How to Properly Vacuum Carpet | How Often & Best Technique

Vacuuming your carpet is one of the best ways to keep your home looking good and feeling fresh. Unfortunately, improper vacuuming can lead to missed dirt and dust in your carpet and can even damage your carpet over time. In this article, we’ll discuss how to vacuum properly including how often you should be vacuuming and what techniques work the best.

When it comes to vacuuming, Frank likes to say “Vacuum, vacuum, and then vacuum some more.” We often get asked if vacuuming can ruin carpet and the truth is, as long as you do it properly, you can’t hurt your carpet by vacuuming. In fact, it will generally extend the life of your carpet. This is because the process removes dirt and debris from the carpet that would otherwise be wearing down the fibers, causing it to fray and look bad over time. By following the steps outlined in this article, your carpet will look and feel amazing.

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How to Properly Vacuum Carpet | Step-by-Step

  • Remove any visible debris from the area
  • Set vacuum to proper height
  • Overlap areas to ensure proper coverage
  • Use attachments as needed

Remove any visible debris from the area

Proper vacuuming starts with removing any visible debris from the area you want to vacuum. This prevents items from entering the vacuum cleaner that may damage or clog the machine. This can include, but is not limited to, toys, clothes, wires, paper etc. This is the number one way to keep your vacuum lasting longer and working at its peak performance.

Set vacuum to proper height 

You’ll then want to set your machine to a height that allows the beater bar to touch the very top of your carpet fibers. The beater bar, also known as the rotating brush, is used to gently vibrate the top of the fibers. This agitation loosens the dirt in the carpet fibers and the suction power of the machine will lift and remove the dirt. Setting the beater bar too low will cause the machine to push dirt and debris further into the carpet and will reduce airflow. This will reduce the ability of the machine to extract the dirt you are trying to remove.

Overlap areas to ensure proper coverage

To properly vacuum, start a few feet from the far edge of the area you are vacuuming and slowly move the vacuum cleaner forward, away from you. Then, slowly move the vacuum back towards you covering the same area you vacuumed. The goal is to move the fibers in both directions to ensure all dirt and dust is removed. Slow vacuuming is the best way to remove as much dirt as possible. 

As you move to the next adjacent area, have your machine slightly overlap the previous area to ensure no area is missed. You’ll also want to vacuum in multiple directions. If you vacuum north to south you’ll also want to vacuum the same area east to west. This ensures that the agitation is even and allows for the most dirt to be extracted by your machine.

Use attachments as needed

If you have an area you can’t reach with your vacuum cleaner, it’s time to use the attachments that came with your machine. These can include corners of walls, underneath and around furniture, base molding, upholstery, stairs and more. We have an entire article on the proper use of vacuum cleaner attachments that goes over these items in depth. You won’t need to use each attachment every time you vacuum, but knowing how to use them and when to use them can add life to your carpet.

How Often Do I REALLY Need to Vacuum?

We recommend daily vacuuming as it’s the best way to keep your home fresh. But how often should you vacuum carpet?

For high traffic areas, you should vacuum your carpet daily without exception. Again, this prevents debris in the carpet from damaging the fibers and extends the life of your carpet. This can be done quickly as it’s just to prevent build up of debris in the carpet fibers. Then, once per week, you should spend time thoroughly going over your high traffic areas with a more methodical approach detailed in this article. 

For less trafficked areas, you can vacuum every other day or just a few times a week to keep it looking good and feeling fresh. In a perfect world, you would vacuum all the carpeted areas daily to capture as much dust as possible. However, we know that’s hard to do and is time consuming. Vacuuming the less common areas just a few times a week is sufficient. 

If you or your family suffer from allergies, vacuuming daily is the best way to keep allergens in the home as low as possible. Your home essentially has three ways to filter out allergens and dust; your HVAC system, your carpet and your lungs. Dust particles that are in the air either go through your air conditioner and are trapped in its air filter, they get trapped in the fibers of your carpet or they wind up in your lungs. When the particles are trapped in your AC filter, you remove that filter once per month or so and remove the particles from reentering the home.  

When your carpet captures the particles, any foot traffic on the carpet will release the particles back into the air. If your HVAC system doesn’t capture these particles, they go back into the carpet, or worse, into your lungs. Vacuuming daily helps remove these particles for the home and helps keep them out of your lungs. So, do you think it’s worth vacuuming high traffic areas daily? We think so.

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