Tips, machines to help you suck it up
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:
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 said.
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.
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.
Small rugs act like mini mops, gathering up a lot of debris. Take them outdoors if possible for a good shake before vacuuming.
For big rugs, the Dalton, Ga.,-based Carpet and Rug Institute recommends slow, overlapping motions front to back. Start from the center of the rug and move out to the edges to prevent fraying.
Shaw Floors, makers of carpet, wood, tile and laminate flooring, has advice on its website, www.shawfloors.com: Use a rotating brush or comb beater brush attachment to agitate and loosen deep dirt.
But thick wool pile rugs, shags and cabled weaves can get fuzzy or tangled with this brush, so stick to the suction-only attachment for them.
Change the direction frequently.
For bare floors, use a good, soft brush to protect the floor.
Replace your machine when it no longer sucks like it used to. But make sure it's not just suffering from a clogged hose, filter or intake. Resist the fun of slurping up coins or small objects, as they can jam up the hose or, worse, the motor.
Empty the canister or vacuum bag when it's a half to three-quarters full.
Got pets? Use crevice tools and upholstery nozzles to remove hair from tiny corners and baseboards as well as furniture.
Vacuum throw pillows, mattresses and curtains weekly, to remove pet dander and fur.
There are two camps when it comes to regular vacuum models: uprights and canisters.
Canister fans tout the tote-ability of a lightweight machine that can be easily carried up stairs and maneuvered from room to room, and has a wand that gets under furniture.
Upright lovers prefer to push than pull; these models tend to glide easily across floors and carpeting, and the dirt receptacle generally has a larger capacity than can vacs.
Roomba is the market leader in robot vacuum cleaners, those little round gadgets that clean on their own and have a rechargeable battery.
Moneual's Rydis robot cleaner has a lot of different cleaning modes, and an optional microfiber mop attachment.
Neato Robotics' XV Signature Pro creates a vertical map of the room before it gets to work.
Just like us clean freaks.
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