Unless Monica Geller is your alter ego, cleaning your house falls somewhere between dinner with your ex and doing your taxes—aka it’s the worst. But that amazing feeling you get afterward as you revel in your sparkling abode is sooooo satisfying. Here, five steps to help you vacuum properly so that you can spend less time cleaning and more time basking in your dirt-free digs.

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Step One: Save Vacuuming for Last

Get all those other annoying cleaning tasks out of the way first, so that all of that dirt and grime that trickled down to the ground while you were dusting (because of course you’re dusting, right?) will get picked up by your vacuum cleaner.  

Toys and mess on the floor
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Step Two: Clear the Space

Before you get started, make sure to do a quick sweep of the room to pick up anything that might jam the vacuum. That means any loose change, paper clips, toys and bobby pins. (Why are there always so many bobby pins?!) Don’t sweat the small stuff like crumbs, dirt or Trixy’s fur balls. (But liquids are a big no-no.)

 

Woman emptying her vacuum bag
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Step Three: Empty the Bag

To get the most suction out of your vacuum, replace the bag when it’s more than two thirds full (not when it’s jam packed and starts making weird noises). If your Hoover is bagless, then make sure to empty the canister before getting started. Hair stuck around the beater head brush? Use a seam ripper or scissors to remove strands—yeah, get in there. Don’t be precious.

woman using upholstery brush to vacuum stairs
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Step Four: Work Strategically

OK, now you’re ready to start vacuuming. Work top to bottom—first curtains, then upholstery and finally the floors. And don’t be afraid of using those extra tools (they don’t bite, promise). Use the crevice tool (the long, flat tube) to get into corners and vacuum the stairs. Use the upholstery brush (that small round thing that, um, looks like a brush) on furniture. For your sofa or armchair, take the cushions off and vacuum the base, back, arms and sides before finishing up with the cushions. Phew.

Woman s vacuuming a white shaggy carpet
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Step Five: Vacuum and Repeat

It may seem like double the work but make sure you go over your rug or carpet multiple times to pick up all the gunk that’s trapped between the fibers. You should also switch up the direction, making sure to attack the carpet from all angles. Easy peasy.   

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