This is the single most important thing to remember when learning how to vacuum carpets and hardwood floors. No matter how strong the suction is, the vacuum cleaner needs time for that suction to work. So use a slow, deliberate back and forth motion. Especially on carpets and rugs, if you vacuum too quickly, you may pick up surface dirt, but nothing is collected from deep in the pile. The brush needs time to loosen deep-down dirt and the vacuum needs time to collect it.
Clear the Path
Do a scan of the floor and remove all objects that may be larger than the diameter of the hose opening (usually 1 1/4”) are removed. Paper, large leaves from houseplants, Lego blocks and other small items can get stuck in the hose, reducing suction and causing the motor to overheat and even burn out.
Things like fringe edges of bedspreads and shoe laces, even if they’re still on the shoe, also need to be cleared away or taken off the floor. They can get sucked up and wind around the roller brush, damaging the roller mechanism.
Fully Extend Retractable Cords
If you’re using a vacuum cleaner with automatic cord rewind, pull the cord all the way out. If it remains partially wrapped in the vacuum, heat can build up and damage the cord or sensitive control electronics in the vacuum. Unwinding the cord fully helps vent and dissipate the heat.
Check the Dustbag Frequently
A full dustbag is the most common reason for poor vacuum performance, as the dust and dirt in the bag block the flow of air through the vacuum, reducing suction as well as filtering efficiency. What many people don’t understand is that “full” does not mean that there’s no room for more dust. Suction begins to be affected when the bag gets to be about two-thirds full, and that’s when you need a change. A good rule of thumb is if you can see dust near the opening, you need a fresh bag.
Use the Right Brush or Brush Setting
For pile carpets and rugs, always use the vacuum with the rotating brush turned on. You need the brush to separate the carpet fibers and lift them up so the vacuum can clean as deep as possible into the carpet. If you have very delicate carpet that you can’t use a rotating brush on, such as wool, silk or hand knotted carpet, use a tool specifically designed for that type of carpet.
Turn the rotating brush off when running over the edge of an area rug. If the brush stays on when you draw backwards, it will suck up the edge of the rug and damage it. If there’s fringe on the edge, the fringe can wrap around the brush and damage it.
Always turn the brush off when you move to a bare floor surface. Leaving the brush on can damage the floor and will scatter the dust, dirt and debris you’re trying to remove. If you’re using an upright or other vacuum that doesn’t let you turn off the rotating brush, use an accessory floor brush attached to the hose.
Vacuum from the Top Down
Vacuum from the top down, just like you dust. Start with your window treatments, then the furniture, then the floor. As you clean, your general movement and the exhaust of the vacuum, can stir up and spread dirt and dust around that will settle at the lowest point. Once you’re ready to vacuum the floor, do hard floor surfaces before the carpet. If you walk on a dirty floor and then on the carpet, you’ll add dirt to the carpet you just cleaned.
Follow the Carpet or Flooring Manufacturer’s Care Instructions
We all have our preferences and opinions on how to vacuum, but even if you disagree with us, you shouldn’t disagree with the maker of the carpet, rug or flooring. Especially when your carpet or flooring is new and under warranty, failure to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions can void the warranty.
Follow the Vacuum Manufacturer’s Use Instructions
Many manufacturers include good – and important – information on how to vacuum in general and use their machines in particular. From properly inserting the bag to selecting the right suction level, knowing how the vacuum cleaner was intended to be used will help make sure it performs to expectations and last a good long while. Follow these vacuum cleaner tips, and both your floors and vacuum will look their best for years to come.