated to yucky outdoor tasks like getting rid of cobwebs in the garage and valeting the car. Where I will put it when I move, I have no idea. I’m not getting rid of it.
  • Finally, I still have a Sebo upright. It has sat solemnly for almost 2 years, waiting until I can afford to have the electronic circuit board fixed, as the brush roll will no longer engage without it. When I find/afford a Sebofairy, it will have its day again as King Vacuum in my house.

Enough whimsical pondering into my vacuum history!

On with the vacuuming tips – read on to become an efficient vacuumer!

  • Save time by plugging the vacuum cleaner in at a strategic location – the ideal outlet is as close to your starting point as possible while still allowing you to vacuum as much of the house as possible without re-plugging. Try to keep the cord behind you as you vacuum, which is faster than working toward the cord.
  • Do not let vacuums with brush rolls pass over the cord (or any other cords, threads laces etc for that matter) as the force of the brushes will either damage them or entangle & snap them. You must be careful with cords going around corners and rubbing against wall surfaces. It can remove paint or leave marks on the wall, and can also cause damage if it gets wedged underneath a door or furniture. Take the time to keep the cord behind you and untangled.
  • If using a cylinder vacuum (Miele, Henry/Harry etc.), keep the cylinder part of the vacuum to your left as you vacuum the room to your right. Be very careful as you pull the cylinder, because it can bang against skirtings or knock over a lamp, for example. Avoid stooping when vacuuming. Stand as erect as you can, which is best for your back. Many cylinder vacuums have a height-adjustment button halfway down on the back of the tube.
  • When you start vacuuming a room, work toward the right. Vacuum systematically, so you don’t overlook an area or do it more than once. Usually you can do a living room in three fairly equal parts. Use furniture in the room as landmarks to divide up the room so you don’t skip areas or do them twice.
  • Vacuum with one hand, keeping the other hand available to move furniture or other items out of your way. If vacuuming for long periods, be sure to keep changing arms to prevent excess strain on one shoulder.
  • Typical vacuuming is a forward and backward motion. Go forward one full length of the vacuum hose each time, and ensure that passes overlap. Wherever possible, vacuum against the direction of the carpet pile.
  • Some areas to be vacuumed are well-traveled and need extra attention, so vacuum more slowly or repeat each push and pull of the vacuum. If an area is not used much, speed up and don’t go over it twice.
  • The upholstery tool can be used to remove pet hair on curtains and throws. Depending on the vacuum, you will probably need to turn the power of the suction down. Instead of the upholstery tool, use the dusting brush to vacuum shelves, tables and other dusty furnishings. This tool can also be used to clean dusty skirting boards and air vents.


  • Start at the bottom and vacuum your way up. With the vacuum cleaner behind you as you move up the stairway you avoid the possibility of pulling it down on top of you as could happen if you cleaned from top to bottom of the stairway. It is also easier to see the corners of the stairwell as you move up.


  • Stand on one end of the throw rug to keep it in place. Don’t use back-and-forth motions. Vacuum away from where you’re standing, lift up the vacuum head at the end of a stroke, and start again to the right. (Move forward on a long rug and repeat the process, if necessary, until you reach the other end.) Then come back to the starting point, where you had been standing originally, and do that area from the other direction~ again pushing away from you and lifting the vacuum head at the end of a push.
  • Long pile rugs, loose strands and fringe tassels should be vacuumed with the standard head on the carpet setting, and NOT the brush roll head. It will just pull fibres out of the rug and start to damage the machine and the rug.


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