You Should Vacuum With a Paper Towel Tube — Here’s Why

updated May 22, 2023
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I love my vacuums. Yes, we have two: A Dyson small ball (the big ones are way too heavy for me to vacuum with comfortably, and was definitely too heavy for me to carry up and down the stairs when we lived in a two-story house) and a cordless that was a (requested) Mother’s Day present that has for real changed my everyday life.

They each came with a smart selection of attachments that I use on occasion to vacuum upholstery, clean up the car, or get into that fur-and-dust magnet where the carpet and the baseboards meet. But I recently came across a genius tip that will make cleaning with the vacuum cleaner even more versatile. And it involves using a tool that you probably toss in the recycling: A paper towel roll.

It just so happens that using a cardboard roll as an attachment makes mincemeat out of some of the most tedious and neglected cleaning tasks.

How to Make a Paper Towel Attachment for Your Vacuum

Take an empty paper towel roll and squeeze it onto the end of the hose of your vacuum cleaner. Then, use this “hack-tachment” to fit into tight spaces that even the narrow nozzle attachment can’t handle. It directs the force of the suction into the nooks, crannies, and small areas that are otherwise really tricky to get to. Use your hands to hold the paper towel roll in place. However, if you have trouble securing the paper towel onto your hose, try taping it or using a rubber band to keep it on.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

What to Use It On

Your paper towel roll tube can be squeezed and reshaped to fit any number of spaces you always wished you could just vacuum. Here are a few:

  • Window tracks
  • Sliding door tracks
  • Crevices in the car, like those down between the seat and armrests
  • Chair rail molding
  • Tight areas on, in, and around desks

So save your next paper towel roll. (Or in my case, pull it from the stash of rolls I hoard for kids’ art projects and rarely use.)

Looking for other DIY vacuum hacks? Try this squeeze bottle top trick.