The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 15, 2013

Right at Home: the art of vacuuming

NEW YORK — Housekeeping, drudgery? Not to us members of the unofficial “clean club.”

You know if you belong: You enthusiastically discuss your favorite cleaning tools, staying loyal to equipment and techniques that have served you well over the years. You understand the difference between a crevice tool and an upholstery nozzle. Vacuuming? You see it as an art.

But what if you don’t love to clean? Well, chances are you still need to suck it up. Here are some tips on methods and machines to help make the chore of vacuuming less of a challenge:

Vacuuming how-to

Kit Selzer, senior editor at Better Homes & Gardens magazine, says you shouldn’t begin cleaning by vacuuming.

“Vacuum after you’ve dusted. Pick up every possible thing from the floor, and move dining chairs and side tables out of the way so you have as much open space as possible,” she says.

Professional house cleaners call this “top down cleaning” — you start at the top of the room, so particulates settle. Tackle ceiling corners, window treatments, furniture and finally the floors.

Selzer also suggests keeping the attachments — crevice tools and small brushes — handy as you get started.

“They’re invaluable for getting dust, dirt and pet hair while you already have the vacuum out. Use the crevice tool in corners and along the baseboards, the upholstery brush on anything made of fabric, and the dusting brush on blinds, books and lampshades,” she advises.

How often should you vacuum? Frequently, especially in high-traffic areas. It keeps dirt from getting ground in and keeps carpet fibers from getting matted. Selzer says vacuuming once a week is good for the average carpet.

Other tips:

n Small rugs act like mini mops, gathering up a lot of debris. Take them outdoors if possible for a good shake before vacuuming. If you can’t do that, vacuum the rug thoroughly on both sides, roll it up and put it aside until the floor’s been dealt with.

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