Vacuum Your Way to Cleaner Carpets
It may come as a surprise that something as simple as regular vacuuming can have the largest impact on the cleanliness of your home and the air that you breathe.
Removing loose soil whilst it remains on the carpet surface prevents dirt from being trampled down into the carpet pile. Pile is the visible wear surface of the carpet, consisting of yarn tufts in loop and/or cut configuration. Pile crush occurs when those tufts become matted by foot traffic. You can help prevent pile crush with proper vacuuming.
Proper vacuuming is the easiest and most effective way to keep your carpets clean.
How to Vacuum
On carpet, use slow, repetitive front –to-back motions in an overlapping sequence. A quick once over doesn’t do much. But don’t press down or make too many passes over the same spot. Instead, move slightly to the left or right about every four strokes. This method removes soil well and also provides an attractive end product – a fresh, no-footprints pattern, if you will.
Here are some procedures that can make vacuuming easier:
- When vacuuming, don’t ignore those corners and crevices where dust builds up – you know, those grey areas around the perimeter of rooms.
- “Top down” cleaning saves you the step of vacuuming again after dusting. Dust blinds, windowsills, and furniture surfaces first. Collect as much dust as [possible in treated dust cloths and then vacuum away any fallen dust.
- Don’t forget to check your vacuum bags. When bags (or containers) are half full to two-thirds full, remove and replace or empty them.
- In cupboards, store shoes off the floor in specially designed shoe organisers to make vacuuming easier.
- Keep two vacuum cleaners in a two-storey house, one upstairs and one down. To clean stairs themselves, work top down. A hand-held vacuum may be do the job more easily than other models.
Understanding the attachments
Attachments allow vacuuming to do more than clean carpets. They tackle many other projects, such as cleaning bookshelves and other items that tend to collect dust. Your particular vacuum may feature some of the following or only a few:
- The all-purpose or universal brush works well on books and shelves.
- The crevice tool (long and thin) reaches into narrow slots and corners.
- The dusting brush details items that need a softer touch.
- The radiator brush cleans radiators and narrow spaces.
- The upholstery nozzle, as its name implies, is good for vacuuming chairs, sofas, drapes, mattresses and fabric furniture covers.
How Often Should You be Vacuuming?
Generally speaking, you should vacuum at least once a week with a vacuum cleaner that has a high airflow, high-efficiency filtration, proper attachments, and height adjustment. However, try to vacuum high, moderate and light traffic areas on different schedules. The more foot traffic over your carpet, the more you need to vacuum. The general formula is:
- Vacuum daily in high traffic or pet areas.
- Vacuum twice a week in medium traffic areas.
- Vacuum weekly in light traffic areas, using attachments at carpet edges.
What about stairs? The frequency of vacuuming depends on how often you use them. An active family with second floor bedrooms needs to be vacuuming the stairs more often than empty-nesters with a downstairs master suite, who rarely venture upstairs.
Setting Vacuum Height
What type of carpet do you have in your home? Plush, Berber, velvet, or shag pile. Each pile type may require its own height setting or vacuum model. Set your vacuum for the type of carpet pile that you are cleaning, whether low and smooth or deep, shag pile carpet. Generally speaking the higher the pile, the higher you need to set the base of the vacuuming head. Do refer to your manufactures instruction book for guidance.
Vacuum Care Tips
For the best cleaning results, no matter what type of vacuum cleaner you have, inspect it periodically to be sure it is functioning properly. Additionally, follow these steps to keep it in tiptop shape:
- Keep hoses and attachments free from obstructions.
- Don’t lose the attachments.
- Grip the handle, not the hose. I know you want to drag the vacuum cleaner by the hose, but for sake of its health and longevity, don’t do that.
- Keep brushes clean (for example, remove tangled hair) and replace them when worn. Typically, worn brushes are stiff, and they cause texture change on carpets.
- Empty containers or replace bags when half full to maintain airflow and cleaning capability, you don’t want your vacuum bags to spill over.
- Look for rough edges or bent metal on your machine that can snag carpets.