There are some things I’m going to keep to myself, but one thing I’m willing to go entirely public with is my pure disdain for vacuuming.

It’s just too much.  It drives me crazy.  It makes me mad!  But this post isn’t an opportunity for me to vent, it’s actually my way to share with you how to vacuum like a professional, without having to go through the pain I went through to learn all of this.  See, once I learned the proper way to do it, it became palatable…. I could at least manage.  I still don’t like it, but at least I know how to do it well enough to get great results in the least amount of time.  So let me show you the 5 tips that will get you vacuuming like a pro!

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Become attached to your attachments

Ok, well, not literally, but get to know them and leverage them to make vacuuming a lot easier and to get even more use out of your vacuum.

Most vacuums come with at least a few attachments – all of which have a specific use – so, let’s quickly cover off what each one does:

Crevice Tool

This long, narrow tool is designed to get into corners, the area between your baseboard and your floor (you get a lot of build-up there), under spaces, in between the small crevices in upholstery, etc.  It’s useful and man, does it work!

Upholstery Brush

This is designed to, well, remove dust and debris from upholstery.  Depending on the brand of vacuum you have, it may have a little lint removal strip which you can manually clean after each use.  Mine is always full of cat hair (go figure).

Hard Floor Brush

This essentially makes your vacuum into an electric broom.  Hard floor attachments have fine bristles, like a broom, attached to the bottom which won’t scratch your floors (like a powerhead can).  That said, upright vacuums and some canister vacuums may not come with a separate attachment, so you may just need to flip a switch on your powerhead which pops bristles out at the base, thus protecting your hard floor surfaces from scratching.

Dusting Brush

This is used for dusting and cleaning small, delicate spaces.  For example, it’s great to use for cleaning a keyboard, cleaning out a drawer, etc.  I use mine a lot! It has the same bristles as a hard floor brush which means it won’t scratch a surface.  Nice!


This is what’s used on carpets.  It has a brush (beater bar) which spins and digs into your carpet fibers to pull anything out that shouldn’t be there.  This is what gets you those nice cut lines.  In some cases you can adjust for the pile of your carpet, so make sure you do that.
I recommend doing all of your attachment vacuuming first, then moving any furniture out of the way so that you can clear up the floor for your full on vacuum, then replacing the items when done.
The right tool for the right job is my motto so be sure to use the right vacuum attachment for best results!

The Power of Baking Soda

Yes, I know.  I talk about it all the time.  But I can’t help it!  Carpets harbour a LOT of odours, especially for all you pet owners out there – so, to tackle the stanky carpet blues all you need is a generous sprinkle of baking soda over your entire carpet and let it sit and work its magic for about 15-20 minutes.  After the time has elapsed, simply vacuum it all up as you normally would! This also helps deodorize the vacuum canister, so you know, why not?  We also learned last week (when we explored pet hair management) that baking soda can help loosen carpet fibers a little and release pet hair.  Double rainbow!

You’d be surprised how well baking soda works on carpets and you might want to consider doing this routine every couple of months to keep your carpets in tip top shape.

Vacuum Cut Lines

Nothing showcases a freshly cleaned room quite like vacuum cut lines – for the 3 minutes before someone walks all over the carpet.  Believe it or not, there is actually a proper way to create these cut lines and I thought I would share the routine I teach my staff at my cleaning company….I call it, the ‘W’ pattern.  Yes, you’ve heard me talk all about the ’S’ pattern for years now, but the ‘W’ is something I was keeping in my back pocket…until now.

Step 1:

Divide your room into sections if it is large and start at the far corner (just visually, ‘course).   Do all of your small attachment vacuuming first and then move any easily movable furniture out of the room or place on a surface that won’t be vacuumed (bed, table, etc.).  That way, you have the most space available to do your work.

Step 2:

Position your vacuum canister and all cords and the hose behind you. You always want the vacuum canister to be behind you, of course if you are using an upright, just keep the cords behind you.  Position the vacuum head in front of you and nestle it into the corner that is the exact diagonal opposite from your exit point (that way you don’t vacuum yourself anywhere else aside from out the door).

Step 3:

Now, hit the power and pull straight back to the end of your section.  Now, go right back over that line you just made, and finally, pull back on an angle.  Keep vacuuming in one direction, that way you’ll never repeat an area you’ve already cleaned and you also don’t step all over the area you just vacuumed.  Repeat this until you get to the end of your section.  By doing this, you do 3 passes over one section which is the optimal amount to get a good, solid vacuum in, you’ll have no footprints, and you’ll create those beautiful, magazine-worthy cut lines.

