No matter whether you love or hate your vacuum, it can do much more than remove dust and dirt from your floors and carpets. Since you have a machine that uses suction to capture messes, here are eight surprising uses for your vacuum cleaner all around the house.
For most of these jobs, you will need a canister or upright vacuum that includes a hose or detachable portable hand vac like the Shark Apex Stick Vac with different attachments rather than a simple upright floor vacuum cleaner. For some jobs, a smaller handheld vacuum will also work well. (We even share a tip on making your own crevice tool for hard-to-reach spots!)
Put a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in the vacuum bag or cup. The scent will permeate the air as you work. Or, you can dot an accessible filter of the vacuum with an essential oil.
Capture Excess Pet Hair
A vacuum cleaner's job is to gather all the pet hair sticking to rugs and tumbling along on hardwood floors. But you can also use it to vacuum your pet's bedding and even your own quilts and bedspreads before you toss them in the washer. Excess hair in a washing machine is one of the main culprits in causing clogs and water pumps to fail.
There are also attachments that you can purchase to help groom your dog by brushing and suctioning away all of the excess fur, but remember to never do anything that makes your pet uncomfortable.
Exert Insect Control
A study by Ohio State University shows that frequent vacuuming will kill 96 percent of fleas (adult and larvae) in a home. A vacuum is also a great way to remove dust mites and human skin cells they feed on from mattresses.
That vacuum hose and crevice tool are also a great way to reach and capture spiders or mosquitoes that gather in ceiling corners. After the insects are gone, attach a clean white cloth to the tool with a rubber band to corral cobwebs.
Freshen Upholstery, Pillows, and Carpets
Beyond removing dust, crumbs, and dirt, your vacuum and a box of baking soda can do wonders to remove odors and brighten fabrics. Simply sprinkle baking soda liberally over upholstery, toss pillows, and carpets. Work it in lightly with a sponge or a mop. Allow the baking soda to remain on the surfaces for at least one hour and then vacuum away. You'll be amazed at how much brighter fabrics can look because the slight abrasive nature of baking soda helps loosen soil and the vacuum whisks it away.
Trap Dust Before It Spreads
Use the vacuum's dusting brush attachment to trap dust on lampshades, books, light fixtures, blinds, and even plant leaves before you do any additional cleaning. Removing the dust first will prevent streaks and smears.
Reduce Indoor Allergens
Keep window sills and the crevices between outdoor screens and window panes from accumulating allergens by vacuuming regularly. Use the dust brush attachment to vacuum window and door screens to remove pollen and dust. And, don't forget to give the drapes and any window treatments a good going over as well.
Prevent House Fires
Using a vacuum cleaner is a great way to remove any excess lint from your dryer vent system and from the dryer itself. Always unplug the dryer first and turn off the gas line if you have one and then use the crevice tool to access the vent area and under the appliance. If you are handy, open the outside housing at the back of the dryer and vacuum away any trapped lint. Dryer lint is a leading cause of house fires.
Recover Small Items
If you have dropped something small like an earring, nail, or screw behind a hard-to-move piece of furniture, grab your vacuum. Attach a piece of mesh or old pantyhose over the end of the crevice tool with a rubber band. Aim for the lost item and the suction from the vacuum will trap it against the mesh so you can make a recovery.
If your vacuum cleaner didn't come with a crevice tool or it's the wrong size to get into tight spots like window and door tracks, create your own with a cardboard paper tube. Slip one end over the end of the vacuum hose and then pinch the other end to form a flattened nozzle. If needed, secure the tube to the hose with duct tape or a heavy rubber band.
Clean Kitchen Appliances
No, your vacuum is not going to clean out the refrigerator or remove grease from a cooktop but it can help you in the kitchen. For each of these tips, ALWAYS unplug the appliance first before doing any work.
- Use the vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the refrigerator coils and condenser. Your refrigerator will work more efficiently and keep temperatures colder and more steady.
- Decrumb the spaces between appliances and countertops with the vacuum crevice tool. Keeping crumbs under control will help prevent insect infestations.
- Prevent small fires by using the vacuum to remove crumbs from unplugged toasters and toaster ovens.
- After running an automatic oven cleaning cycle, use the vacuum to capture any ashy residue.