One of the biggest mistakes we make in caring for our carpet is to wait until the carpet is visibly dirty to vacuum it. Many of us don’t realize how dirty our floors are because we can’t visibly see the dirt, but the majority of dirt particles are actually microscopic and we tend not to see them until there is an overwhelmingly large amount of gunk in the carpet.
Dirt is the number one enemy to your carpet. Many of us might think it is stains and spills, but dirt from everyday walking and use plays a much bigger role in wearing down the individual fibers of your flooring. Dirt acts like a fine grit sandpaper that grates and wears away at the individual strands of yarn. Not vacuuming your floors on a regular basis, with proper technique will cause your flooring to need replacement years sooner than if it had the proper routine upkeep.
How do you properly vacuum? There is a right and several wrong ways to vacuum. Another little known fact many carpet owners do not realize, is that not only do your carpets need to be vacuumed more often, but they need to be vacuumed with correct technique.
So let’s go over how to properly vacuum and how often you should be doing it.
How to Vacuum Correctly
For your vacuum to do the job you want it to do, it should be in good shape. This means the filter, hose, head, attachments, and bag or collection canister need to be clean. Ideally your vacuum should be pulled apart and cleaned twice a year according to the manual that came with it. The filter should be cleaned or replaced once or twice a month and the canister should be emptied every time you use it. If you have a vacuum that uses a bag it should be replaced with a new one when the bag is about half full. This will ensure your vacuum is working at maximum suction.
Now that the vacuum is clean and ready to work, you want to vacuum slowly enough to give the machine time to suck up as much gunk out of the floor as it can. Don’t rush through pushing the machine across the floor. Use a slow and organized method to pushing the machine over the carpet. The vacuum sucks up most of its debris when you are pulling it back towards you so you can go more quickly when pushing it away, but slow down on the pull back. To make sure you do not miss any spots vacuum in one direction in overlapping rows just like you would if you were mowing the lawn. If you started out with horizontal rows, you can finish up by going over the floor again in vertical rows or remember which direction you vacuumed this time and do the opposite direction next time.
How Often to Vacuum
- High Traffic Areas
These are areas that see a lot of daily foot traffic, such as the stairs, hallways, and main living room. These areas need the most frequent vacuuming. These areas ideally should be vacuumed on a daily basis, especially if you wear shoes throughout your home. If your daily schedule does not allow for this at least twice a week will do.
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- Moderate Use Areas
All areas of the home that are used often, but aren’t necessarily used by every person in the home every day should be vacuumed at least once a week. This includes areas like bedrooms, the game room, and the outer corners of the living room.
- Rarely Used Areas
If you have rooms in your home that people don’t typically go into like a guest room or a closet or storage space with carpet these areas should be vacuumed once every few weeks to keep them from becoming musty.
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Tip: The best way to keep a majority of the dirt off of your floors is to have a no shoes policy in your home. Most of the dirt that ends up on your floors is carried in on the soles of your shoes from outside. To keep a large amount of dirt off of your floors have everyone remove their shoes at the door. It is also a good idea to wear socks or slippers to limit the oils in the skin on your feet from getting into the carpet.
Staying current with professional deep cleaning will also help to prolong the life of your carpet. Once a year a professional cleaner with high-powered truck-mounted equipment should come in to get all of the stuff that settles deep into the fibers where the vacuum can’t reach.