Are your carpets looking dingy in high-traffic areas where people walk most often? Do you notice more pet hair or dust flying around? The problem may have to do with how you’re cleaning. It isn’t just running your vacuum over the floor and calling it done. Learning the right way to use your vacuum cleaner can make a huge difference in the cleanliness of your home. It will help your flooring last longer, too.
How To Use A Vacuum Cleaner on Floors
We’ve all rushed the job when we’ve learned that visitors are coming or we have only a few minutes to tidy. But that type of quick cleanup shouldn’t be your standard routine. What follows are the best practices for using your vacuum so you get dirt, dust mites, and pet dander out of your home.
Step 1: Prepare your vacuum.
Too much debris in the dust containment area reduces your machine’s suction. If you have a bagless machine, empty the dustbin before use. If yours uses bags, don’t let it get more than half full or that will reduce suction. Also, check the roller brush to make sure it spins and snip away any threads tangled in the bristles.
Step 2: Prepare the room.
Vacuuming goes faster if you don’t need to stop working to move things. So, before you start, move toys and chairs out of the way. On alternate weeks, move small furniture like side tables or plant stands so you can clean beneath them.
Step 3: Use the attachments first.
Vacuum heads can’t get all the dirt where the floor and walls meet, which is why it’s important to use the attachments, too. First, use the dust brush to go around the top of baseboards. Then, switch to the crevice tool and clean around the edges of the rooms and base of heavy furniture. This step can help prevent the dark lines at the edges of carpets.
Step 4. Match the vacuum head to your flooring type.
To vacuum carpeted floors and large area rugs
Use the rotating brush head which lifts carpet fibers so the machine’s suction can remove dirt. Some upright vacuums have a setting specifically for carpets. If yours requires manual adjustment, lower it to the point it just contacts the carpet without reducing suction. You’ll know if this happens because the machine will get louder and be more difficult to push. Avoid setting the brush too high, though, or it won’t clean deep-down dirt.
To vacuum hard floors or small rugs or mats
Upright machines have a hard floor setting which disengages the roller bar to protect your floorboards. Cordless or canister vacuums will have a felt or fabric roller or a flat floor head without a spinning brush for use on hard floors. Unlike the roller or beater bar attachments for carpeting, these won’t damage your hard floor’s surface.
Step 4: Vacuum the room slowly.
Your vacuum cleaner needs time to suction up dirt. If you move it too quickly, it will simply send dirt flying. So, slowly push it away and then, without moving it to the side, pull it back. This slower pace gives your vacuum’s head a chance to lift away dirt stuck between the carpet fibers or floorboards, instead of just what’s on top of them. With the next movement, push it forward again but slightly to the side so the path overlaps with what you just cleaned, then pull it back slowly. Continue this all the way across the room.
Step 5: Turn and repeat.
To get carpeted floors as clean as possible, turn at a right angle and go over the room wall-to-wall a second time. This allows you to clean all sides of the carpet fibers. If your floors look dingy soon after steam cleaning your carpets, this one change can make an enormous difference.
Which Is Better: Vacuuming or Sweeping?
Brooms spread dust into the air which can worsen allergies and asthma and make your home look dirty even when you’ve just cleaned. Modern vacuums have adjustable floor settings or attachments suitable for hard floors, so they’re superior to brooms.
How Often Should I Vacuum?
The general rule is to clean wall-to-wall at least once a week. This should include all the steps described. If you have a busy household, pets, or live in a sandy area, go over high-traffic areas like hallways and entrances several times throughout the week to reduce dust and keep pet hair under control.
Should I Dust or Vacuum First?
If you’re going to dust, do it first to move dirt off surfaces to the floor where your vacuum can pick it up. If you follow a room-based cleaning approach, this means you’d first dust a room and then vacuum it before cleaning the next room. If you follow a task-based cleaning plan, you’d dust all the furniture on Monday, for example, and clean the floors on Tuesday.
Should I Vacuum Before Mopping?
You should always vacuum before mopping your floor to remove debris and dust. If you don’t, your mopping solution will turn the dirt to muddy streaks. If you live near a beach or desert, you might even want to use a microfiber or static floor duster between vacuuming and mopping to pick up any fine particles your machine missed.
Why Isn’t My Vacuum Getting My Floors Clean Anymore?
Make sure you are following the steps to prepare your machine before use. If your machine’s dust container or bag is too full, it cannot produce enough suction to clean larger pieces of debris. You may also need to deep-clean your vacuum.
These quick emails are the “secret sauce” to taking your home from tidy to truly clean — or rediscovering your cleaning motivation if you’ve lost it under the clutter.