If it seems like your carpets and rugs aren’t actually clean — or don’t stay clean for very long — after you vacuum, it’s probably because you’re doing it wrong. Short back-and-forth strokes in random directions may be easy, but they won’t pick up all of the dirt, dust bunnies, pet hair, crumbs, and other debris stuck deep in the fibres. Try a more effective approach next time you pull out your vacuum.
The right way to vacuum carpets and rugs
- Start at one corner of your rug or carpet and push the vacuum forward in a straight line against the nap, or fibres. This will (usually) make the carpet look darker and has the effect of kicking up the dirt lodged in the fibres.
- Pull the vacuum back along the same line to actually pick up that dirt and debris and lay the fibres back down (and turn the carpet to its normal lighter colour).
- Repeat this pattern — forward and back — overlapping about 50% of each previous row.
- Once you’ve covered the whole carpet or rug, turn 90 degrees and repeat the whole thing going perpendicular to your original direction.
This method will probably take more time, but it’s also more thorough, and will likely save you from having to vacuum as often. Make sure you also clean your vacuum regularly (beyond just emptying the bin) to keep it working at its best.
What about hardwood floors?
You don’t necessarily have to follow the above method for your hardwood floors, but you should take steps to avoid scratching or damaging the surface. Use your vacuum’s “hard floor” setting (if it has one) to turn off the brush roll or use a different attachment. The best vacuums for hardwood have either rubber wheels or soft-bristled brush attachments. A broom or dust mop may be the better choice for day-to-day maintenance.
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