Here’s What All Your Vacuum Attachments Are Actually For

Here’s What All Your Vacuum Attachments Are Actually For

Your vacuum is an all-purpose cleaning tool—thanks to the many attachments included, you can use it to get dirt, dust, and debris off of everything from your floors to your mattress to your ceiling fan blades. But you do need to pick the right tool for the job (and know how to adjust your vacuum settings for different surfaces).

Extension wand

The extension wand is a plastic or metal tube that fixes between both your vacuum and chosen attachment tool. It adds length (typically 18 inches) for vacuuming out-of-reach places, such as fan blades, light fixtures, ceiling corners, door mantels, and the cracks and crevices behind furniture.


Some upright vacuums also come with a plastic hose attachment—standard with a canister vacuum—that serves a similar function to an extension wand. It allows you to get into places your upright otherwise wouldn’t fit, such as under a bed or other furniture.

Airflow brush

The airflow brush is just a miniature version of your vacuum’s main head—ideal for reaching smaller spaces as well as for cleaning upholstery (especially if your vacuum doesn’t come with an upholstery brush attachment).

Upholstery tool

The upholstery brush looks similar to the airflow brush but with tougher bristles. It sucks up lint, dirt, and hair from upholstery fibers and can also be effective for vacuuming your mattresses and carpets.

Crevice cleaner

This is a thin, angled attachment tip that sucks up debris from tight or narrow spaces: around baseboard edges, under appliances, in window tracks, or between couch cushions. You could also use it to vacuum dusty shelves, car seat corners, and doorjambs.

Dust brush

The round dust brush has soft bristles for gently cleaning sensitive spots, such as lampshades, window treatments, decorative items, table and chair legs, and furniture that’s easily scratched. You can also use this tool along baseboards, window screens, and refrigerator coils.

Floor brush

Some canister vacuum cleaners come with an additional attachment specifically for use on wood floors. This lighter-weight brush looks like the primary power head attachment. Otherwise, you’ll want to use caution when vacuuming hardwood, as your attachment may leave scratches. If your machine has a rotating beater bar, consider sweeping instead.

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