The Right Way to Vacuum – 5 Steps You Might Be Missing

The Right Way to Vacuum - 5 Steps You Might Be Missing - Clean Mama

It always seems to come to readers as a huge surprise that I ‘only’ vacuum once a week.  I sweep daily and vacuum in between when needed, but part of the reason I only need to vacuum weekly is because the technique I use is thorough enough to get us through the week.  Today I’m sharing the 5 simple steps I follow with you – maybe it will help you maximize the task of vacuuming too.

  1. Use the crevice attachment (if you have one) on your vacuum cleaner first.  Vacuum the edges in each room before you vacuum the carpet.
  2. Vacuum horizontally in each room.
  3. Vacuum vertically in each room.  Yes, you are going over the carpet twice, but this technique ensures that the carpet is lifted and the dirt that may be embedded is removed.  This is especially helpful if you have pets to remove pet hair and dander.
  4. Vacuum from the furthest corner away from the door and vacuum your way out of the room.  This will give you those beloved vacuum lines that say,  ‘I just vacuumed’.  (Am I the only one that loves those lines?)
  5. Use a neutralizer if your carpet needs a little freshening.  Here’s a recipe for my favorite homemade version or you can put a drop or two of essential oil on a cotton ball or tissue and put it in your vacuum canister or bag to freshen the air while your vacuum is running.

What’s your favorite trick for vacuuming?




  1. I really need to use the crevice tool around the edges of the room. I never do that, and I also only vacuum once a week. Who has time for all this vacuuming? Most days I just look at the carpet and if there is no visib;e dirt of crumbs that baby girl will for sure eat off the floor, I don’t even bother.

  2. I love those vacuum lines, too!

  3. Who doesn’t love those beloved lines?!?! Amazing!

  4. shyanne Johnson says:

    My fiance, 3 month old daughter, and I live with my fiancee parents. They don’t even own a vacuum. As you can imagine, it drives me insane!

    • Margaret Minor says:

      How can you NOT own a vacuum!?

      • I consider myself a slob (I am NOT proud) but I think not owning a vacuum should be illegal! I hate NOT be able to keep my house up, I feel that I am always struggling with it. I come from a long line of neat and clean freaks. LOL probably some form of inner rebellion that I can’t fathom!

  5. I’m pretty sure my mother in law doesn’t own a vacuum either! Every time I go I am covered in her super long hairs!! They are everywhere and it drives me nuts!

  6. Thank you for this post. I appreciate learning the correct ways for cleaning tasks. I could really a laundry lesson too! 🙂

  7. I should have read this post before I vacuumed today! Great tips. Thanks.

  8. my vacuum broke about 6 months ago and I can’t afford to buy a new one:( The switch for the carpet brush must have broke cause when u switch it on nothing happens! grr! so we just haven’t been vacuuming (my husband sweeps the carpet every now and then w/ a broom (what his mom in morocco does- most moroccans don’t own a vacuum and ‘sweep’ rugs) ). i have heard i can test my vacuum switch w/ a neon tester, but not really sure how. do u know how?

    • Maybe you just need a new belt…those are usually around $5…My belt has broken a few times before and the brush doesn’t spin or pick up anything…Maybe that’s the problem and it’s affordable to replace without having to buy a whole new vacuum!

  9. Christina says:

    I so love your wit and wisdom! I’ve learned so much from you and am becoming more and more organized and green clean. On the vacuuming deal, I do this on an as needed basis because have hardwood floors. I really like the idea of using that crevice tool first though; what a time-saver. Thank you and keep up the great work. You really can “teach an old new tricks”! LOL

  10. I need a new vacuum, I feel like I’m expending so much energy and getting nothing.

  11. That’s a great way of making sure you get all the spots. I don’t usually go over things twice and often force my way on the corners and edges.I think the best part about the guide is that you end up with the nice lines that everyone sees.

  12. Really like the idea for the carpet freshener using essential oils. I tried using one from the grocery store specifically meant for pets and it was so, so, so strong. That really chemical smell that is supposed to smell fresh but instead it’s more in your face screaming “I’m clean and fresh dang it!” My husband walked in after I was done and said “wow, it smells like angle farts in here.”

  13. For those of you who find vacuuming and entire room or house all at once a big chore, try breaking it down. Make sure to vacuum all of the “high traffic” (most walked on) parts of your carpeting fairly regularly as this is where most of the dirt collects. Then vacuum the rest of the room on a less regular basis. In most houses you can vacuum all of the major traffic areas in 20 minutes or less!

  14. Thanks for the cotton ball tip! I have to vacuum every other day because I have a dog that sheds like crazy and I’m a clean freak haha. I love love those carpet lines too!!

  15. I vacuum our apartment once a week, but if I have time, I vacuum it every day or every several days. I\m very thorough and my family says I lick it clean, but… In about 5 minutes it gets dirty again; we have 2 cats and a nine-month-old girl, and a hubby who doesn’t care if it’s clean or not. So even though I clean like you say, Becky, it doesn’t work for us 🙂 Not that I’m implying anything 🙂

  16. My vacuum is left out. I sweep every other day sometimes once a day. With three kids I like don’t like stepping on their messes.
    One thing I had learned years ago from a vacuum shop was to replace to belt that controls the brushes. Ive done it several times myself and it takes maybe 15 minutes to do. We replaced that one with a Dyson last year and LOVE it! Rising the filter as instructed helps with suction.

  17. Right now I want to steam clean my whole house. No, I want SOMEONE ELSE to come steam clean my house while I am out somewhere. You see, I have two big Labrador retrievers and often have two rotties come for play-dates. FOUR BIG DOGS bring in lots of dust and have LOTS of fur. I love my Shark vacuum but the poor thing is straining from the pressure. 🙂 Sounds like I am, too, huh!

