How to Vacuum Stairs with an Upright Vacuum
It sounds like a simple exercise, but vacuuming your stairs is a challenge for people of all ages. Cannister and portable units are still on the market, but there are many good reasons that upright vacuums dominate the market. With a cannister Vac, you can reach the first 5-7 steps without moving the engine to the level ground. Portable units are light and much easier to use, but everyone who has used one knows that you need more power. People walk harder on stairs, and they are tough to clean because of the geometry and the fact that trudging up stairs means that everyone ends up grinding dirt into the carpet and sticking it on the treads.
What most people don’t realize until they pull or muscle or get a bit older is that “How to Vacuum Stairs with an Upright Vacuum” is a legitimate challenge for anyone looking to maintain their home and their safety. The most challenging flooring is obviously carpet, and the thicker the material, the greater the challenge. If your stirs are tile, wood, or linoleum, stick to “wet works best”.
You are more likely looking for tips on vacuums for stairs because you have carpet. Here are the basics.
Start from the Top – It sounds like simple advice, but most people start at the bottom and work their way up. It’s human nature. You get in a flow, finish the main floor, and head up the stairs. Upright vacuums work best because they put the weight over the suction, but when it comes to stairs, you need to be a bit more creative.
Carry the machine to the top, plug it in, and take a look down the stairs. Pick up all the obvious large chunks and pieces, plug in after, and work from the top down. Make gravity work for you.
Pick your Tools – No matter what Vacuum style or brand you are using, they are not awesome at corners. Stairs are all about corners. Step two is to look at the tools available and pick the ones that can handle all but the main 50% of the stair people step on. Normally, the skinny “crack tool to pull crackers from between the sofa seats is the best start. Place the vacuum at the top of the stairs and do a few stairs at a time. Hit the corners hard.
If you have pets or your family has really dirty jobs, you may also need to use the bristle brush tool. It releases fibers and dirt from the carpet and can help you make the hard part easier. The hard part, if you hadn’t predicted by now, is actually bringing the upright down. Do two stairs at a time, move it down, and make sure that the vacuum is stable before doing the next two steps.
Now Call in the Big Machine – Vacuums, wine bottle openers, and baby diapers all have the same issue; parents need them, and they never work that well. The upright vacuum does work well, but stairs are a whole other ballpark. Do two stairs at a time.
Once you have taken the large pieces, hit the corners, and pulled the pet hair as necessary, it’s time to pull in the big guns. Depending on the weight and size, it’s usually best to use the Upright to complete the detail work you started with the on-board tools. Everyone has different advice on this. Side to side vs. several short vertical strokes is a matter of preference, durability, and your desired results. Suffice to say that getting the weight of the upright over each stair will pull a great deal of debris up.
It’s a bit odd that vacuuming should take so much thought. Who would have thought that vacuuming stairs with an upright vacuum would be so specific? In truth, it doesn’t have to be. It is all based on your relative level of anal retentiveness and the amount of dirt and debris that the people that use your stairs drag in.
The simple things take your time. That may seem simple, but we all get in a zone, whether mowing the lawn or vacuuming the house. Everyone has specific advice based on their own particular preferences. Be safe, and remember, you will just need to vacuum again very soon.