Have hardwood floors? Try this with one of your flashlights

Guitar Guy

Oct 23, 2016
West Virginia
If you have hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring, you should try this quick & easy trick to see how clean, or dirty, your floors are. Some of you may have ran onto this already.

Grab one of your cylindrical shaped lights, as in one that doesn't have a head that's larger than the body, so that it will lay flat on the floor. Turn it onto a fairly bright setting, and lay it all the way down on the floor, shine it around to the left & right, and watch every speck of dust, every food crumb, and every piece of grass & dirt become highly visible.

Having the light shine parallel to the floor really lights up the small particles way better than shining from above. If you haven't already stumbled onto this, you may be very surprised. It will definitely show you very quickly the places you have missed while cleaning the floors. It also works well on your concrete garage floor when you drop a small item like a nut or screw - you know, like when it lands right by your foot and then bounces off into oblivion?

I ran onto this a couple of years ago when I was battling dust, decided to get rid of all of the old carpet & padding in my house, restored the original hardwood floors that were underneath, and installed vinyl in the kitchen & bathroom. I was trying out different dust mops that friends were recommending, and different vacuum attachments to see what was going to clean the best, quickest, and easiest.

So what I decided worked best for me was a 12 inch wide hardwood floor attachment for my shop vacs. It has a row of horse hair in the back, and a small rubber wheel on each end to keep the plastic attachment from scratching the floor. It works great. I also found a reducer fitting so that I can use it on my vacs with either the larger diameter hose or the smaller one.

Now I always have a light laying on the floor when I've vacuuming. Of course, you do have to keep re-positioning it as you go, but it's very easy to watch the dirt disappear, and to see areas where you missed.

The few things that surprised me the most were:

1. How much most mops just push the dust around without picking it up very well.

2. How many small bits of grass get tracked in that you don't really notice on a wood floor, even though you may wipe your shoes on the rug by the door.

3. How quickly the dust accumulates again after being cleaned. Maybe I'm just in a dusty area, but it seems like a never-ending battle.

Getting rid of the carpet did help a lot. I also got my ductwork professionally cleaned, and it was a waste of $$.

Let me know your results if you try this.
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The Hawk

Apr 20, 2009
I have noticed how dirty the area under our fridge is when looking for something our cat knocked under there.
You are correct about ductwork cleaning not helping anything. We had ours cleaned after moving into a house that had never had ductwork cleaned in over 50 years. I observed the small amount of dirt, etc. that was removed. Your mileage may vary, but I won't be getting ductwork cleaned again.


Flashlight Enthusiast
Apr 19, 2005
Been doing that for decades, that is actually the purpose of the headlight on upright and canister vacuums, but it does not work as good as a flashlight on the floor.

Kitchen Panda

Aug 28, 2011
The main reason I keep a light handy on the workbench is to shine parallel to the floor when some tiny piece flies away. I've taken to vacuuming the shop floor thoroughly before assembling any kits now, because SMD parts and dirt are almost indistinguishable to these eyes any more.

Another great combination for electronics bench work is a headlamp and a head-mounted magnifying visor, like Optivisor or similar. You'll look like one of the Borg, but you'll be able to see!

I always wear a headlamp when vacuuming around the house - helps me to spot those specks of glitter that fall off decorations, greeting cards, etc. and stick to the floor, only occasionally giving away their position by a glint. High lumens (300+) most useful for normal daylight room lighting.

Glaucoma and macular degeneration sucks. At least I can still drive.