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!