How to clean with an upright vacuum

Published on June 6th, 2020

An upright vacuum is one of the most common pieces of cleaning gear used for keeping homes clean. It is powerful and also versatile – if you pick a good upright vacuum.

If you have an adaptable upright vacuum, you can not only clean the floor and carpets but also most other areas of your home. Having good attachments for your upright is what determines how useful your appliance is.

This is how you use your upright vacuum and those accessories to clean your home:

How to use your upright vacuum for keeping your home clean

Using your upright vacuum for cleaning should be examined from two aspects: how often you should clean and how to clean different surfaces. (Read more on What are upright vacuums?)

upright type vacuum on floor


In most homes, the vacuum cleaner is used 1-4 times every month. A weekly cleanup is recommended, but often vacuuming is something people tend to skip, which is understandable. Rarely cleaning is the high point of your week. However, letting the dust and dirt build up only makes the situation worse.

If you let the mess accumulate, your home will be dusty, dirty, and unhygienic. Also, when you finally get yourself to plug in the vacuum, it will take you longer to finish the chore.

You see, as you let the dust collect on the floor, it finds its way into every nook and crevice. When you vacuum, all that build up dust will need several passes before it is all cleaned up.

On the other hand, if you take care of weekly upkeep vacuuming, there is less to clean up, and it will take you less time and fewer passes to achieve a clean home.

How often is often enough?

Use your upright vacuum to clean your home once a week. If you have pets or kids, high-traffic areas like the hallway and kitchen may need to be vacuumed more often, sometimes even daily, if you live with a couple of mess makers.

Different surfaces

The second aspect is, of course, how can you use your upright vacuum on different surfaces to keep them clean. This is how:

  • Floors 

You need to switch your upright vacuum to the floor cleaning mode to clean hard-floor surfaces like tile, laminate, or parquet. This will adjust the brush roll speed and height to offer optimal cleaning on the floor.

Glide the vacuum forward and pull it back, slowly moving across the area you want to clean. The brush roll and suction will pull in dirt, leaving the floor clean.

  • Carpets and rugs

For carpets, you need to adjust the brush roll again if it does not adjust automatically. Selecting the correct carpet height is important to make sure the brush roll engages the carpet effectively, and the suction is directed to the surface.

With the correct mode, your upright vacuum will use the brush roll to dig into the surface of the carpet. The bristles pull up dirt and hair, which are quickly guided to the suction path.

When vacuuming rugs, always remember to check that it can be cleaned using a brush roll. Sometimes, delicate wool rugs may be damaged by the bristles, and it's best to follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions. Some upright vacuums allow you to switch off the spinning brush, but not all. Make sure to check to avoid any damage to your carpet or rugs.

  • Dusting

If your upright vacuum has an extension hose, you can easily use it for dusting as well. This is a great way to dust above-floor surfaces because all of the dust of sucked in and filtered instead of being wafted into the air.

Make sure you turn the suction to low and use a dusting brush that has soft bristles. Carefully run the brush over the surface or object you want to dust, and the vacuum will suck up any dust, dirt, or debris.

A vacuum cleaner is an excellent way to dust window sills, tables, shelves, and such. It's quick, easy, and more hygienic than a traditional dusting wand.

  • Furniture

To clean your furniture with an upright vacuum, you need to grab the hose and attach either a motorized brush roll tool or the upholstery tool. First, always make sure the fabric used for upholstery is durable enough to be cleaned with a brush roll attachment. If not, use the upholstery accessory, which is more suitable for delicate materials.

upright vacuum cleaning pet hair from carpet

Set the suction to the wanted setting and run the tool across the surface you want to clean. These attachments will pick up any dust or hair embedded to the surface.

Summing up

An upright vacuum is a great way to keep your home clean and free of pet hair and dust – from the floor to the ceiling.

Just make sure you stick to that cleaning routine, adjust the settings on the vacuum, and use the correct tools designed for different purposes. You'll have a spotless home in no time at all!

Matt Clayton

Matt Clayton

Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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