The Basics of Vacuuming

When is comes to basic care of your carpets and rugs, whether it be synthetic or natural fibers, the first line of defense is a good vacuum cleaner. Our vacuum cleaner really does most of the work and therefor we must also choose wisely when picking a vacuum cleaner.

Seventy four percent of all soils in your carpets are not water soluable. That means that when you try to rinse them with water, they don’t really move. They need to be dry vacuumed before a hot water extraction is attempted.

So what do we look for in a vacuum cleaner? The CRI (Carpet and Rug Industry) has a list of approved vacuums here: and you can use this list as a guide but why are the vacuums on this list? Well first of all it’s about efficiency. Most consumer grade vacuums out there are unfortunately just underpowered. They just don’t have enough “lift” to properly remove soils from your carpets. (Actual vacuum is measured in “lift” as “inches of water column” and defined as the pressure differential required to lift a column of water 1″ at 4°C )

So what creates this lift? There is a small vacuum motor and impeller in every vacuum cleaner and that unit is what makes it all happen. The big difference in most vacuum cleaners is this; does the vacuum motor draw air after the collection bag or before? This is huge because a vacuum impeller that has to allow for debris to travel through it has to have way more tolerance than an impeller that is protected by the first line in a HEPA filtration system. And the tighter the tolorence, the more vacuum “lift” you can create. So you want to have a vacuum that creates the vacuum after the bag. This is difficult to do with only one motor as you need a motor to drive the beater bar. So a good vacuum will have two electric motors, one for vacuum and one to drive the beater bar.

The second consideration is the filtration level. It does you no good to vacuum if your vacuum is just pumping the debris into the air so you can breathe it and have it settle on your carpets again. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filtration system. This system, when properly maintained, removes 99.9% of all dust and dander from the air before the air is returned to the room from the vacuum.

The third consideration is maintenance. Every once in a while flip your vacuum over and inspect it. Look for hair or debris wrapped around your beater bar and cut that off. Look for debris built up behind the beater bar that may resist free flow while vacuuming. Inspect all the hoses and passages where debris makes its way front the beater bar to the bag. All it takes is a little piece of straw to get stuck in the tube and it will cause a full blockage with all the debris it will catch. Most of the upper-end vacuums will have indicators to warn you if the vacuum detects a blockage but they aren’t 100% and won’t warn you until the blockage has cut the tube off completely.


Depending on the amount of people in your home, how much time is spent at home and the number of times those people move from the inside to the outside all determine how often you should actually vacuum your carpets but a good rule of of thumb is once a week. Once a week the open areas should be vacuumed and twice a year it’s a good idea to move all the cabinets, chairs, tables and furniture and vacuum under them.

When vacuuming it’s important to make strokes about 24″ long and slow as you pull the vacuum backwards. The vacuum is most efficient pulling in reverse as the carpet is traveling against the pulling of the beater bar so this strikes is where you will get your best cleaning. (If you have natural fiber carpet or rugs like wool or silk, you do not want to use a vacuum with a beater bar as it will pull the fibers from the rug faster and wear down the yarns)

Also, change out your vacuum bag when it is 2/3 to 3/4 full. You do not want to let the bag fill all the way as you begin choking the vacuum and it loses efficiently in the meantime.

Home Cleaning Inspection

As a standard part of Voy Home Services customer care package, we would be happy to inspect your vacuum for you and make any recommendations for care or replacement. 

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