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For most folks, vacuuming their home means pushing your vacuum back and forth across a carpeted area until the rug is free of dirt, dust and small, loose debris. With the advent of hard-floor vacuums, many of us have even expanded our vacuuming routine to include tile and hardwood, eliminating the need for time-consuming sweeping.
What many people don’t realize is that a vacuum is one of the most versatile cleaning tools in your home. You can use it in a variety of unexpected ways to keep every corner of your home cleaner.
Here are five places you’ve never considered vacuuming, but should.
1. HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
Household appliances are notorious dust collectors. Dust and dirt accumulate around coils and grates which can clog machinery, resulting in poor performance and potentially costly repairs. This generally means reduced energy efficiency, which leads to higher electric bills. In certain cases, the buildup of debris and lint can even be a fire hazard.
If you have older appliances, one unit that can really benefit from regular vacuuming is your refrigerator. Most refrigerators contain condenser coils, which are located either below or behind the unit. You should clean these coils at least once a year, and more frequently for households with pets.
Your vacuum’s crevice attachment provides access to tight spaces, and brush attachments can be used to gently clean sensitive areas. Ultimately, clean condenser coils keep your fridge running more efficiently so your perishables stay fresh and you avoid potentially costly refrigerator breakdowns.
Dryer lint traps and hoses also benefit from vacuuming. Although lint traps come with filters, which prevent debris from penetrating deeper into the machine, some lint always manages to get through. After a while, it builds up.
While you can buy specially designed brushes to clean your dryer’s lint trap, it’s generally more effective to vacuum the trap since the suction does a better job of capturing stubborn debris. You can also purchase a dedicated vacuum attachment for dryer lint traps, which lets you vacuum deeper into the unit. It’s worth noting many dryer hoses can be removed for simpler cleaning.
For safety, household appliances should always be unplugged prior to any maintenance or cleaning.
2. WINDOWS AND SLIDING DOOR TRACKS
Areas around windows and doors are often overlooked during household cleaning. We clean the glass on our windows and sliding doors but forget the tracks that they rest on. These grooves collect unwanted household invaders such as dust, pollen, dirt and small pieces of debris like dead insects and residue from rotting leaves.
A quick cleaning with a brush attachment or crevice tool is a great way to clean tracks, windowsills and the spaces where two windows meet. To complete the job, wipe the tracks with a damp microfiber cloth to catch any leftover residue, and while you’re at it, give your windowsills a quick once-over as well.
Blinds are notorious household dust collectors. And pet owners can tell you that dogs and cats love to push aside blinds to get to a peak outside, leaving plenty of fur behind.
A simple way to clean blinds is to use one of your vacuum’s brush tools. If you have standard blinds, use a back-and-forth motion to keep from scratching the surface. For vertical blinds, brush downward to keep slats from coming unhooked. For a more complete job, be sure to vacuum the reverse side of your blinds as well.
4. VENTS AND VENT COVERS
We take for granted that the air in our own homes is clean. We may even use an air purifier to ensure it. It’s easy to forget that when we’re running our air conditioner or heater, the air in our homes is only as clean as the vents it’s blowing through. The thing is, vents attract dust. For sensitive individuals, this dust can aggravate allergies and other respiratory problems, making their home a breathing nightmare.
An effective way to deep clean your vents is to vacuum them. Most vent covers come off easily, and you can then vacuum or wash them thoroughly with a mild detergent and water. Vacuum the inside of your vents thoroughly, using extension tools to reach deep inside where dust and dirt hide. It’s a quick way to ensure that your home remains an allergy-free zone.
5. OTHER CLEANING TOOLS
Some of the dirtiest items in your house are your cleaning tools. While they leave your house looking fresh and clean, some of the filth inevitably stays behind on your tools. Although soaking most of your cleaning tools in a solution of detergent and water is the ideal way to freshen them up, some items benefit from a simple vacuuming.
Broom heads are a great candidate for vacuuming. With their tightly packed bristles, they hold onto dust bunnies and pet fur, which get released back into your home during the next cleaning. By using your vacuum hose to clean the surface and in between bristles, you ensure that the next time you use your broom, you’re truly cleaning your floor rather than redepositing debris.
Other household cleaning tools that benefit from vacuuming are dry scrub brushes, reusable mop heads and even your own vacuum brushes.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU CLEAN WITH YOUR VACUUM?
Use your creativity. The next time you’re vacuuming your floors, look around to see what other areas may benefit from the cleaning power of your vacuum. From your furniture to your computer’s keyboard, many areas of your home will benefit from a once-over with your vacuum cleaner. It’s an efficient way to suck up the hidden deposits of dust, pollen, pet hair and other debris that keep your house from being the clean, healthy place it should be.