Soil is the enemy of carpet and rugs, upholstery and other fabrics and furnishings. One of the most important aspects of proper maintenance is to vacuum often and to vacuum correctly. Most textiles and carpets are not vacuumed often enough.
Ground-in dust, dirt, sand or grit are the enemy, and it is your vacuum’s job to remove them. The build up of dirt occurs especially at entrance ways and in heavily trafficked areas that are seldom vacuumed thoroughly enough and not cleaned frequently enough.
Few people really know how to vacuum efficiently with minimum effort. Most of the damaging soils, oily or gritty particles collect where there is most usage or foot traffic. These are the areas which require the most thorough vacuuming. It is far better to vacuum only heavy traffic areas much more frequently or repeatedly than it is to cover everything or everywhere with a once-over -lightly vacuuming.
Residential carpet and rugs, for example, should be vacuumed according to the amount of traffic and abuse they receive. Vacuuming should be done at least once every two weeks, preferably once each week and even twice per week if heavily trafficked or soiled. The best way to remove ground-in soils is to vacuum against the nap of the carpet. It removes more soil and helps to improve the carpet’s appearance. A light vacuuming would cover the same carpet or upholstery areas with three or four overlapping strokes. A more thorough vacuuming could be six or even eight strokes over the same, heavily soiled areas. Contract or commercial carpet needs to be vacuumed thoroughly at least three to five times per week. In high traffic areas, i.e., traffic lane and entrance ways, carpet should be vacuumed nightly.
Well maintained vacuuming equipment helps both in overall soil removal and better long-term appearance. Dirt collection bags should not be allowed to become more than 1/2 full. After this the suction power and vacuuming efficiency is greatly reduced. Vacuums with cloth bags should be turned inside out at least every third emptying and cleaned. This allows for better breathing of the bag and greater soil pick up. Vacuums without a beater bar require more passes to achieve the same result. Commercial pile lifters and heavy duty dual motor vacuums are the best machines for portability combined with maximum power and effectiveness in vacuuming commercial carpet.
Some vacuums require that they be adjusted to match the pile heights of the carpet. Higher pile and loosely textured carpet may show shading marks where the vacuum last passed over. For the most even surface appearance after vacuuming, keep the final vacuuming strokes all in the same direction.
Good vacuuming is equally important for fabric upholstery and other fabric furnishings. There are special accessories and hand tools to vacuum these fabrics. Some machines come with suction lowering adjustments to keep the fabric from binding or being drawn in the nozzle during vacuuming because the vacuum might otherwise be too strong.
You usually cannot vacuum too much, and it is more likely that carpet and furnishings are not being vacuumed enough. It’s the ground-in soil that dulls, discolors, and damages valuable textile furnishings, and not the vacuuming. Remember to vacuum often, and to vacuum properly. It’s worth the effort.