Step 4:

Once you get to the end of your section, pull everything back to the beginning of your next section and repeat! You should vacuum yourself out the door.

Vacuum in Slow-mo!

Vacuuming is NOT a race and as much as I would like for my vacuuming to be over and done with as soon as possible, it’s really important to take your time to allow as much brick a brack to be sucked up into the vacuum and the only way to do that is with slow, deliberate passes (and to do 3 of them, as I described above).  Also, vacuuming can literally suck a lot of energy out of you, and if you do it too fast, you’ll burn out and that’s a bad feeling when you’ve got a lot of it to do.  I take my time, I just slowly walk up and down my section until the job is done, and my arms don’t tire out as fast. Trust me on this one!

Work Toward the Door

This might sound simple, but it’s a handy tip to avoid you vacuuming yourself into a corner (and then getting footprints all over your precious cut lines!).   You ALWAYS want to start your vacuuming at the opposite end of the room in accordance with the door (as I said earlier).  That way, there won’t be any footprints on your freshly cleaned carpets.  On that note, where you plug your vacuum in is quite important.  If you plug it in in front of you, you’ll be vacuuming over cords, you’ll have a tough time keeping the vacuum behind you and you will most definitely have to walk over your freshly vacuumed carpets to unplug it.  So, always look for the socket that is closest to your exit point, and re-position it if you have to as you work your way toward the exit point of the room.  Some people get extension cords so they never have to unplug all the time.  And,  I’m telling you, when I learned this one, it all clicked in.

What are your vacuuming secrets?  Please share, because if I can find a way to make this job even easier, I definitely want to know!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. I’ve read other places that vacuuming up baking soda can ruin your vacuum cleaner due to the small particle size. Do you research your advice before you post it?

  2. Hi Melissa

    I want to know if using Woolite carpet cleaner or Resolve. Will it be alright for the vacuum cleaner. I have a Bissell Pet Hair Remover vacuum.

  3. Hi Melissa…love your videos! Spring cleaning has been inspired in me by watching you! I have a Dyson and it doesn’t appear that Baking soda should be used when vacuuming. What other suggestions are there …we have a cats and that means alot of shedding. Thanks for all your tips n tricks!!! Keep rm coming! Sincerely, Kristin from Hammond IN!!!0

    • Vacuuming can be a good substitute for sweeping floors (especially for getting under big appliances). Mopping is a good way to kill bacteria and germs, so vacuuming won’t take care of that. Hope that helps!

  4. You can deodorize carpets by spraying them with Lysol or similar deodorizer instead of using baking soda. Vacuum. Spray. Wait. Vacuum again. Works a treat.

  5. I love getting your emails and thoughts/ideas. But I was told that baking soda is not good for vacuums. I use baking soda at times but I had to get another vacuum cause of baking soda. Take a read at the article that I will be attaching

  6. #1 TIP – SERIOUSLY, you should include this caveat. At the top of your post.

    Do NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES put baking soda (or ANY POWDER) on your carpet and vaccum it BEFORE TESTING that your vaccum cleaner can handle it.

    Baking soda particles can be TOO SMALL for MANY filters to effectively catch and trap. If your vacuum cleaner is not up to the task and you vacuum a load of baking soda from a carpet, be prepared to watch a giant white cloud of dust spew from the back of the vacuum cleaner. The baking soda will be sucked in through the front of the vacuum cleaner, go straight through your filter, and straight out the exhaust. Because the particles are so fine, it effectively turns into a mist which will eventually settle.

    You will then be left with a thin film of white dust over everything in your house. You may be tempted to try vacuuming it up, don’t! The only thing you can do is wipe it up with a damp cloth. Or get a much better vacuum cleaner, preferably one you can test with a jar of baking soda in-store.

    • Do you have a suggestion for a vacuum that handles baking soda well? I don’t want to do this all the time but I would like a vacuum that will allows this once every couple of months. Thanks! (for 2 area rugs, not a full home).

  7. Get a solid Bissell off Craigslist for $35. Clean/Change the filter regularly. Vacuum once every day if you can. For stains, use FOLEX. It’s at the home depot.

