How to Vacuum Carpets

Vacuum Cleaning Tips

I read someplace the other day about “How To Vacuum”.

The instructions said, “First, get your vacuum.” Wow!

That’s probably the best advice you’ll ever get! Actually, before I drag my vacuum out, there are a few other things you need to know first:

Basic house cleaning rules tell you to begin on the top, at the back. That means if you have more than a one storey home, start on the top level in the room furthest from the stairwell. Since vacuuming is the job you should do last in any room, you should already have picked up clutter and put things away, removed cobwebs, dusted and polished furniture.

Draperies and furniture should be vacuumed first.

Replace the furniture and begin vacuuming in the corner that is farthest from the door and work towards the door, using gliding, even strokes, backing to the door. As you look over the freshly vacuumed floor, you should see no footprints.

How to Vacuum your Carpet Like a Pro

  • In areas where you use “throw” or “scatter” rugs, pick them up and shake them out-of-doors. Then fold them neatly, place on the side of the tub or on a chair until you are ready to put them back on the floor.
  • Do a walk-through of your carpeted areas picking up clutter and any large pieces of debris that your vacuum cannot suck up such as leaves from shedding house plants, small toys, paper clips, anything that is obvious.
  • If you have a hand carpet sweeper, give the carpet a quick “pick-me-up”. You may be able to avoid having to use your heavier vacuum cleaner this time.
  • Use an anti-static spray on your dust mop or dust rag and run around the baseboard where dust collects next to the carpet.
  • Most vacuums will not get right up to the edge where wall meets floor, so use a good stiff broom with some elbow grease and give that area a good sweeping before you vacuum.
  • Check the vacuum bag! If it is full, or close to it, replace it before starting.
  • Survey the area and be sure there are no objects on the surface that might plug up the vacuum or damage it.
  • Push the vacuum slowly keeping in a straight path as much as possible. You should be able to see a pattern in the nap indicating where it has been vacuumed so you won’t keep going over the same area.
  • For stubborn, embedded soil, however, it may be necessary for repetitious strokes to do a thorough cleaning.
  • Watch the power cord – try not to run over it too many times. It doesn’t suck up well.
  • Whenever you see a loose thread sticking out of your carpet, snip it off immediately. Don’t pull on it as it can cause damage by unraveling the very fabric of the carpet. Chances are, it’s just a snag and you’ll never see it again.

“B” Is For Bathroom

Cleaning bathrooms can be tricky, as it may be partially or fully carpeted. If they are covered wall-to-wall, start behind the toilet and work your way through the room. Close yourself inside the bathroom and get behind the door, the edges of the cabinets, bathtub and shower. Again, this is a room that benefits from going around the edges with a stiff broom as hair and powders can be hard to vacuum.

Vacuum all the bathrooms first. Start behind the toilet, vacuum the floor. Do not forget behind the door, and along the edges of the cabinets and bathtubs. Make sure you get up all the hair and dust off the floor. Watch out for any standing water on the floor!

Moving Right Along

Make every motion count. Never use a power head on uncarpeted floors. Never use the upright to do stairs..

After all of the rooms are vacuumed, it’s time do the hallway. Begin in the area furthest from the stairs and work your way backward to the top of the stair well. (Look behind yourself often!) A canister vacuum works best on stairs because you can use the wand.

If your home is only one level, you are probably ready to put your feet up and relax. That is, unless you have carpet in your kitchen that needs vacuumed. If not, you may have throw rugs that need to be shaken well and/or laundered. If they are small enough, these benefit from being tossed into the dryer with a fabric softener tissue and an old, clean pair of tennis shoes, then tumbled with low or no heat. The fabric softener freshens the fabric and the shoes work as a beater, fluffing the nap and removing lint.

Damp mop all remaining washable, hard-surfaced floors and NOW relax!

Move your Furniture and Area Rugs

Moving your furniture around not only changes the look and feel of your home, but also helps protect your carpet from wear and tear. A traffic pattern that begins at the front door and runs the length of the hallway can be deterred by using lightweight, skid-proof area rugs and runners.

Consider the furniture that needs moved in order to do a thorough vacuuming and move it. You’ll find it appropriate to move chairs and smaller tables into a central area, and then vacuum as close to the edge of the room and up to the furniture as possible. Reach under beds, couches and dressers as far as you can.

