Five Easy Steps for Vacuuming Carpets
It’s important to vacuum your carpet regularly because it gets clogged with all sorts of unseen irritants that you ought not to be breathing in on a daily basis. Here are some pointers about how best to vacuum, as well as some common errors that homeowners can fall into if they’re not careful. Does carpet powder ruin vacuums? Can vacuuming too much ruin a carpet? What happens if you don’t vacuum your carpet? Read on.
1. To powder or not to powder
There are plenty of products available, all of which will claim to be the best thing for your carpet in terms of cleanliness and leaving fresh odors. They tend to be inexpensive and typically claim to turn your living room into a fresh summer’s meadow. However, all is not as it appears in the glossy commercials and alluring imagery on the product. Pet owners, for instance, may find that some of these chemicals are actually bad for animal health. It’s difficult to stop your pet from licking, rolling, ingesting some of the chemicals in the powder. Pet owners who suffer from asthma can also find themselves short of breath and can even develop streaming eyes.
They can also have a negative impact on the carpets themselves, due to the powder being so fine that not all of it can be completely vacuumed up. This in turn can lead to the carpet fabric actually slowly rotting, and the carpet’s lifespan becoming that much shorter. Certain less advanced vacuum cleaners will also suffer from the fine powder getting into the motor and damaging various component parts. Overall, it’s a lose-lose situation.
2. Over vacuuming
Most modern vacuum cleaners have a variety of settings to tackle different floor types. For example, if switching to the bare floor setting the mechanism operates on a lower speed and disables the beater bar so as to protect and not mark the laminate, wood, or other floor surfaces. When on a higher setting for high pile carpets the rotating bar swings into action and the suction pulls up minute dust and debris at just the right rate. You can actually damage your carpet’s fibers, though, if you use the wrong setting, or if the height adjustments are not suited to the specific carpet or floor surface.
The motion and speed of vacuuming is as important as the quality of the product you use. Going too fast can be ineffective, even if you think you’re covering every spot. Your machine needs time to suction up as much dust and matter as possible. It is best to approach carpet vacuuming as you do lawn mowing. It is useful to go in rows, as you do in the garden, and to go more slowly when pulling your vacuum cleaner back towards you; this is when the greatest amount of suction occurs. You can go crossways and front ways, alternating each time, to remove as much unwanted dirt as possible.
Unless you live in an extremely busy household, vacuuming more than twice a week can be counterproductive. You’ll end up doing more harm than good, leaving carpet fibers looking worn out and jaded in more than half the time they were supposed to. You might want to make an exception for the front hallway or other places that are walked on very regularly – stairs, for example. On the whole, though, the twice a week rule should be maintained.
3. Never vacuuming
Not vacuuming will not preserve the life of your carpet; instead, particles will go more deeply into the fibers of your carpet, and discoloration may occur. The end-result may be a permanently dirty looking carpet! Allergens will also make your carpet their home, and when dislodged may trigger asthma attacks and allergies. Miniature debris, like microscopic grains of sand, will get shunted around within the carpet and actually cut into the fabric, causing irreparable damage.
Dust mites, hairs, fur, pet dander, dust, bacteria, bugs, allergens, etc. will all accumulate deep in the warp and woof of your carpet’s fabric. Not just a few, but millions! This can become a significant health hazard over time. It could even bring about allergies and mild asthma, where a regular routine of vacuuming could have prevented it.
As a rule of thumb, high-traffic areas can be vacuumed once per day, medium-traffic areas twice per week, low-traffic areas once per week. This will not only keep the carpet nice and clean, extending its lifespan to the maximum but will also smell great and not become a health hazard to your family. There’s enough pollution being produced in the air around us, without our carpet threatening to further jeopardize our precious health.
4. Know your machine
It’s important to make good use of every part of your machine; every attachment and add-on could be useful in helping you achieve the best results. It’s also a good idea to maintain your vacuum cleaner regularly.
The main head
It’s the most obvious part which patrols and suctions those tender carpet fibers.
The crevice tool
This is an angular attachment that can help you get into tricky corners, as well as behind radiators.
The extension tool
A longer version of the crevice tool; ideal for cobwebs and dust balls which can form in the corners of ceilings, generally higher up.
The dusting brush
Best for more delicate areas such as windowsills, around books, behind lampshades; areas that you won’t want to scuff or scratch.
The upholstery tool
In some ways a miniature version of the main head, but with a lint catching fabric strip that makes it ideal for upholstery.
The pet grooming attachment
Perfect for vacuuming your pet’s bed.
The mattress attachment
Ideal for ridding your mattress of dust mites.
5. Consider steam
You can rent a steam cleaner from most grocery stores once in a blue moon, to give your carpet a thorough deep clean. This should make vacuuming more effective for a long time afterward. They’re a dream for stain removal, and for when you’re moving out of or into a new property (often without the hindrance of furniture). You will need to purchase the relevant chemical fluids separately, but once all set up it’s a case of using the main head for deep cleaning carpet fibers, and the stiff brush function for hard floors.
Whatever you end up doing, remember that there are numerous benefits to vacuuming semi-regularly, and in the right way. There are also real dangers lurking within your carpets’ fabric if you don’t vacuum enough, or if you vacuum over zealously but in the wrong way, with the wrong products. You’ll want to extend the lifespan of your carpets for as long as possible, keep your home smelling fresh, and preserve the health of your loved ones. Vacuuming can achieve all of these things.