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How to Vacuum Stairs The Right Way? – A Step by Step Guide

by  Lawrence -  Last updated on February 8, 2021
vacuum for stairs

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You have carpeted stairs in your house, which means that they need to be vacuumed just like the other carpeting in your home.

Vacuuming stairs isn’t an easy task though. Not only do you have to actually get your stairs clean by getting into all of the nooks, crannies, and edges, but you also need to hold onto that vacuum to make sure that it doesn’t fall.

You can’t just ignore this high-traffic area, but you can find ways to make cleaning the stairs that much easier—which is what we’ll help you figure out here with these tips.

How to Vacuum Stairs

The Right Tools

First off, make sure that you have the right tools to clean your stairs. This means gathering up the right attachments such as the crevice tool—the long one with the skinny end—and the brush attachment. You can also use the mini motorized brush attachment, which can help you get into those edges more efficiently.

Pack Up

Before you even use those tools though, climb your stairs and see if you can pick up any larger debris on your own. Make sure that there’s nothing in your way either that you’ll have to move while you’re going up the stairs. At this point, you also might want to dust banisters and other areas to make sure that your vacuum doesn’t spread the dust.

From the Top

Most of us would think to start from the bottom of the stairs. It just seems natural to begin from the bottom, but you should start from the top of the stairs. This is because it’s much easier to pull your vacuum down a stair than it is to shove it up a stair. Ultimately, when you begin from the top, you can have gravity work for you.

By doing this, you can go two stairs at a time: clean two stairs, move your vacuum down two stairs, and clean the next two. Just make sure that your vacuum is stable on the step before you begin moving down again.

Edges and Corners

As you’re beginning with the top stair, start each stair by cleaning out the edges and corners. Use the crevice tool to get into the edges, which will clean up everything or at least push everything into the middle of the stairs where you will be able to get it later.

Pets and Extra Dirt

You don’t necessarily need to use the bristle brush attachment, but especially if you have a pet or if your family works some dirty jobs, you might want to have it in your repertoire. It can help release the fibers in your carpeting so that you can find dirt and hair that much easier.

The Treads

Now, it’s time to clean the middle of your stairs—the treads. Lots of people have different advice on how to clean this part of the stairs most efficiently. Do you go side to side or have several short vertical strokes?

For the most part, that’s up to you. Whatever feels more comfortable to you will be your best option. It’s all about your preference and durability.

You can try to change to a wider attachment though, which will help you get more surface area at once for a quicker pass over each stair. You’ll want to run your attachment slowly over each step too if you want to make sure that you’re getting all of the dirt and dust.

The Risers

You might not even think about this, but you may want to try cleaning the risers—the space in between each stair. You can do this the same way that you would clean the rest of your stairs as long as you just angle your tools a little bit differently. Just work down the entire staircase and get the risers as you go.

Cleaning Tips

You might find that cleaning your stairs more often means that you end up having to put less effort in each time. It’s better to do more frequent light cleaning than waiting for too much dirt and debris to accumulate.

Of course, having a good, lightweight vacuum is a huge help too. You can even think about going cordless so that there’s no danger of you tripping on your cord while you’re cleaning.

Tips for Choosing a Vacuum for Stairs

You might want to think about the right type of vacuum for your stairs too. All vacuums can be used on stairs, but some vacuums will make the task more difficult than others.

Choose something light

Your best bet for cleaning up your stairs is picking out a lightweight vacuum. This can be a stick vacuum or a handheld vacuum, which will make it much easier to conveniently carry your vacuum up and down the stairs. You won’t strain to hold onto your vacuum either.

It’s no problem to have an upright vacuum either though. This just means that you need to be careful with your vacuum and keep an eye on it while you’re pulling it down the stairs.


Either way, even if you choose an upright vacuum, you’ll want to try to pick out an option that isn’t too big. Your vacuum needs to be able to sit on your stairs, after all, and you’ll need to drag it down with you. You don’t want to have a vacuum that will make it difficult for you to maneuver with.


Think about getting a cordless vacuum for your stairs. Without a cord, you won’t need to think about finding a new outlet as you get further down the stairs, nor will you need to worry about accidentally tripping over the cord while you’re moving.


Vacuuming the stairs is surprisingly tough. You have to pull it along with you while you move and need to really think about getting those corners and edges.

These tips should make it much easier though to keep even the stairs in your home, which get tons of traffic, looking nice and clean. If cleaning carpets is your primary concern, we recommend you check out our list of best vacuums for carpet, here.

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