Are you questioning yourself now? You have been vacuuming for years the way you do it currently, but is it the right way? In all the years that I have been on this earth, it amazes me how many times I watch people vacuum incorrectly. But don’t worry. I’m here to walk you through the proper way to vacuum to make sure you get all that dust out of your carpets.
Who Taught You to Vacuum? Are You Vacuuming Properly?
If you think back about when you were a kid, do you remember ever getting a lesson in the right way to run the vacuum? I know I can’t remember having an actual lesson in how to do it properly, but I did pay attention to how my mother did it. Maybe you did too, or maybe you just grabbed that vacuum and started moving it over the carpet. Either way, at some point in your life you learned how to run that loud appliance and scare the animals out of the room.
Why Am I Writing This?
I was watching one of my shows the other day when a commercial came on for a family-friendly debit card. The commercial shows the couple’s son doing chores to earn money onto said debit card. One of the images that they show is him running the vacuum cleaner while dancing with his music on. Granted, the kid in the commercial was acting and making the commercial stand out to consumers, but he is vacuuming very wrong.
This 3-second clip of a commercial made me wonder, “How many people vacuum this way? Are they teaching their kids the right way? Do they even know?”
This post is my attempt to make sure that when you are cleaning your home you are doing it properly.
What is Your Carpet Hiding From You?
When you vacuum, you are typically thinking about getting out dirt, dust, and hair hiding in it. But there are other nasties hiding in that plush flooring that we all love so much. Along with those three things, there is also the potential of hidden bugs, skin flakes, pet dander, pet feces, kitty litter, and germs. If you have little ones who like to play on the carpet, they are exposed to this each time they plop down on the carpet.
So how do you make sure that you are getting the most amount of this disgusting mess out of your carpet? I’ll share my secrets to make sure that you are getting it all out.
How Often Should I Vacuum?
Honestly, I am going to tell you to vacuum as needed during the week and pick one day to make sure you are properly vacuuming. When I say, “as needed”, I’m referring to high-traffic areas that may get dirtier than the rest of your carpets. This is something that you most likely can see. Noticeable dirt that the kids or pets trudge in should be vacuumed up as you notice it so that it doesn’t get tramped deeper into your carpet as they walk across it.
As far as the proper way, this is just a once-a-week chore to make sure that you are getting it all out on a regular basis. It’s going to take a little longer than the “as needed” vacuuming. The time commitment is something that is personal to each home and depends upon the amount of carpet you have.
Dumping the Canister or Bag
A great rule of thumb in our house is that we dump the vacuum canister just like we clean the lint trap in the dryer. Every. Time.
Having a full canister or bag in your vacuum not only can affect the suction of your vacuum but can overfill and start releasing that dust back into the air as you vacuum. If it’s throwing out dust as you vacuum, then what is the point?
Make sure you clean your vacuum each time you use it, if not more often. I like to dump the canister after each room in my home. That way I know for a fact that it’s picking up the most dust and dirt possible at all times.
Where To Start Vacuuming
When you first start up your vacuum, you are not going to start using the roller and pushing it all over the room. Start with your attachment first. The long hose on your vacuum is your best friend right now. Grab it up with the hard-angled attachment connected to the end. Start either at a doorway or in a corner so that you know your ending spot also. Now, at your starting point, use the attachment to vacuum both the baseboards and the crevice between the edge of the carpet and the wall.
You do not need to pull out furniture weekly, but make sure you have a schedule for when to do this. I recommend at least twice a year, but once a month may work for you also. This depends on the amount of dust and pet hair you have in your own home.
Part Two of Vacuuming Properly
Now that you have next to the walls done, you should be back to your starting point. Replace your attachments and get ready to walk that sweeper!
Direct your vacuum from the center of the room towards the wall. Start straight, slow passes toward the wall and then directly back to you. If you need to, count to make sure that you are waiting at least a 1-count with each step. (Think bridal procession speed.) Continue this around the room in the same direction that you used with the attachment next to the wall. Make sure you are going between all of your furniture and under everything that you can (tables, chairs, etc.)
Finishing Up Vacuuming Properly
Here is where it gets fun!
You should be back at your original starting point. Choose a side to start with to make your passes with the vacuum. I tend to go left to right (like us Westerners read) for my rooms.
Shift your vacuum to the furthest point to your chosen starting side. Staying parallel to the outer wall, start your first pass slowly away from you. Once you reach the wall (or furthest point you can) repeat the slow walking backward pass as you did in step two. Stay directly in the path of your forward pass as you walk backward.
To make your second pass, overlap the first one by about an inch or two. This is super easy with a carpet that has a higher pile. If you cannot see, just guess at first. With practice, you’ll be able to do this much easier.
Continue across the room until you are as far as you can go.
Step Back and Admire Your Properly Vacuumed Room
Vacuuming properly is really not difficult. Don’t feel bad if you were never aware that there is a right or wrong way to do it. It’s something that comes naturally to most. It’s like trying to teach your children to ride a bike. You are so used to doing it that breaking it down into steps is harder. Most things are like this in life.
This seems to take longer! Is it really worth it?
YES! Over time, your carpet gets a build-up of dirt and grime. We tend to not have our carpets regularly cleaned, so vacuuming properly helps keep them cleaner for longer. And it saves the expense of having to call the carpet cleaning guys. (Have you seen how much that costs lately??)
Will this method make my carpet last longer?
Definitely. Like most things we purchase, the better that we care for them, the longer they last.