Vacuuming seems pretty straightforward, but there are ways you can make it more efficient and maybe even more enjoyable…

Slow down: When vacuuming a carpet or a rug, use long, slow strokes. That gives the vacuum time to loosen the dirt and then let it be sucked up.

Best time to vacuum: When it’s raining or humid outside, open the windows and vacuum. The moisture in the air helps prevent dust from flying up and landing on the carpet again.

Prep the brushes: Go over the (unplugged) vacuum’s brushes with a wet paper towel before you vacuum a carpet. It will help heighten their dirt-sucking power.

Easy way to sweet smells: Vacuum up a tablespoon of your favorite sweet-smelling herb—lavender, cinnamon, the contents of a spiced tea bag—or put the perfume strips from magazines or a scented fabric softener sheet in the vacuum cleaner bag. The heat from the vacuum brings out the fragrance of the herb or perfume. It makes vacuuming a little more pleasant.

Help with bag removal: Changing the vacuum bag can be a dusty endeavor. First, spread out and spray a few newspaper pages with water. Put the vacuum (unplugged) on the wet paper and remove the old, filled dust bag. The loose dust will adhere to the wet paper. Insert the new dust bag in the vacuum, fold up and discard the newspaper along with the old bag, and you’re good to go.

Can’t beat this: If you don’t feel like shaking and beating your throw rugs to get them clean, do this instead: Toss the throw rug in a dryer on a “no-heat” setting. Let it run for its usual cycle. The rug should come out clean and lookin’ good.