Proper vacuuming is the easiest and most effective way to keep your carpet clean. It may come as a surprise that something as simple as regular vacuuming can also have the largest impact on the air you breathe. Removing loose soil while it remains on the carpet surface prevents dirt from being ground into the carpet pile and can help preserve the cushiness of your carpet. Keep in mind green cleaning starts with vacuuming.
How to vacuum
On carpet, use slow, repetitive front-to-back motions in an overlapping sequence. A quick once over doesn’t do much. On the other hand, 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.
To get the most out of your vacuuming regime, remember these few easy tips:
- When vacuuming, don’t ignore those corners and crevices where dust builds.
- “Top-down” cleaning saves you the step of vacuuming again after dusting. Dust blinds, windowsills, and furniture surfaces first and then vacuum away any fallen dust.
- Remember to remove and replace or empty vacuum bags when they are half to two-thirds full.
Understanding the attachments
Attachments allow vacuums to do more than clean carpets. They can 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 attachments:
- 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 is good for vacuuming chairs, sofas, cushions, drapes, mattresses, and fabric furniture covers.
Setting the right vacuuming frequency
As a rule of thumb, you should vacuum at least once a week with a CRI Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum cleaner. However, 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 weekly in medium-traffic areas.
- Vacuum weekly in light-traffic areas, using attachments at carpet edges.
Vacuum care tips
For the best cleaning results, periodically inspect your vacuum keep it in tiptop shape and functioning properly:
- Keep the instructions that came with your vacuum and refer to them periodically.
- Keep hoses and attachments free from obstructions. Most vacuums that are discarded as nonfunctional often are only clogged somewhere in the unit. Learn where these likely places are from the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Grip the handle, not the hose.
- Keep brushes clean (for example, remove tangled hair) and replace them when worn. Typically, worn brushes are stiff, and they cause surface texture change on carpet.
- Empty containers or replace bags when half full. (Just as you would not top off a car’s gas tank until it overflows, you would not want your vacuum bag to spill over.)
- Look for rough edges or bent metal on your machine that can snag carpet.