Adulting 101: How to use all of your vacuum's attachments

So many wands, so little time

So many attachments, so little time Credit: / Jonathan Chan

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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

Crevice-Dusting Wand
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

Almost all vacuums come with a crevice-dusting combination wand. The wand can be used to dust shelves and pick up crumbs on couches.

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.

Upholstery Tool

Upholstery Tool
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

The upholstery tool is what you want to use on mattresses.

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.

Extension Wand

Extension Wand
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

Some vacuums have an extension wand built right into the handle.

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

Mini brush head
Credit: / Christopher Snow

Many vacuums include a mini brush head. The example shown here specializes in pet hair removal.

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
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

Curved tools, like the under appliance wand shown at the bottom, are used to get to hard-to-reach places.

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.