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How to vacuum stairs

How to vacuum stairs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stairs are the busiest areas of any home, withstanding daily trudges where mud, dirt,  and spillages can easily occur. They can quickly make the rest of an interior look unsightly, so learning how to vacuum stairs properly (using the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab)) will make this chore much easier. 

While it's important to pay extra attention to vacuuming this area, it can also be a difficult task due to the steep height and small width of the steps. This makes it hard to balance a large appliance and yourself - something that is necessary when spending time on a rigorous task. With this in mind, we've put together step-by-step advice on how to vacuum stairs, so that you can do so safely and efficiently. 

How often to vacuum stairs 

While the general advice on how often you should vacuum (opens in new tab) is once a week, stairs are a high-traffic area that see considerable footfall throughout the day. 

Being mindful of removing shoes at the front door and not wearing them throughout the home will help your stairs look clean for longer and reduce how often you need to vacuum. However, dust balls will still accumulate quickly. Whether it's lint from socks, pet hair, or mud, vacuuming frequently will keep your stairwells looking tidy and will improve the condition of your floors in the long term. 

This is why it's recommended to vacuum stairs around twice a week. While this may seem like an arduous task, once you have nailed the technique it's actually quite quick to complete and will easily transform the appearance of your house. You can leave larger rooms for the weekly chore routine, but spending a little of your time on stairs will be the key to a sanitary space. 

How to vacuum carpeted stairs

What the expert says...

Pablo Montero, CEO of Lupe Technology (opens in new tab), says, "Use the hose with the attachment provided by your manufacturer. Don't forget to clean the vertical bits of carpet on the stairs as well as the horizontal bits you step on!"

Step 1:
Pick the right vacuum. Upright canister models will be the best for vacuuming stairs, as they come with many different attachments that make it easier to navigate tricky corners and small spaces. A cordless vacuum, while not necessary for vacuuming stairs, will also reduce the risk of tripping or using extension cables. 

As Pablo recommended, the hose attachment will be great for added suction over stubborn bits of hair or dirt and may require multiple passes over the same area. Before you start, you should also make sure to know how to clean a vacuum filter (opens in new tab) so that your machine performs to the best of its ability, without requiring as much effort. 

Step 2:
Tidy up the stairwells. In many households stairs can become the dumping point for things that need taking upstairs, such as clean washing or coats. As tempting as it is to vacuum around these stacks, moving them to their designated spot will ensure you can vacuum thoroughly. 

Step 3:
Begin vacuuming from the bottom step. By starting at floor level, you will gain a better balance that you can carry through as you move upwards. It's also easier to transport a heavy vacuum up rather than down, with less chance of falling. 

Step 4:
Start in the corners. Using the vacuum hose attachment, focus on the harder-to-reach spots such as the corners and edges. After this is complete, you can use the base of the vacuum to give the larger portion of the stair a thorough clean. 

Step 5:
As you reach the top and move back down, focus on any missed spots. Extra dust will inevitably accumulate as you move upwards, so once your way back down the stairs, pay extra attention to any areas that could use another vacuum. It's also important to go back and forth over the same spot, to thoroughly lift embedded dirt. 

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Holly is the Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focuses on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from