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How to Get More Out of Your Vacuum

It's not like it's 1901 and we're telling you about this newfangled device and how it can help you with your housework (please!). We've all had about 100 years to figure that one out, but are you really using it as much as you could? No, we don't mean lifting that hose up to your wet head and creating the perfect blow out. That would be crazy. But there are a few perfectly normal ways to use your vacuum that you just haven't thought of yet.

Books and bookshelves
You can actually use your vacuum cleaner to dust books or even piles of magazines. It's more effective and faster than wiping them down with a cloth.

Cabinets and drawers
Get dust, lint, and crumbs out of your cabinets with the crevice attachment.

Use your vacuum on the upholstery, carpets, and floors. You can also use a vacuum to clean a trailer or a boat. Just make sure that if an area is wet or even damp, you use a wet/dry vacuum.

Ceiling fans and light fixtures
With a soft brush attachment, vacuum your fan blads and any light fixtures -- both areas where dust really accumulates.

Grime, sand, and gravel especially gravitate toward the area where you keep your shoes.

Draperies and valances
The hose and wand attachment will clean dust from the top of curtain headers and valances. If there's a delicate suction feature on your vacuum, use it to vacuum the drapes themselves.

Humidifiers and air cleaners
Get the air intake and diffuser with your vacuum: Dust really builds up here. If your air cleaner has a built-in ionizer, the dust will accumulate even more quickly.

The crevices in lampshades are easy to miss when you're cleaning...and also easy to get at with the soft brush attachment.

Get all the dead skin, hair, dust, and dust mites off your mattresses and box springs with a vacuum cleaner.

Halls and wall mirrors can use a good vacuuming with a soft dusting brush. This gets rid of dust, rather than smearing it around like glass cleaner does.

There are a couple of ways to use your vacuum cleaner on a pillow. You can simply vacuum it to get rid of the dust mites and skin flakes, or you can put the pillow inside a big plastic bag and hold it tightly closed while you remove the air in the bag with a vacuum hose. Then, take the pillow out of the bag and refluff it.

Vacuum the exposed coils behind your fridge to make the fridge work more efficiently.

Silverware drawer
Tons of crumbs end up here. Just grab handfuls of silverware with one hand and use your vacuum to clean out the drawer with the other hand.

Both the corners of your stairs and the area behind the staircase can use a good cleaning with your vacuum.

Trash cans
Get the crumbs, dirt, and other yucky stuff out of the bottom of your garbage or recycling bins using your vacuum.

Before you wash or paint walls, vacuum them to get rid of loose dust. (Use a washcloth, and you're just spreading the dust around.) The vacuum is especially good for wood walls and paneling.

Find out how to buy a vacuum.

--Paula Kashtan


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