Vacuuming seems like one of the simplest household chores, but in reality, it’s one of the most misunderstood. The quick back-and-forth motions many of us use when vacuuming actually reduce the effectiveness of most vacuum cleaners, leaving residual dust and dirt behind. Other mistakes, like choosing the wrong vacuum cleaner or attachment, can also contribute to the buildup of dust, pet dander, and other allergens in your indoor air. In the guide below, we’ll examine the indicators of poor vacuuming habits and help you fix any mistakes or you can contact our team of experts to have your house cleaned professionally.
What Are the Signs You Aren’t Vacuuming Properly?
If you notice any of the following issues, you probably aren’t using the right vacuuming techniques:
-You often see dark lines on your carpet near the base of walls. These lines are caused by dust drifting down the walls, which is an indicator of bad indoor air quality.
-Your socks look dirty after you walk across your carpets, even though you vacuum at least once per week.
-Your home has a dusty or musty smell, despite the absence of visible mold or mildew, and this can be particularly concerning for seniors who might benefit from more specialized cleaning tips.
-You experience more allergy or asthma flare-ups when you’re at home.
-You see visible dust hanging in the air.
-The high-traffic areas of your carpet always look dingy, no matter what you do.
How to Vacuum Correctly: Our 5 Top Tips
Choose the right vacuum cleaner and attachment.
Though inexpensive, lightweight vacuum cleaners are an appealing choice for many people, but they typically lack the suction power needed to thoroughly vacuum an entire home. This is particularly likely to be the case if you have carpets, own pets, or suffer from allergies.
For one-story homes and apartments, upright vacuum cleaners are a powerful, practical choice. For two-story homes, however, canister vacuums are often preferable because they’re lighter, so they can be safely carried upstairs. Be sure to choose a model equipped with a genuine HEPA filter, and if possible, select one that uses vacuum bags. Bagless vacuums release dust and allergens back into the air when emptied (unless you empty them outside, of course).
To get the most out of your vacuum, make sure you use a bare floor attachment for your floors, and switch to a motorized attachment (with an agitator) when vacuuming carpets. An agitator is necessary to loosen ground-in debris and pet hair that’s become trapped below the surface of the carpet pile. For detail work, like the spaces along baseboards, around vents, and under furniture, use your vacuum’s crevice tool. When it comes time to vacuum the stairs, you may find the hose attachment less cumbersome than using a larger vacuum head.
Dust before you vacuum.
Unlike old-fashioned vacuums, modern models equipped with HEPA filters don’t release dust onto nearby surfaces as they work. You should therefore dust your home prior to vacuuming, not after, to ensure the dust on curtains, walls, and shelves doesn’t drift down onto your freshly-vacuumed floor.
If your vacuum came with a dusting tool (it looks like a big, soft round brush attachment), feel free to use it to make dusting quicker and easier.
Prepare the area first.
Before you vacuum, pick up clutter (like toys and dirty laundry) and put it away. Then, dust some baking soda over carpeted areas using a colander. Let the baking soda sit for one to three hours so it has a chance to absorb odors. (For very stubborn odors, you may need to let the baking soda sit overnight.)
Vacuum in rows.
Once your surface has been prepared, you’re ready to vacuum like the pros: Rather than using quick, short vertical motions, move your vacuum slowly in wall-to-wall rows. Push the vacuum along one row, then pull it back over the same row before starting another. Work against the “nap” of your carpet to loosen debris and fluff up carpet fibers.
After you’ve covered the whole room, switch directions and vacuum it again. For instance, if you were vacuuming in a north-south direction the first time, you’ll need to switch to an east-west direction the second time. Doing this will eliminate any debris you missed in between rows on your first attempt.
Push harder than you pull.
Many people naturally exert more force when they’re pulling their vacuums back than when they’re pushing them forward, but this can leave dirt on the floor. Vacuums are designed to be pushed forward at a rate of about 12 inches per second and pulled back at a rate of 6 inches per second. When you’re pulling backwards, you’re actually going against the direction the motorized brush turns, so you need to give it more time to operate properly.
Vacuuming once per week might be enough if you’re single and have no children or pets. For anyone else, however, the recommendation is to vacuum at least 2-3 times per week. Vacuuming frequently won’t damage your carpets; on the contrary, it will protect them from premature wear by removing sharp dirt particles before they get ground into the pile.
Professional Solutions for Dirty Floors and Carpets
Vacuuming regularly is the best way to improve indoor air quality and extend the life of your carpets. On its own, however, vacuuming isn’t always enough to keep carpets and floors perfectly clean. Sometimes, these surfaces develop stubborn stains or odors that vacuuming can’t eliminate.
Before you replace stained carpets or floors (at considerable expense), we recommend calling professional cleaners who use specialized hot water extraction machines and floor scrubbers to restore these surfaces to “like new” condition, without the risk of damage posed by harsh cleaners and stain removers. Our professional maid services in Louisville are also a great choice for those with limited mobility or time constraints. Why not get in touch while you spend the day unwinding at Ballard Park?