How to Vacuum Carpeted Stairs

Vacuuming regular, non-carpeted stairs is hard work. Add carpeting on top of the stairs and your task becomes double the trouble. But does it have to be this way? No. There are few simple rules that if you follow, will make things much easier.

How To Vacuum Carpeted Stairs?

Here’s a 3 step method that will guide you all the way through from choosing the best tools to giving your carpeted stairs a beautiful clean –

1. Choose a Suitable Vacuum

Choosing a suitable vacuum is like getting half the job done. There are 5 major types of vacuum available that each solves a specific purpose on their own. Not all are the same and some might not be suitable for you. The vacuum types are –

i. Canister

Canister vacuums are one of the most popular options for cleaning floors. But they’re not so popular as a stair vacuum. Why? Because they cannot be carried over on the stairs as they’re very heavy and will need a power cable to run. But with a few changes, you can get your canister filter to do the job. All you need is an extension hose and attachable brushes. If that can be managed then you don’t need to go for other vacuum types. Plus, other vacuums won’t be as powerful as this one.

ii. Stick

Stick vacuums are almost similar to handheld ones. Except handheld vacuums are made much compact while these are shaped like a stick. They can come both as cord powered and battery-powered like handheld varieties. Stick vacuums have some similarities to upright vacuums. While the former one’s heavy, the latter is very light and can create a suction of nearly the same strength as the former.

iii. Handheld

These vacuums are very small and are usually around a few inches to feet in length. You can get them in both wired and wireless varieties depending on your choice and needs. But don’t be fooled by the battery-powered ones, they’re very powerful these days. Cleaning complicated areas of a stair such as corners and risers can be somewhat difficult with typical cleaning brushes or pipes but since handheld vacuums can be turned and twisted as you need to, they can be quite a helpful cleaning machine.

iv. Upright

Upright vacuums have all the mechanisms set up linearly. Everything from the air input to dust storage, all is set upon one after one on top of each other, thus the name upright suits them perfectly. One benefit of using an upright vacuum while cleaning stairs is there’s only one part. There’s no moving part that you have to plug in or set multiple machines on the stair, which can be quite cumbersome in that case. If carrying weight is not an issue for you and you can comfortably hold the machine for the whole cleaning time in your hand then getting an upright vacuum can be a great idea. There are lighter variations available for this vacuum as well. Even if you still don’t like the idea of carrying a vacuum machine throughout the whole staircase, there are extension pipes available with which you can clean the stair without carrying the heavy vacuum machine in your hand.

v. Central Vacuum

Central vacuums are the best of all these vacuum types. You set the machine in your house and clean everything with the extension pipe connected with it. If you don’t have budget limitations then this can be a great addition to your house. As you’ve decided upon your preferred vacuum and gathered the necessary hose and brushes, go to the next step.

2. Cleaning the Edges

Start from the edges. They accumulate the most bacteria and dirt. Start from the top of the staircase and go from top to bottom. The reason why you should clean the edges first is that if you leave it for later, the treads will get dirty and you’d have to repeat the whole cleaning process. This would make things complicated. Carpets can hold much dirt and oil inside of them and can still look beautiful and clean. The thick layers can hold a good amount of dirt and simply vacuuming won’t be enough in this case. Motorized brushes will help in this case. Brushes can vibrate the thick fabric and get the dirt particles coming out and which the vacuum will easily take inside.

3. Cleaning the Treads and Risers

Once you’re done with the corners, cleaning the treads and riser will be a much easier task. Risers are the vertical part in between two stairs and treads are the part we stand upon or the horizontal part of a stair. Cleaning the treads is similar to how you would clean carpet flooring. There’s no difference there. However, the risers are somewhat difficult to clean. Since the part is vertical, you would have to hold the vacuum accordingly. It can be hard work if your vacuum is on the heavier side. Follow the same top-down method while cleaning the treads and risers. It will ensure dirt from the top stairs fall to the downstair. This is a good idea because you won’t have to re-clean the stairs since the bottom stairs will be cleaned at last.


Try to clean your stairs regularly or several times a week, depending on how much the stairs are being used. Vacuuming will not be enough sometimes. As dirt continues to settle on the carpet for months of use, you should give it a full wash. If food chunks or large amounts of dirt fall onto the stairs, try to remove it manually. Letting this type of dirt sit on the carpets for a long time will create permanent marks and won’t usually go away after cleaning.

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