With holiday guests about to converge and a New Year’s resolution to take better care of my home, Martha Stewart and I offer some sound tips on how you can clean almost every inch of your house with one household appliance….your vacuum!

How to: For most carpets, wall-to-wall and other durable cut-pile carpeting, use the rotating brush known as a beater bar. For more delicate materials such as loop-pile construction, silk rugs or Orientals, sisal and other natureal fiber carpets, use the floor setting on a upright or a rug/floor attachment on a canister. Area Rugs should be taken outside and shaken, then beaten with a broom to remove most of the dust particles. Afterwards, vacuum both sides with a beater bar.
How often: For high traffic areas, vacuum at least twice a week. Other areas should be vacuumed once a week.

How to: Upright and canister vacuums can be difficult to maneuver, so we recommend a stick vacuum or a handheld vacuum with a motorized beater bar attachment.
How often: High traffic areas twice a week, all other areas once a week.

Windowsills and Bookshelves
How to: Use the dust brush tool.
How often: Weekly

Baseboards, Curtains and Blinds
How to: For baseboards, us the dust brush tool. For curtains, use the upholstery tool. For blinds, close them so they are flat and use the dust brush tool. Then close them the opposite way and repeat.
How often: Monthly

Hardwood Floors
How to: Use a floor brush or the floor setting on an upright.
How often: Hardwood floors can be swept instead of vacuumed several times a week, but should be vacuumed once a week.

Walls and Ceilings
How to: Start on the ceiling and work your way down using the dust brush tool. Vacuuming walls regularly with the dust brush tool is especially important for flocked and fabric wallpaper, which collects dust easily and are more difficult to clean than a painted wall.
How often: Painted ceilings and walls should be vacuumed once or twice a year. Flocked or fabric wallpaper should be vacuumed monthly.

Upholstered Furniture and Beds
How to: Use the upholstery tool on fabric furniture and mattresses, reducing suction when working on delicate fabrics. Use the dust brush tool on leather furniture.
How often: Weekly

Vents in Floors, Walls and Ceilings
How to: Use the dust brush tool.
How often: If you are running your air conditioning or heating on a daily basis, clean them vents weekly. When not in daily use, clean monthly.