One time I was working with a building service contractor specializing in resort area condominium cleaning who needed help cleaning glass. This BSC usually received high marks from condominium owners, but when there was a complaint, it was usually about streaked or cloudy sliding-glass doors. My solution was a professional window cleaning system and training — with one added step to speed up and improve the glass cleaning process.

Prior to window washing, the BSC’s janitors started vacuuming with a standard dusting brush to clean the frame and tracks. This step removes the dirt before any liquid is applied to the glass. The benefit to this vacuum step is the liquid does not mix with the dirt or dust, which would then require another cleaning step to remove the “mud.” As a result, cleanup is much easier.

This is just one example of how vacuum attachments can be utilized to enhance the cleaning process. In addition to the standard dusting brush there are a surprising number of accessories available for vacuums. Of course, your vacuum must accommodate attachments. Many uprights do not allow for the use of accessories, therefore, they are limited to floor surfaces only — something to think about prior to your next equipment purchase.

I prefer attachments that save labor time and safely clean surfaces and objects. One brush I really like is a delicate object dusting tool. It is bell shaped with delicate fibers. This attachment is perfect for cleaning small objects on desks, bookcases, trophy cases, etc. This tool is preferable over a feather duster. Another accessory has a small, rectangular opening. It does a nice job of removing dried objects on carpet and hard floors and makes stain removal easier.

If I were going to set up the ideal vacuum attachments to have available, I would choose a quality backpack or upright equipped with a crevice tool, standard dusting brush or radiator brush, appropriate wide-area floor tool, delicate object brush and four-inch rectangular tool for cleaning dried substances. If upholstery cleaning is on the task list or part of the job, a wide upholstery brush will save time and not harm fabric.

If janitors will be using attachments, don’t forget the training that goes along with them. Otherwise, be prepared for when that crevice tool is used on an executive’s bookcase and a treasured object is broken.

Skip Seal is a trainer and consultant with more than 30 years management experience in the cleaning industry. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.). Seal and his team offer support across the country with sales and operation analysis, new market penetration, and sales training. He can be reached at