When it comes to life’s necessary evils, vacuuming ranks somewhere between flossing and taxes. But when you consider that doing the deed can keep you healthy (clean carpets = fewer respiratory problems) and make your living room look freaking fantastic, the benefits outweigh the burden. Since you’re pretty much committed to a lifetime of floor suction, you might as well make it easier on yourself.
Here are six ways to make vacuuming suck less:
1. Use an extension cord. Plugging your vacuum into the wall once isn’t a big deal. Unplugging and re-plugging it five times to reach every room? Less cool. Avoid this hassle by using an extension cord! It’s a simple fix that can go a long way towards alleviating vacuum frustration. Bonus: You’ll finish the job sooner, too.
2. Add citrus zest. Tackle two cleaning tasks at once by de-stinking entire rooms while you’re vacuuming your floors. Simply add small pieces of zest (the outermost portion of the rind) or squeeze juice from your favorite citrus (we like lemons) directly into the vacuum bag. The fragrance will be lightly diffused around the room while you work. Tip: Some vacuums – like the Total Floors Pet Deluxe model from Bissell – have scented-filters that achieve the same effect.
3. Keep your vacuum clean. Rolling a dirty vacuum across your rug can do more harm than good. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Once a year, pour yourself a drink and celebrate Vacuum Cleaning Day, a make-believe holiday that’ll make maintaining your machine seem as delightful as a clean carpet.
4. Focus on high-traffic areas. Here’s a cleaning secret that will seriously reduce your chore load: low-traffic areas don’t need to be vacuumed as frequently. The areas under the bed, beneath the sofa and off the beaten path (looking at you, rarely used formal dining room) will accumulate grit more slowly than places that see regular foot traffic. Stay on top of the high-traffic areas with a weekly (more if you have pets!) spin of the vacuum, but you can probably get away with doing low-traffic zones every two weeks (or even less often).
5. Get vacuum-friendly rugs. Prevention goes a long way towards easing your vacuum woes. If you’re in the market for a new rug, consider the fact that low-pile, synthetic options are the most vacuum-friendly. That’s not to say that wool shag rugs can’t be cleaned, but it’ll be a labor of love.
6. Take off your shoes. By observing and enforcing a no shoes policy in your home, you’ll reduce the buildup of dirt and debris (not to mention germs!) by as much as 85 percent. That may not make vacuuming 85 percent easier, but it’ll definitely help! Tip: Keep sturdy mats by all doors to catch additional dirt, too.