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How to Vacuum a Carpet

Today’s carpet fibers are designed to hide soil and reflect light, and have the ability to resist soiling and stains. The effect of soil in carpet is not as visible as it is on hard surface flooring where soil remains on the surface and is easily seen. The ability of today's carpet fibers to hide soiling is a positive feature for most consumers. However, the lack of apparent soiling does not eliminate the necessity of regular cleaning.

 

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Most dry soil has razor-like edges that abrade carpet fibers causing light to reflect differently and giving carpet a dull appearance. Soil can damage the fibers permanently if allowed to remain in the pile.

A regular maintenance program extends the life and the initial appearance of your carpet. Specific care information may be available from your carpet dealer or from a toll free number provided by the carpet manufacturer or fiber producer.

 

Florida soil from carpet

Under the Microscope: Grit removed from a Florida carpet.

Basic Vacuuming

A good practice is to vacuum often the areas that receive the most traffic, such as hallways, stairs, exterior entry ways, and paths in the home where there is constant wear. Vacuum the entire carpeted area a minimum of twice per week.

 

Removing loose soil while it remains on the surface is important so that it is not worked into the carpet pile by foot traffic. Removing embedded soil is more difficult and time consuming than removing surface soil.

 

To remove surface soil, push the vacuum forward several feet with the pile direction of the carpet in a slow, deliberate motion and then reverse direction. Embedded soil is best removed by moving the vacuum cleaner in a slow, deliberate motion. Repeat strokes as necessary based on the traffic pattern and soil level of the carpet.

Vacuum Cleaner Selection

For maximum effectiveness, use a vacuum cleaner that has adjustable and rotating brushes that are able to loosen ground-in soil, and a strong enough airflow to penetrate to the backing, extracting all particles. The vacuum cleaner should have an enclosed, high filtration bag that limits particles from recirculating into the air.

Could Your Vacuum Run Better

For the best cleaning results, no matter which type vacuum cleaner you purchase, inspect it periodically to be sure it is functioning properly.

  • Keep brushes clean and replace them when worn.
  • Keep vacuum hoses and attachments free of obstructions that restrict airflow.
  • Inspect the vacuum head for rough edges or bent metal that may damage your carpet.
  • Inspect belts frequently to make certain they are working properly.
  • Always keep a spare belt for replacement as needed.
  • Follow the vacuum cleaner manufacturer's instructions, and change the vacuum bag when it becomes more than half full. As the bag becomes full, efficiency is reduced.
How to Vacuum a Carpet:  Created on October 4th, 2006.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014

 

About The Carpet and Rug Institute

The Carpet and Rug InstituteThe Carpet and Rug Institute, headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, is the national trade association for the carpet and rug industry. Its members are manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers, representing over 90% of all carpet produced in the United States. CRI is the source for science-based information and insight into how carpet and rugs can create a better environment — for living, working, learning and healing. For more information, visit the CRI Blog.

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