  18. I love those lines so much that I used to force my daughters to stay out of the living room for AT LEAST half and hour, so I could enjoy my freshly vacuumed STRAIGHT, EVEN lines. Drives me nuts when people vacuum every which way.

  19. I use that home made carpet freshener too, you know it also makes an excellent home made “soft scrub” or “comet” in sinks and tubs. I use it for that too. you could even keep it in the same shaker!

  20. Margaret Minor says:

    I had heard YEARS AND YEARS ago that you were supposed to go over your carpets SEVEN times! Not disputing what you say about two times but that’s a LOT! I only have carpet in the bedrooms now, since Aug.2013. The rest is wood and tile. But I know what you mean about the lines and I used to get “upset” (haha) when people would walk on my newly vacuumed lines! I even heard Oprah say once she loves those lines!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  21. Any suggestions on a good lightweight vacuum? My shoulder and back keeps giving me a problem after I vacuum so I have to wait for my hubby to do it and it doesn’t get done as often as I would like.

    • The Oreck is really light – 7 pounds!
      xo, Becky

      • priscilla says:

        I love our Oreck, too. Try walking the vacuum without the push-pull action of your arms and shoulders. Sort of like mowing the yard. I learned this from an OT when I was in.a pain management clinic for major back issues. It makes a big difference not to push & pull the vacuum!

    • Jeanne B says:

      I like the Shark-guaranteed to never loose suction. Light. Not at all expensive. Less than $200.

  22. Ever since having children, I vacuum the downstairs, everyday, first thing in the morning. I do the upstairs and basement once a week. I have now passed that chore onto my oldest son:)

  23. I have to vacuum everyday, we have a lot of in and out traffic, and a lot gets tracked inside. We are always in the run. I would go insane if I missed a day of vacuuming.

  24. I have a shark vacuum and I can’t even tell you how much I love it! You wouldn’t believe the stuff that comes up or of the carpet. So much dust! Good tips and I love vacuum lines too!

  25. My favorite trick is to use my Dyson!! It rocks!

  26. We don’t have a vacuum either. I’ve been sweeping the carpet with a broom since we moved. It’s terrible.

  27. I have no carpet. It’s even faster and easier.

  28. I even use the hose on my vacuum to clean out crumbs from the refrigerator. It works great and makes for a quick freshening up!

  29. My older brother was a carpet salesman to large carpet companies for years. When people asked him what color was the best carpet to buy, he would tell them white. They would look shocked and he would tell them that they would see the dirt more readily on the white and so would vacuum it frequently. It is dirt that ruins carpet. And the more we vacuum it, the longer it will last. (I’m completely paraphrasing him. If he read this, he’d point on details I’m missing. It happens. 🙂 )

  30. i have never used a neutralizer while cleaning the carpet with the vacuum cleaner so little bit excited about this too.

  31. This is my first time reading your blog. Your OCD totally appeals to my OCD and I will be following this blog forever. I also love labels, mason jars (actually, I love all containers), and vacuum lines. It’s as if we are twins separated at birth.

  32. I love your site. I am the worlds worst housekeeper. I hate to do, and my house looks like it. I have been reading your ideas on cleaning up and so far my kitchen counters are all cleaned off and I have decluttered three of the rooms in the house. So here is my question. I have nothing but hard floors, ceraminc tile in the kitchen, bath and entryway, and laminate in the rest of the house. I am clueless on how to clean the laminate so it does not look like it has a nasty white film. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  33. Any tips on an easier way to clean/vacuum the stairs?

    • I use the hose attachment on the edges/corners and I have a separate attachment just for stairs on my Dyson. Most of the time I’ll just swipe the vacuum cleaner over each stair.

  34. Christina says:

    I love dyson hovers but wondering does a cylinder pick up less than an up right vacuum? We have a tabby cat and a westie dog. Both are nortorious for play fighting – I’m always finding chunks of cat fur scattered around house. I’m just finding the cylinder animal dyson is not nearly cleaning the carpets as much as I would have liked – there’s fine dirt and dust being left behind. I’m just wondering would an upright give the carpets a more thorough clean? Also love the advice about vacuuming carpets horizontally and then going over them vertically – this I am going to have to try, Thanks for a great post.

    • I have the Shark for animals. I have COPD AND ASTHMA. I bought the new Dyson for animals. i have always loved the Shark and believed it to be the best sold. I’ve had the Kirby and Filter Queen. When my Dyson arrived I vacummed with the Shark and went back over the area with the new Dyson. Quite a bit more came out of the carpet. I’m not sure if it was left from what the Shark was working out from years of deep dirt or if it was the Dyson. I thnk I’ll reverse and use the Dyson first and then the Shark in different area and see what happens. I have 4 Sobermans and 2 miniature pinschers and need a good vacuum. Both vacuums do a great job.

  35. I take a used dryer sheet (as IF those aren’t floating out of a freshly folded basket – I do about 35 loads a week) and run it around the baseboard while I’m down with my beloved crevice tool. With a beagle, a Shedding Machine, I make sure to vacuum in not only both directions, but, the ‘recommended’ amount IF I were going to use a carpet cleaner following. (Directions say 20 minutes) I realize this sounds ridiculous, however, with the amount of dirt and food (I have a four year old, and a 13 year old, along with The Shedding Beast) – and I swear, I’ve never in my life seen so much stuff come up! Once a month, it’s worth the extra time!

Speak Your Mind


Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss