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Uses for a Vacuum Cleaner (Beyond Floors)

In the real world, there’s tons of cleaning tasks where vacuums come in handy. In this article we’ve compiled several other uses for a vacuum cleaner that go beyond cleaning floors. While some are common, we think we’ve uncovered a few that are beyond the norm.

Vacuum Resources

Getting to Know Your Vacuum Attachments

Every vacuum comes with some set of attachments. Some have many, and some only a few. Regardless of how many come with a vacuum, they’re often dismissed, left in a drawer or somewhere else where they go forgotten.

Vacuum Attachments
Of all vacuum cleaners, Dyson cordless vacuums tend to come with the most attachments. © Vacuum Wars

But, these attachments can turn open up a ton of different cleaning opportunities. Here’s a few of the most common attachments and their uses:

  1. Crevice Tool: As the name suggests, this long, narrow attachment is perfect for cleaning tight spaces and in corners. But did you know a crevice tool is also great for sliding between sofa cushions to dig out hidden crumbs, reaching behind appliances, and cleaning window tracks?
  2. Dusting Brush: The soft bristles of this round brush attachment make it ideal for dusting. Dusting brushes are most often used on flat surfaces, like table-tops, but they’re also great on delicate surfaces, like lampshades, window blinds, and computer keyboards.
  3. Upholstery Tool: While primarily designed for cleaning furniture cushions, this wide, flat attachment is perfect for tackling your mattress, too. Regular mattress vacuuming can help reduce allergens and prolong its life.

Now that you’re familiar with these attachments, here’s some conventional and unconventional cleaning tasks that put them to good use.

RELATED: How often should you vacuum?

Dusting with a Vacuum Cleaner
Using a vacuum cleaner to dust. © Vacuum Wars

Use Your Vacuum Cleaner as a Dusting Tool

For many people, dusting also means pushing around dust particles, only to watch them resettle elsewhere in the room. Vacuuming these surfaces, however, picks up dust but also allergens and dust mites that contribute to poor air quality. Dusting is one of the more common other uses of a vacuum, but we may have found some dusting opportunities to consider:

  1. Appliances and Electronics: Regularly vacuuming the exterior vents of your refrigerator, air conditioner, and other appliances can improve not only their efficiency but also how long they last. In addition, using your vacuum’s dusting brush, you can gently clean your computer keyboards and other electronics without the fear of harming them—just be sure to switch off and unplug electronic devices before vacuuming them.
  2. Windows: Cleaning window blinds can be time-consuming, but your vacuum’s dusting brush attachment makes this task both easier and faster. The bristles can effectively lift dust and debris without damaging delicate slats. Clean the blinds top-to-bottom. Then, finish the job by sucking up any dust, dirt and debris on the window sill. You can also use you crevice tool to clean your window’s tracks, too.
  3. Baseboards and Crown Moldings: Dust accumulates on any flat surface it can find, and baseboards are no different. Baseboards are actually one area of a home that get less attention than others. Crown moldings can also give dust a safe haven. And, we have to mention it: spider webs. Using your vacuum’s dusting brush quickly removes the dust, and yes, spider webs, too.

Vacuuming Outdoors

Vacuums are primarily thought of as indoor appliances. But, if your vacuum is designed for it, vacuums can be helpful in some outdoor cleaning tasks, too. As a huge precaution: be sure the vacuum you are using is up for the task.

Important: Refer to your vacuum’s manual before using it for any outdoor task. Generally speaking, using an indoor vacuum outdoors is beyond what it was designed for. If your vacuum can be used outdoors, a few rules of thumb are to never vacuum anything damp or wet and to only vacuum debris that is at the most two-thirds the diameter of your vacuum’s nozzle.

  1. Refresh Patio Cushions: Bring your vacuum’s upholstery tool outside to remove any dirt, leaves, or pollen from your patio cushions, freshening them up. If there is a lot of debris (especially larger debris) on the cushions remove it first to prevent any clogging of your vacuum. And, be sure the cushions are completely dry unless you’re using a wet/dry vac.
  2. Clean Car Interiors: Save yourself a trip to the car wash by vacuuming your car’s interior. The crevice tool comes in handy for getting between seats, into cup holders, and all the nooks and crannies in your vehicle. While an indoor vacuum can often be used for cleaning a car interior, it might make sense to invest in a shop vac for car detailing.
Above Floor Cleaning - Shark Vertex Pro Cordless Review
Cleaning a ceiling fan’s blades with the Shark Vertex Pro Cordless (review) vacuum. © Vacuum Wars

Use Your Vacuum to Improve Indoor Air Quality

A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can do wonders for any household’s air quality, especially for those who suffer from allergies or asthma:

  1. Vacuum the Vents and Registers: Dust and allergens tend to collect in air vents and return registers. Cleaning them regularly can improve your home’s air quality.
  2. Cleaning Ceiling Fans: Have you ever looked at the top of the blades of the ceiling fans in your home? If you have, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Since the tops of ceiling fan blades are out-of-sight, we often don’t realize how dusty they can become. Vacuuming the blades and the fan itself with a dusting brush can keep the dust at bay.

Pets and Vacuums

If you share your home with pets, vacuum cleaners go from being a cleaning appliance to a necessity. There are many uses for a vacuum cleaner where pets are concerned, and most pet owners have those covered. We do have one unconventional suggestion, however:

  1. Pet Grooming: Believe it or not, some vacuum attachments are designed to brush your pet’s fur, removing loose hair and dander directly into the vacuum. We’re not recommending this or saying you should do it. But, you have to admit, it is unconventional!

Wrapping Up

While vacuum cleaners are indispensable for keeping your floors in tip-top shape, they can be used for so much more. We hope you’ve found at least one new use for your vacuum and it’s attachments!

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Vacuum Wars
Vacuum Wars has been testing, reviewing and comparing vacuums and other consumer products for over half a decade with a goal of helping people make informed buying decisions. Learn more.

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