Sure-fire Tips to Cleaner Carpets
Don’t let your shag be a drag!
Ok, now that I got that bit of retro off my chest, I can focus on some great, present-day tips to help you get your carpet looking and smelling its best.
You Get What You Pay For
I’m not endorsing one particular brand or product here. I am saying that some brands really do skimp on quality with their lower priced models.
Do your research and read as many actual, customer reviews as possible before purchasing or upgrading. Get the reviews from several different sites, too, so that you know they weren’t paid for. Finally, buy the best machine you can afford.
What’s that smell?
It’s what was in your carpet begin thrust up into the air every time you vacuum. This has a cheap and simple fix. Put your favorite smelling fabric softener/dryer sheet in a brand new vacuum bag before turning on your machine.
That fresh scent will follow wherever you run the machine and be a much better alternative to the normal must-and-dust you would have been inhaling.
Essential oils are always a good idea to freshen up your home and bagless vacuum cleaners! I like Lavender for mine but you can pick your favorite scent. Wet a cotton ball with the oil and put it into the canister prior to cleaning.
Baking soda has so many uses its mind-numbing. One of those more common uses is as an odor neutralizer.
If a section of your carpet or room happens to have a smell to it from a spill or pet accident, sprinkle baking soda on the dry rug and let sit for 20-30 minutes prior to vacuuming as normal.
Clean Your Cleaning Machine
Make sure you clean your unit after cleaning your carpets. This should be done every time to ensure the best smelling results and a longer life for your unit. If that is not practical, try to do it at least every other week.
If you have a machine that uses bags, replace the bag. For both bag-using and bagless machines, you can rinse out your hoses in a utility sink or outside with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Make sure you allow plenty of drying time, however. Wet tubes can cause clumps and clogs so give a minimum of 24 hours to be certain your machine is dry.
You can also lean your newly cleaned vacuum cleaner against a wall at an angle and run it for 30-60 seconds to allow air to blow through it and guarantee its dryness prior to actual use.
Change It Up
We all have our patterns and most people like consistency in our lives. When it comes to vacuuming your carpets, that’s the wrong approach.
Repeatedly vacuuming your rugs in the same direction week after week presses the carpet piles in the same direction and creates ceilings or walls that dust, dirt and debris can’t pass through.
This limits the effectiveness of your efforts but also can lead to damage in your carpet fibers. Debris can be coarse and if left alone down there for too long can reduce the life of your rugs.
Changing your direction will move the carpet around and “fling” dirt and debris to the surface, making it easier and much more likely to end up in the vacuum cleaner and not back on your floors. Run the cleaner forward and backward, then follow-up by vacuuming in a cross-section manner. And, every week, alternate your starting points. This way your carpet fibers and the nasty debris its harboring won’t know what’s coming, and you’ll get the cleanest rugs possible.
Half Bag Rising
I know… “The Trees!” And I agree. You want to conserve and it’s a good thing to do. Also, it’s costly to constantly buy new vacuum cleaner bags.
But the truth is that full bags cause your machine to work harder and less effectively.
Your solutions are to make peace with the fact that you really need to change out your bags when they’re half full, or, buy a bagless vacuum cleaner. Both types of units have their pros and cons, but if you’re a bag-type-person, you need to change up halfway through.
Vacuum Cleaner Zen
Take a deep breath and slow your thoughts. Then slow your cleaning pace. Moving too fast through the vacuuming process will cause you and your machine to miss a lot of dirt and debris.
Taking your time allows the machine (and the roller underneath) to do the best job possible and maximize your results. If you don’t have your vacuum cleaner until now, you can research with lots of information about the best rated vacuum cleaners.
Tools of the Trade
Your vacuum cleaner comes with attachments and extensions for a reason. Use them.
I know, I know…sometimes there is no time for the extra effort. But as often as you can, take the time to use the crevice tool and extra brushes that you have.
Those brush attachments can be great for hardwood floors and the crevice tool gets all the dirt and debris sucked up that was simply pushed into the corners when you just did normal vacuuming across the main sections of your carpets.
There are even more expensive units out there designed to do this automatically, so when you’re doing your research check into those as well!
Beat the Dirt to the Finish Line
Let’s face it: our carpets are dirty whether we can see it or not. Waiting until you can actually see how dirty your carpet is means your floor is excessively infiltrated and in need of an emergency cleaning.
The best way to beat this is to vacuum regularly. It’s not always our priority to schedule vacuum cleaning into our busy lives, but in the long run it saves us time and money.
Waiting until emergency status has been activated makes your machine work harder. It also means your carpet has taken some hits from coarse debris buildup you’ve allowed to settle in and tear apart the piles.
Make a schedule and keep it – in the end it’s time-and-money-saving move!
Additional Hints and Tips
– Use a seam ripper or scissors and cut loose any string, thread or fabric that has wrapped around or stuck to your roller brush.
– The top of a condiment bottle (like you use in restaurants for ketchup) can be connected to you machine’s hose. Why? This helps get you into smaller spaces. I don’t like this for laptops of computer keyboards (scratching!) but I love it for kitchen floor corners or those, dark, dark spaces between your counters and stove.
– This is a good one: hose meets hose – the movie. Stretch a piece of panty hose over the longer, rectangular attachment to your vacuum hose and go to town. This is a useful way to find lost pieces of jewelry or other, small valuables without losing them to the nastiness that is the inside of a vacuum bag or canister.