Here are some tips I've learned about vacuuming carpets, both through observation and through my old job as a custodian.
- Slow down. You will pick up dirt that's embedded deeper in the carpet.
- Go over heavy-traffic areas more than once, and in different directions.
- Vacuum frequently. The more you walk on a dirty carpet, the deeper dirt becomes embedded. This makes the carpet wear out faster. In rooms that don't collect cooties, try to vacuum once a week to pick up dust.
- Take a different path. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds an efficient way to get around all the furniture, and takes that path each time. But changing things up can help you vacuum in different directions, which picks up more dirt, and it can help you notice places that you might not have paid as much attention to when you did vacuumed your usual way.
- Vacuum against the traffic pattern. If people tend to walk in a certain direction, vacuum the other way, or at a 90° angle to it. This works well when I can manage it, but it's awfully awkward in halls and narrow spaces.
- Vacuum before carpet cleaning. This will keep your carpet cleaner from getting clogged up with cooties, and it will give it a better chance of picking up dirt that the vacuum can't reach.
- Vacuum after carpet cleaning. After the carpet has dried, give it special attention with the vacuum for a few days. Carpet cleaning brings deeply embedded dirt to the surface, and if the carpet cleaner didn't pick it all up, the dirt will remain on the surface until it gets ground in again—or until it's vacuumed up. Also, if there is any soap residue left in the carpet after cleaning, it will attract dirt.
- Clean your vacuum. Clean all the hairs and strings out of the beater bar, and clean out the filter. If you have a bagless vacuum, clean it out thoroughly and frequently.
- Change the bag frequently, if your vacuum has a bag. If your vacuum doesn't have an indicator, you can tell by a strong dusty or vacuum-y smell that it's time. If your vacuum loses suction or starts leaving behind lumps of dust, it's definitely past time.
Do you have any tips for vacuuming?