Vacuuming basics.

If you have carpet or rugs, you have a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum is absolutely necessary to keep your valuable carpet and rugs clean of particulate or dry soil.

While vacuuming may seem like a basic housekeeping chore and simple to do, the biggest challenge is getting out the vacuum and actually putting it to use.


How often you vacuum depends on the size of your family, and this includes pets. As a general rule, if you have hard surface floors, you should vacuum the main areas in your home, such as the living room, hallways, and other high traffic areas, one time each week per occupant.

For example, if you have four people and one dog in your family, vacuum five times per week, in those high traffic areas. For low-traffic areas, once per week should suffice. This might seem extensive and perhaps unnecessary, but it keeps your hard floors free of dust and dander.

In carpeted areas, a thorough vacuum with a good vacuum cleaner can be done once per week in high traffic areas, and less often in other lower traffic rooms.

How to vacuum

You might be thinking, “You just plug it in and push it across the floor.” Which is basically what you do. The problem is how fast you move and how much overlapping you cover when running the vacuum.

While you may push the vacuum forward fast, slow down when you pull it towards you. This way the beater bar, if your vacuum has one, has a chance to work loose the soils. Also, overlap several inches from side to side so you have complete coverage of the floor.

Setting the Vacuum Height

If your vacuum has a height adjustment, you need to ensure it is set properly to get the best results on carpet.  Place a quarter on the carpet in front of the vacuum and slowly move the vacuum towards it – be careful not to vacuum it up! Adjust your height as necessary and repeat moving the vacuum towards the quarter until the quarter vibrates as the vacuum gets near it.   The vacuum is now at the proper height to get optimal soil removal.

Choosing the best vacuum

Quality matters when choosing a good vacuum cleaner. The cheaper ones at department stores may work fine for a while, but they quickly lose efficiency and often break down. Look at the reviews of any vacuum cleaner you are contemplating and spend a few more dollars on a superior model. Your carpet and rugs will be better off in the long run. A good quality vacuum cleaner can last for decades if it is properly maintained, so it’s worth the investment.  High quality vacuums runs $600 – $2500 and come in many varieties.

Choosing a vacuum with a beater bar is smart. Especially with thick pile carpet, it helps remove more dry soil. Some choose vacuum cleaners with a bagless option. If you use a vacuum cleaner with a bag, change it out when about half full, for maximum efficiency. Purchase plenty of replacement bags and have them on hand for this purpose.

Get with the pros

Cleaning companies, especially those who specialize in carpet and rug cleaning, can help you choose a quality vacuum. Get their input. Also, the Carpet and Rug Institute did testing Test Criteria on the major vacuum brands, and has recommendations. CRI Green Label Seal of Approval Vacuums

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