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To Vacuum or not to Vacuum, How Often is the Question?

To Vacuum or not to Vacuum, How Often is the Question?

I received a call the other day from a lady in Harborne inquiring as to how often she should vacuum her carpets. This interesting question, asked by concerned homeowners is one we address on a regular basis. Experience indicates that most people were either concerned about vacuuming for hygiene or in other cases they wished to protect their investment in a newly purchased carpet, by prolonging its life.

Each home is different with regard to their carpet maintenance needs. Some homes operate a no shoes policy while others have pets, some are away from home all day, others have children. These and other variables help to give us a good indication as to how often we should be vacuuming.

A lot of research and detailed analysis has gone into the composition and pollutants that make up the soil found in our carpets. However without being boring and going into scientific analysis here is a brief look at what’s in our carpets.

The majority of soil found in carpet is dry, insoluble particulate matter, made up as follows –

  • Tracked-in gritty particles make up approximately 55%.
  • Animal fiber from people, pets and fabrics comprise about 12%.
  • Vegetable matter and fiber from fabrics, indoor plants, lawn trackings and paper products make up about 12%.

These combine to make up 79% of the soil found in carpet fibres

Dry soil because of its sandy gritty nature is often abrasive and can harm carpet fibres if not removed. Under the pressure and movement of foot traffic, these particulate soils can scratch and cut carpet fibres causing them to become dull and lifeless. Abrasive soil is the major cause of carpet wear.

Having analysed the composition of the soil in our carpets we can now look at some of the factors which influence the amount of soil which is present. As a starting point and a general rule we need to establish how many people live in our home? That will give us an indication as to how many times you should vacuum each week especially in high traffic areas, stairs and heavy traffic lanes. Do you have four people living in your home? Then you should vacuum your carpet approximately four times a week. More people means more vacuuming.

Keep in mind that establishing your vacuuming frequency based on the number of people sharing your home is only a general rule and is a minimum starting point for high traffic areas. Consider hallways, door entrances, living rooms and other areas where your family spend most of their time as the high traffic areas. More frequent vacuuming may be necessary if you –

  • Have pets.
  • Have active teenagers.
  • Have toddlers or young children
  • Entertain friends regularly.
  • Live in a rural area.
  • Have allergies or asthma.

Now, a lot of us like to think we can see when our carpets need vacuuming and when they don’t, however when soil becomes visible the carpet by then has become saturated with soil and other containments. This is commonly referred to as a filthy carpet.

Most dirt particles don’t stay on top of the carpet fibres, but will work their way down to the base of the carpet where they are not visible. This means you’re your carpet behaves like a giant filter absorbing dirt, soil, sandy grit and pollutants which are not immediately visible. As time goes by the process is accumulated and the time you see the evidence the damage to the carpet fibres has already started to take effect. Another good reason for regular vacuuming is to help combat filtration soiling, which we discussed in a previous blog.

Vacuuming several times a week won’t help much if we are not using a good quality well maintained vacuum cleaner. If our vacuum cleaners are not operating at peak performance then all we are doing is removing the top layer of dirt, which happens to be the lightest. The heavier sandy grit type is left behind, and this is the type that does the damage to your carpet by grinding away at the fibres. It also makes good practice to empty the vacuum bag as soon as it reaches half to three quarter full.

At Oran Cleaning we are able to check the efficiency of any vacuum cleaner against our commercial vacuum cleaner. A simple test involves taping off an area of carpet and having this area vacuumed by the vacuum cleaner to be tested. Next we attach a see through filter chamber on to our machine and we re-vacuum that same area. The filter chamber is designed to hold any collected material prior to it entering the main vacuum bag. The amount of material contained represents the difference in efficiency between the two vacuum cleaners.

If you live in the Birmingham, Harborne, Edgbaston or Solihull area and you would like an opinion on vacuum cleaners or if you have any vacuum related concerns call Brendan on 0121 472 3349 as very we can advise over the phone.




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