Cleaning & Organizing
10 Places You’re Not Vacuuming—But Should Be
Giving these areas a quick once-over can really help with allergies.
Vacuuming your carpets and area rugs regularly is a no-brainer. But there are plenty of places in your home you see every day but never notice how much dust is accumulating. Not only can that lead to a dirty house, but it can also have health implications for people with respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. So break out the vacuum attachment for these places in your home you’re missing:
If you use an upright vacuum, it just bumps up against your baseboards. That’s where dust, pet hair, and dead insects can accumulate. “You don’t see it at first, but over time, that’s when you notice this black line following your baseboards between the carpet,” says Debbie Sardone, the co-owner of Speedcleaning.com. She recommends you clean that area at least once a year with a vacuum attachment.
Wooden and metal blinds can both become dirt magnets if you’re not cleaning them regularly. “If you dust them every week with a flexible duster, then they stay clean, but most people don’t.” She recommends using your attachment to vacuum the blinds at least a couple of times per year to remove heavy dust. For some inspiration, check out these secrets of people who always have a clean house.
Just because you might not have pet hair on your couch doesn’t mean it’s clean. Dust, sand, and grit can blow in from open windows and doors and settle on your upholstery. Then when you sit down and gets up, you grind the particles into the furniture. “It’s like sandpaper to your fabric,” Sardone says. That’s why it wears faster and you get little pills on the fabrics. The best way to avoid that? “Pull the cushions off, vacuum both sides of the cushions and use your upholstery tool from the vacuum and get into the crevices, especially the backside,” says Jotham Hatch, vice president of training and development for Chem-Dry. “Although there’s not a lot of cushion back there, it can collect a lot of dust.”
Another area people don’t think to vacuum are the intake vents in your house. “For some reason, we don’t see them, and there they are, sucking fresh air in and spitting dirty air out,” Sardone says. And the metal slats on vents can be sharp, so cleaning them with your hands can cause injury. Instead, give them a vacuuming of your every three months. Consistency is key, so use this guide to how often you should clean everything.
Many people clean silk plants with traditional household cleaners. But that can ruin them. Instead, use a vacuum attachment to get rid of dust. Pro tip: Slip a pair of pantyhose over the end nozzle to make sure you don’t suck leaves up into the vacuum. And make sure your vacuum isn’t clogged and start out with a fresh bag so you get the most power out of your efforts, Sardone says.
When grime builds up in your makeup drawer or silverware drawer, you might not even notice it. “My silverware drawer was filled with dust and particles and crumbs and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is disgusting,’” Sardone says. She recommends putting your silverware drawer on your checklist for spring cleaning. The same thing with the makeup drawer. “I just get out the vacuum, hook on the attachments, vacuum all the edges and crevices and then wipe everything off before I put it back in,” she says.
Dirt also has a tendency to accumulate on carpeted stairs, where the step meets the next step. “The edges and the crevices get extremely dark from dust,” Sardone says. “It’s because the usual hand vac doesn’t get deep into the crevices and the edges where it collects.” But targeting the area can really help. That said, here are some things you should never vacuum.
Under the beds
If you’ve got allergies, you know that keeping your house clean is particularly important. Another place you should put on your to-vacuum list is under the beds in your home. Dust mites and allergens gather and can build up there, Hatch says. Pro tip: Change out your bag when it’s two-thirds full so the vacuum operates at full efficiency.
You likely clean your sheets often, but how about your mattress? “Vacuuming your mattress can make a huge difference, especially to people who have any kind of respiratory issues,” Hatch says. He recommends you vacuum mattresses on a monthly basis. If you’re particularly concerned about dust, you may also want to consider a vacuum with a microfiltration system, Hatch says. “It may sound a little overkill, but these better vacuums are going to do a better job than just picking the dust up and then putting that into your breathing zone,” he says. For recommendations, check out the Carpet and Rug Institute, which tests and rates vacuums. You might also consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which is particularly effective at removing dust. After you’re done vacuuming these areas of your home, check out these unexpected ways you can use your vacuum.