By Stacey L. Nash

Vacuuming is a simple chore you may not think about until you pull out the vacuum a couple of times a week. There are no tricks to using a vacuum, but there are some tips you can use to optimize your vacuuming and get your carpets cleaner.

  1. Move the Furniture

Vacuums can have a hard time reaching the dirt and debris underneath and near the legs of furniture. You don’t need to move heavy furniture like your entertainment center or a sectional every time you vacuum, but a coffee or side table or other small furniture should be moved before you vacuum.

  1. Vacuum in All Directions

Vacuum in all directions – up and down, side to side, and diagonal. Fibers move in different directions when the vacuum changes directions which loosens dirt that might otherwise be missed. It’s especially important to vacuum in all directions if you have long carpet fibers.

  1. Use the Crevice Tool on Edges

Carpet edges by the walls are notorious for collecting dirt. If left unchecked, the carpet can become discolored in this area. A vacuum can’t get to the very edge because of the design of the vacuum head. Use the crevice tool to reach edges as well as underneath heavy furniture that can’t be moved.

  1. Turn Off the Beater Bar

Some types of carpet like Berber or expensive throw rugs can be damaged by the beater bar. It pulls on the fibers leaving them looking fuzzy and worn. If your vacuum doesn’t have a beater bar that can be turned off, raise the height of the head so that the bar doesn’t touch the carpet.

  1. Empty the Bag or Canister Regularly

When the bag becomes overfull, the vacuum loses suction. The fuller the bag gets the more suction it loses. Change your bag when it gets half to two thirds full to be sure you’re always getting the best suction.

  1. Go Slow

It’s okay to do a quick vacuum job every now and then, but most of the time you should go slow so that the vacuum has more time to pick up dirt. Every pass you make picks up a little more. If you slow down, you can actually make fewer passes.

  1. Regular Vacuum Maintenance

Regular vacuum maintenance is key to cleaning efficiently. Check your manufacturer instructions for recommendations about how and when to clean filters. Some models require vacuuming the filter with a second vacuum or cleaning the filter with water and letting it dry. Others may recommend replacing the filter every few months. Whatever method your vacuum requires, follow those instructions. A clean filter will keep your vacuum running smoothly and the air in your home cleaner. You should also regularly check the beater bar for hair and strings that can slow the bar and wear down the motor. Most of the time, you can remove hair and string with scissors, but thick tangles may require you to remove the beater bar.

  1. Dust Before You Vacuum

Dust the entire room before you vacuum. Any dust that falls to the floor will then be sucked up into the vacuum.

A clean home invites family and friends to enjoy time together. Try one or two of these tips the next time you vacuum. You may find a spot or two you’ve been missing or you might find you’ve been doing it right all along. Either way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re creating the kind of house your family will want to come home to.

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