Almost nobody asks the question: “How do I vacuum my carpets?” When fumbling with attachments, bags and filters, we are mostly thinking that the floors should clean themselves.
Well, we did ask the question and found that many of us aren’t very smart about how we vacuum. Our bad habits leave behind too much dirt and debris, the filters let a lot of fine particles escape back into the air, and we aren’t properly cleaning out the vacuum attachments when we finish.
After asking around and doing some testing, we came up with several ways to vacuum smarter to help keep your floor clean. Follow this list at least once a week, or twice if you have pets.
1. Clean Furniture, Decorations and Fixtures
When you wipe down surfaces, anything you don’t trap in a rag or towel will likely end up on the floor. So before you start vacuuming, make sure to dust or wipe down furniture, decorations, or any fixtures before going over the floor with a vacuum.
2. Prep The Vacuuming Area
Move everything off the floor that you can. You don’t want to suck up something that’ll damage the vacuum. If there is trash or clothes on the ground, this is the perfect opportunity to put these items away; don’t just throw them on the couch then toss them back later! If you can, move furniture out of the area, or find an attachment designed to slide underneath elevated, bulk items. There is more dust and debris hiding underneath furniture than you might think.
3. Use a HEPA Vacuum Filter
High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters must capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size. This is small enough to capture bacteria and all particles that are larger in size, including dust, bugs, hair, and most cooking ingredients. Air filters that are not HEPA rated might be sucking in these microscopic particles, then blowing them back out into the air. If you suffer from allergies and don’t use a HEPA filter, you might notice that when you vacuum you start to feel general discomfort, sneezing, headaches and other allergy-related symptoms.
4. Set Height Adjustment
Different carpets require different settings. Using the wrong setting can cause excess wear on fibers and ruin the overall look and feel. Typically, with shorter carpets you want to adjust the height of the vacuum beater bar lower; but there are some carpets, such as berber, where a low setting will cause fuzz and early wear. Ultimately, there should be minimal resistance and no obvious fraying or fuzz as you move the vacuum across the carpet.
5. Left-to-Right and Front-to-Back
According to the vacuum manufacturer, Bissell, you should go over heavily trafficked areas five to seven times. Count each push as a single pass. Always push forward and pull back in the same direction. Do this for the entire carpet, then come back at a different angle. This will help raise the fibers and loosen dust that might be trapped deeper in the carpet. Don’t forget to go around the edge of the carpet and get into corners.
6. Take Things Slow
Put in headphones while you vacuum and play a song with a slow beat. Take your time and let the brush and suction do all the work.
7. Make The Floor Look Fancy
If you like the look of vacuum lines, start vacuuming at the back of the room and work your way out the door. This visual effect is most apparent in high carpets with fine, loose fibers.
8. Clean Up Like A Champ
The vacuum cleaner is ground zero for dust, debris, bacteria, dust mites and other unpleasant allergens. After pulling all of these pollutants from the carpet and stuffing them into a single container, the last thing you want is to carelessly pour it out into the kitchen trash as a cloud of allergens billows back out into the air.
Dispose of filters or dump out canisters and vacuum bags in the outside trash. If your vacuum uses a cannister without a bag, wrap the open end in a plastic bag and dump out the contents to keep any dust from blowing up into your face.
Finally, rinse out the canister, wipe down outside surfaces and underneath of the vacuum, inside any attachments or other areas where you see dirt. This will help keep dust from blowing out into other areas of the home, and ensure the vacuum doesn’t lose any suction power.
9. Stick to a schedule
Don’t wait until your floors look dirty. Be proactive and control dust and debris in the carpet to cut back on allergens, bacteria, fungi and other organisms that can find their way deep into fibers. If you set a time during the week to vacuum, you are more likely to follow through on making the time to complete this chore, plus your floor will be really clean!
If you’ve been following the above steps, then congratulations on your clean carpets! If you haven’t yet, give our list a try and see if it makes a difference around your home!