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How to effectively vacuum carpeted stairs

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Up, down, and all around...

Carpeted stairways see a lot of action, so vacuuming them correctly can make a big difference in how they look! Just follow these simple steps to keep your stairs looking great.
Up, down, and all around...

It's a fact of life and of busy households — carpets get a lot of wear and tear, and families track outside dirt and debris inside on the soles of their shoes. Add in the comings and goings of friends and the furry pets you share your home with, and carpets can start to look dingy. Carpeted stairs are one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to regular cleaning. Here's how to vacuum your stairs correctly and give them the special treatment that keeps them looking great!

Step 1: Pick it up

Before you start vacuuming, check the stairs and remove any objects left there so you have an unobstructed path. Also pick up scraps of paper or larger dirt items that could clog up the vacuum cleaner. Now is a good time to dust the handrail and stair spindles before you vacuum.

What a mess!: Teach your preschooler to pick up >>

Step 2: Get cornered

On carpeted stairs the biggest build-up of dust and debris will usually be in the corners and along the edges. Choose the right nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner — the smaller nozzle or one with a pointed profile is normally most effective at getting into corners. Work your way up the stairs concentrating on running the nozzle along the carpet edge and thoroughly cleaning in each corner. Do a double sweep by working your way up the steps, then clean your way back down... going over the edges and corners a second time.

Step 3: Work both ways

Replace the smaller corner-appropriate nozzle now, and attach the wider nozzle or beater brush to your vacuum. As you work your way up, run this nozzle slowly and carefully over each step, being sure to cover the entire surface. After vacuuming the flat surface, turn the attachment upside down and work it over the vertical part of the step in an up-and-down motion. As you work your way up each stair, vacuum the horizontal and then the vertical surface.

Feet and paws stomping up and down stairs can leave their mark, but frequently vacuuming carpeted stairs keeps the carpet looking fresher and cleaner. A canister-style vacuum is usually lighter in weight and more easily maneuverable for cleaning stairs. Make sure that the vacuum you choose and use has the appropriate attachments for the job, and regularly change the bag and filter, or empty the container on bag-free models. Keeping your vacuum in top condition is one way to get a better clean! For high-traffic areas like stairs, carpet with built-in stain resistance is always a good investment.

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