If you've never used the attachments that come with your vacuum, then you're not getting the full value of your appliance. So, here's a quick guide to what these attachments are called, and what they actually do.
Crevice-Dusting Combination Wand
In its crevice tool form–angled tip at the end–this is used to reach tight spaces like between the cushions. Pro-tip: It can also be used to pull excess lint out of the dryer.
When you extend the bristles down, the wand becomes a dusting tool. The bristles are soft, so you can brush around knick-knacks to clean shelves, drapery, or lampshades.
The upholstery tool is like a lint brush, but with suction. Like the name suggests, it's good for grabbing dust out of sofas and padded chairs. But you know what's also padded that should get cleaned once in a while? Your mattress. While small, the upholstery tool is your best bet for getting dust and, yes, dead skin cells out of your bed.
You can't clean where you can't reach. For places beyond your grasp, the extension wand is your answer. Several brands, like Miele, have extension wands built right into the handle, and they typically add another two feet to your cleaning radius. Plus, if you ever lose something behind the couch, the extension wand is the perfect stick to whack it out.
Miniaturized Brush Head
The part of the vacuum that actually touches the floor and does the cleaning is called the brush head. It tends to be wide, so you can clean your floor as efficiently as possible. For big messes in little spaces, many vacuums come with miniaturized brush heads. If the vacuum has a long hose, a mini brush head is great for a small set of stairs, or for removing pet hair from tight spaces.
Under Appliance / Ceiling Fan Dusters
Under appliance wands and ceiling fan duster are a little rare, but brands like Dyson and Shark include them with many of their top models. These tools are curved to help you clean hard-to-reach places without straining yourself.
For much more on vacuums and vacuuming, check out our full reviews.