Vacuum the Carpet Regularly

Ground in dirt wears down the fibers and resilience of your carpet nap. Using a carpet sweeper between deep carpet cleaning helps cut down on the amount of light surface dust and lint. It’s convenient, too, when you need to give your carpet a quick face-lift! Many homeowners are now encouraging guests to remove their shoes when entering. People get used to it and don’t seem to mind as they appreciate the same courtesy in their own homes.

Keeping your carpet vacuumed and cleaned regularly extends the life of your carpet. It also cuts down on the amount of dust, dander and other allergens that affect so many people suffering from bronchial irritations and asthma.

While a thorough vacuuming can remove most soil (and irritants), vacuuming alone isn’t enough. A regular carpet cleaning, either by a professional company or using a home steam cleaner, removes stains and ground in dirt that vacuuming alone cannot do.

Atmospheric dirt, oils and dust build up daily on your carpet causing other dirt and grime to stick like glue to your beautiful carpet. Unless your carpet is getting old or has been horribly abused, a good steam cleaning will not only extract dirt and grime, but it will brighten the color as well and make your house smell clean and fresh.

Keeping The Dirt Out

There are a number of “dirt attracting” porch rugs that are made of weather resistant materials. Keep one at the entrance to your home at all times. It cuts down tremendously on the amount of surface dirt that is tracked into your front door. Many homes also have “mud rooms” at the back. They encourage children and pets to use the mud room entrance as they can run in from the yard, hang up coats, take off shoes on the spot, and avoid bringing wet coats and dogs into the house.

Vacuum Cleaners and Attachments

If your vacuum came with nozzles, wands, hoses and other attachments, consider the job before you – then consider the appropriate tool. Mine has a little brush attachment used for furniture upholstery – the brush loosens the dust, then the hose sucks it up. The wand with the “pinched” end is good for corners, edges around the floor, tracks of sliding glass doors, etc.

  • Your vacuum is one of the most versatile, useful home appliances you’ll ever own. Here are some suggestions on how to make your cleaning chores a little easier.
  • When purchasing a new vacuum, make sure it has a powerful motor. Compare to the other models, and pick the one with the highest strength. The power is in direct proportion to the amount of dirt it will remove from your carpet in one or two passes.
  • Compare manufacturers and read the warranty. If possible, select one that has a local authorized dealer and repair facility.
  • Take a good look at the attachments. Unless you are willing to drag all the heads, wands and hoses along, and use them every time you get the vacuum out, don’t be influenced by the marketing hype. Less is best.
  • Overall, speaking as a professional (we are a maid service, remember?), we have found that heavier vacuums hold up better in the long run. Our vacuums really get a workout – several times a day.

Extension Wand

The extension wand (also known as the wand with the “pinched” end) is good for out-of-reach places – getting cobwebs inside of skylights or ceilings.

Dusting Brush

This is the proper name for my upholstery tool. It can also be used for dusting other furniture with hard surfaces as the brush is kind to finishes. However, it may not be as effective as a good, soft cleaning rag. It may be used for leather sofas, chairs and draperies.

Floor Brush

This is a bristled brush that looks like a squashed oval, usually with short black bristles that are close together. It’s used for hard surfaced, polished or waxed floors. It may also be used on carpets, especially hard to reach areas of Berber carpet..

Crevice Tool

Another name for extension wand (a/k/a the wand with the “pinched” end), the crevice tool is for running down the sides of upholstered furniture, vacuuming carpet edges next to the wall and tight places, tracks of sliding glass doors, and cobwebs in skylights. Use it whenever another tool is too big, too wide or too clumsy.

You may also use it in the corners getting in the tight spaces in the upholstered furniture, for vacuuming the edges of wall to wall carpeting, cleaning the inside of dresser drawers. Also works in cleaning the dust from the coils on the bottom of your refrigerator.

Vacuum Bags

Some new vacuums do not use bag at all. They have a removable container, usually clear so you can see how full it is, that you just unsnap, empty and replace.

If yours uses disposable bags, however, you need to keep a sharp eye on how quickly the dirt accumulates in the bag. If it is close to being full, the efficiency of the vacuum is reduced.

It’s good a keep a supply of extra bags on hand. Most grocery stores and home department stores carry a wide selection. The label will tell you if it is made to be used on your vacuum.

If your vacuum is equipped with settings, choose the surface type (high for shag, sheared shag, etc., medium for bedroom carpets or low for Berber or hard floors) Set the level for the appropriate surface. There may be some variations or exceptions so experiment to see which setting is best.