    • I can verify that it does. I used a powder on a stinky carpet that was intended to clean it (it did) but it killed my Shark. I’d love to know of a vacuum brand that can safely pick up fine powder without damage.

    • Absolutely happened to me I have a shark so not the cheapest and not most expensive. But the first time I did the carpet and bed completely clogged the the hepa filter and blew out the motor. The vacuum wasn’t very old. (Husband not impressed lol)

  8. I dont mind the vacuum since I only have 3 rooms with carpet & the rest is hardwood floors. I was wondering if there are any idea’s of how to get sap out of carpet.

  9. Ik don’t have pets, I don’t like vacuuming and do not do it as much as I should. I do (and will) not use baking soda, but I do start each session by vacuuming up a bit of washing powder, to prevent that not so nice output smell.

  10. As far as using baking soda to help deodorize the carpet, can that clog the vacuum at all? Filter, hose, any of that?

  11. I wanted to know if you could tell me what I can use to deter static cling from the head of my vacuum cleaner? I have furry babies and when I vacuum, I get all kinds of hair on the top of the head of the vacuum because of static cling. It IS an old vacuum, but it still works GREAT!! It is an old Kenmore canister. And as far as keeping the air fresh when I vacuum, I put either a dryer sheet inside the bag, or sometimes I put scented candle shavings in the bag so that the air that it blows back out freshens the room. PLEASE help me with the static issue. it would be really helpful.
    Thank you,
    Karen M.

  12. I hate & like vacuuming (put it needs to be done cause of animals). But are there any other ideas to use besides baking soda?

  13. I personally like it. And to me it can even be a mini workout if you own an upright like I do. Just remember to switch hands every so often.

    Bye the way, love the website and videos!

  14. I have two carpets and laminate all over the house and I wasn’t sure whether to use the vacuum machine or a mop. Thanks a lot for sharing these advices!

  15. I live in a very small one bedroom apartment, approximately 600 square feet. What vacuum do you recommend for a man who is a self admitted pig?

    • Also, as a remedial YouTube user, is there a way for me to make comments on your videos from my phone without viewing the entire blog on your website? I am an Android user. Thank you for your assistance in my recovery from being completely hygenically lost!

      • My boyfriend has allergies also to just about everything especially the cat (which I won’t get rid of). We can’t even leave the windows open to get the fresh air. Any suggestion on that issue.

  16. Vacuuming is certainly not a fun chore! I try to do as little of it as possible, even though I love my vacuums. My robotic vacuum keeps the living area as clean as it can when I’m busy being a mom to kids and a pet dog, so when I pull out my Hoover in the weekends there isn’t so much left to do!

  17. Hi Melissa. Love your videos and hate vacuuming. I have lots of pet friends keeping me company and leaving hair everywhere so vacuuming regularly is a must. A question for you I have is this … The metal tubes on my canister vac (she’s a numatic Hetty and I <3 my vac) have begun to smell like hot dusty dog hair… Bleh. In fact I see a residue lining the inside of the extension tubes. Besides vacuuming with baking soda (I know. I know!) any tips on actually cleaning the INSIDE of my vacuums attachment tubes? I know it's become bad when last time I was vacuuming the neighbor kid says "Mmm your vacuum smells a lot like Doritos". Not good. Any help? Thanks!

  18. I just spent $160 getting my 10 year old Dyson “tuned up”, which I think is well worth it since I love my Dyson. The guy told me to NOT use baking soda on my rugs because it clogs the filter in my vacuum… I am dying to try backing soda on my carpets to help with the dog smells in my home. Any advice… use the baking soda or don’t? Love your advice & videos, you make me want to clean…..and I hate cleaning!! Thank you!

    • I just tried the baking soda on my carpet and it showed that I didn’t pick up my dog or cat hair. Dyson vacuums are great but I guess the guy was right on not using the Dyson when using baking soda. I don’t want to get another vacuum just to do that process though. Hope other people have suggestions for this problem.

    • Your vacuum repair man was right. Bagless vacuums like the Dyson cannot handle fine dust like baking soda or dry wall dust (if you happen to remodel). The only vacuums good at this carpet/vacuum freshening tip are bagged vacuums which use HEPA bags and filters, like Riccar or Maytag. Even then, you’ll want to change out the bag and filter after each time you clean up fine dust or it will reduce cleaning effectiveness.


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