Using Upright Vacuums: Proper Pushing – Pulling Posture

Proper Pushing-Pulling Posture (try to say that ten times fast!)

Every now and then we have a customer return their recently purchased upright vacuum cleaner. Because we truly believe in every product we sell, it’s always a little surprising to hear they weren’t satisfied. However, the most common reason we hear is the fact that the unit is too heavy and difficult to push.

An upright vacuum can be difficult to maneuver for several reasons:

  1. Thick Carpeting – Today’s carpet manufacturers have created some really luxurious carpeting. Soft to the touch, extra dense and cushiony; the new style of carpeting has a lot to offer. The downside? It is nearly impossible to vacuum. If you’ve recently replaced your carpeting or selected a “Soft Carpet” installation, read THIS POST or THIS POST for help on selecting the correct unit to clean it. It likely will not be an upright vacuum cleaner.
  2. Multi-Level Homes – We often chat with folks wishing to return their upright vacuum only to discover they’ve been lugging it up and down a set of stairs (or two!) If you live in a multi-level home, it may be time to consider a canister vacuum. Canister vacuums are almost always lighter and easier to maneuver. But your best option is to install a central vacuum system and eliminate the need to carry a vacuum at all. For more info on installing a central vacuum system, VISIT HERE.
  3. The Wrong Vacuum Cleaner – Sometimes, the culprit is none other than the vacuum cleaner itself. Older vacuum cleaners tend to be heavier and some are designed for commercial use and, thus, too industrial for your home. If you call Central Vacuum Stores and speak with a specialist to help choose the best upright vacuum, you won’t have this issue. We’re careful to quiz and question you about your needs and abilities before guiding you to a unit. Trying to navigate the world of vacuum cleaners can be overwhelming. Don’t make this mistake! Go ahead and ask for a little help by calling 1-800-221-8227.
  4. Poor Vacuuming Posture – This one’s the clincher. For many homeowners, it isn’t the vacuum or the carpeting, it’s you! Like any physical activity, there’s a right way and a wrong way to perform it and mistakes can cause not only discomfort, but injury.

miele_s7_2Correct vacuuming posture is vitally important, especially for those with existing back or neck injuries as well as the elderly.

Follow the below steps to ensure you’re properly caring for your body as you go about your task.

Before vacuuming…

Position the vacuum handle comfortably and at the correct height.
Position the vacuum handle comfortably and at the correct height.
  • Be sure the vacuum handle is raised to a comfortable height
    • Consider purchasing an upright vacuum cleaner that also features the controls at the handle, limiting the need to bend over repeatedly to turn the unit on and off (like this one) 
  • Fully release the power cord to its maximum length in order to limit bending over to plug and unplug the unit
    • Consider purchasing a vacuum with an extra long power cord to allow you to vacuum more space with less interruptions (like this one)
  • Set the vacuum power-head to the correct level for your flooring
    • Consider purchasing a vacuum that automatically adjusts the powerhead height based on the current flooring (like this one)

Once you begin vacuuming…

  • Do not bend forward at the waist. Instead, keep your core engaged, remaining erect and straight-backed.
  • Extend the vacuum, stepping forward with one foot and slightly bending your knees.
  • Be sure to keep the forward knee from bending too far from your body, placing strain on the knee.
  • As you continue to move the vacuum across your flooring, shift your weight from the front leg to back leg in a gentle, rocking motion.
  • Keep your shoulder blades engaged to keep from accidentally straining your neck.
  • Always keep your knees and chest facing the vacuum cleaner. Do not twist and turn with your feet planted as this can injure your knees, lower back, and neck.
Image from the National Osteoporosis Foundation on proper Pushing/Pulling motion
Image from the National Osteoporosis Foundation on proper Pushing/Pulling motion

Chat with our vacuum gurus! We’re here to help!

If it’s time to purchase a new upright vacuum cleaner, I HIGHLY recommend calling in to speak with our team to ensure you choose the best model for your home. Our customer service representatives are some of the most highly trained and knowledgeable vacuum experts in the industry. Shop our models below and call 1-800-221-8227 to ask us questions!


S7 Twist S7210

S7 Jazz S7280

S7280 FreshAir

S7260 Cat & Dog

S7 AutoEco S7580

S7 Swing S7580


S312 Upright Vacuum

S314 Upright Vacuum

S318 Upright Vacuum


Upright with Endurolife Belt U2000RB-1

Upright with Endurolife Belt and Two Speed Switch U2000RB2L

Lightweight Upright U2000R-1

Lightweight Upright U2000H2-1 With Advance Filtration

Lightweight Upright XL2100RHS

SC785AT Lightweight Upright Vacuum Cleaner

SC9050B DuraLite Upright Vacuum Cleaner

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