The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

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What in the World Is This? Knowing Your Vacuum Cleaner Attachments Will Save You Time Cleaning

By Vicki McClure Davidson


With every vacuum cleaner comes a family of oddly shaped tools. Which one to use and when to use it? If no one has ever told you what each attachment is meant to do, it can be a real head-scratcher. And before you know it, these mysterious, but task-specific attachments languish in your hall closet or basement, forgotten and unused.

Knowing which vacuum tool is which and how it should be used is not difficult, trust us. If you put into action what we've outlined on this page, vacuuming will become ever so much more effective and time-saving. Since you already own these vacuum tools, it would be a shame to waste them and not use them, especially since they are meant to make life easier for the person who is vacuuming.

There is a belief among some people that using a vacuum on carpet can hurt it. Does frequent vacuuming damage carpet?

No. That's a myth, as explained on the Real Simple website:

"It is absolutely, positively untrue," says Jeff Campbell, author of Speed Cleaning ($13, The dirt that settles in the fibers is the real danger, as it can weaken them over time.

Vacuuming daily with a rotary brush, however, could cause fibers to fray unless you raise the brush to a high setting, says Jeffrey Gross of the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration. Rotary brushes should also never be used on Oriental or antique rugs, says Gross, because they can cause excessive wear and leave permanent marks.

Below are photos of the four most common vacuum cleaner attachment tools. They may not match up precisely with your vacuum cleaner attachment tools, but they should be somewhat similar to what you have and will help you identify what is the purpose of each accessory.



Upholstery Brush Tool: The upholstery brush tool is used on beds, couches, and other fabric-covered furniture to remove dust, pet fur, loose threads, and other minor debris.

Dusting Brush: The dusting brush is meant to clean windowsills, shelves, and chair legs; it's also very effective on curtains and Venetian blinds.

Angled Crevice Tool: The angled crevice tool is able to reach into tight areas and corners to vacuum debris.


Floor Attachment Brush: The floor attachment brush is best for bare floors, delicate or valuable rugs, and materials such as sisal, a hemp-like fiber from agave plants used in rugs. This vacuum attachment has a small brush around its edge to prevent scratches.


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