vacuuming carpet

Vacuuming Carpet. Why Do You Vacuum?

Why is it that when we are vacuuming carpet, do we go back and forth then, step forward and repeat the process? If we were to use this  same type of pattern when mowing our lawns, there would be tufts of grass all over. The yard would look terrible and we would have wasted the majority of the afternoon with nothing to show for it. Chasing that paper scrap and those potato chip crumbs is not why we vacuum carpet. It is to capture the dirt we don’t see. 

Carpet traps and holds a lot of dirt! If you have ever torn out old carpeting, you know this. Dust settling, foot traffic bringing who knows what in from outside deposits pounds of dirt into carpet all the time. Yet when vacuuming, the back and forth pattern does not even come close to covering the entire floor. Trust me, we miss a lot of the carpet. Housekeepers, myself included, have always “massaged” the carpet like this. The problem is that we are not vacuuming with the correct mind-set.

Vacuuming Carpet is Not Trash Removal

Supervisors (again, myself included) monitor the quality of the vacuuming by seeing debris that has been missed by our cleaners. Yes, paper scraps, crumbs and even chicken bones are a good indication that maybe an area was missed. So this is what everyone aims for when vacuuming. The problem is that the real reason for spending all of this time is  forgotten. Pulling dirt out of the entire carpet is the goal. This is the dirt that settles to the bottom of the carpet pile, and add to stains when a spill occurs or when water is tracked in from outside. It is also the dirt that gets stirred up into the air and settles as dust. Dust that we end up breathing.

The larger debris should be swept up or pick up ahead of time. Things like paper clips and rubber bands can do a number on your vacuum anyway. Best to do a quick walk through to save the trouble of digging these things out of your vacuum cleaner later.

The Best Way To Vacuum Carpet

Proper vacuuming is done in long paths, just like mowing  grass. These paths allow the vacuum to remove the dirt uniformly, and lets the suction from the vacuum to pull out  more of the dirt. Reducing the back-an-forth motion is much easier on the vacuum operator to. Fewer repetitive movements make it more ergonomic to effectively vacuum carpeted areas.

Another benefit of this different approach is that more of the dust from the dirt is captured and not stirred up into the air. This lessens the amount of dust that will settle on above the floor surfaces and keeps the air cleaner.

Try it! You will find that with the reduced motion, vacuuming carpet won’t be nearly as exhausting. Go use that energy to cut the grass!


11 replies
  1. Angela
    Angela says:

    I vacuum in a long path like you said. When I really want to get a deep clean from vacuuming, I slowly go over the carpet twice crosshatching.
    Love your tips and posts.

    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Thank you! I enjoy your site as well. Your point on crosshatching your vacuuming pattern is a good one. Carpet is very dynamic and switching up the pattern can help to remove a lot more dirt. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Anthony Fors
    Anthony Fors says:

    Really enjoying your website Brent!

    Another mistake that I’ve seen a lot of people make (me too) is the height setting. Low commercial pile carpets not so much, but with any cut pile, I tell everyone:

    -Set the vacuum to the highest level and click it down until you feel the resistance from the carpet fiber
    -Air has to flow thru the fiber and the better air flow, the more particles the vacuum will extract.

    I used to always put it on the lowest setting so it was really hard to push back and forth. If it’s really hard to do it must be working, right?

    Keep up the great work!

    Anthony Fors
    Absolute Clean

    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Thank you for your comment and great point! No, the height setting knob on a vacuum cleaner is not just for decoration. It actually serves a purpose. The main reason for the height adjustment is to allow air flow for the vacuum. The added brushing action you get from setting the vacuum lower quickly becomes counterproductive if there is not enough airflow to capture the dirt. When the loose dirt is not recovered, it becomes airborne from the brushing and settles as dust. When you raise up the head of the machine using the height adjustment, you are providing a space for the air to flow through, thus allowing for a larger amount of air to be sucked into the motor of the machine, pulling air with it. If the head is too low, its kind of like putting your hand over the hose of a vacuum.

      Have a great day!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] more dirt from carpets with more efficient vacuuming techniques and […]

  2. […] the best way to vacuum carpet is also important. Make sure to cover the entire carpeted area by using long sweeping […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.