Vacuuming: It is a rather simple job in terms of the actual mechanics of it. Rather, it is a time where knowing your equipment and how to best choose it that is the key to successful and efficient cleaning.
Things you will Need:
Vacuum: It is about choosing the right vacuum. While there are a number of different units on the market each offering different features and differing prices the general features to take into consideration are:
Suction bags: Be it a fabric sack or paper bags that can be disposed of the traditional vacuum uses a ‘catcher’ to filter the dirt. This needs to frequently be emptied. If the bag gets a hole it can have an effect on the suction, so be careful. Paper bags are typically thrown away after use, and are relatively cheap but still represent an ongoing cost. Fabric bags need to be beaten free of dust after use.
Chamber: Does not use a bag to catch the dirt and dust, rather uses a series of chambers and filters to catch it. Typically easier to empty of dust they also offer better suction efficiency. That said they come at a cost that is usually higher.
Vacuum heads: the part of the vacuum that actually contacts the floor. There are many different types. Standard heads will often have the option to fold out bristles that allow you to vacuum hard floors easier. There are also ‘power heads’ that increase the suction power of the head [especially good for pet hair and other stubborn dust] but typically make vacuuming a more physically exerting task.
Vacuum fittings: Novelty nozzles for the head that allow for access to corners, miniature heads for upholstery and even hoses that can extend from the unit for more flexibility when it comes to cleaning. All of these are useful but often come at a general increase in cost.
Vacuum power: Vacuums at the end of the day are about suction. A more powerful engine allows for more suction. While there are secondary factors like whether there is a bag or chamber and the type of head attached a safe enough bet is usually ‘the stronger the better’. If you are working with a budget then you need to make sure you balance features with power.
Things to Keep in Mind:
Vacuums are noisy but that is also a way to keep track of the condition of your vacuum. Often jams or a full bag will cause for a change in the sound of the suction.
Although you will be tempted to suck up small items like coins and thumb tacks keep in mind that once inside your machine they can wreak havoc, ripping your bags or cracking the plastic inside the machine. Cracks and air leaks can considerably lower the efficiency of your unit.
Vacuuming: Start by clearing the area. Make sure that any small items like coins and even small toys like marbles are removed. For larger items it is at your discretion: generally you can clean around them but shifting things like chairs away can make it a lot easier to clean.
It is advised you do the vacuuming last after doing the dusting so that any dust that fell on the floor can just be vacuumed right up.
Make sure that whichever powerpoint you use for your machine it lets you reach every part of the room. Between rooms change points as necessary. Losing your rhythm mid room can put you off.
Generally the more times you go over an area the better the results. Also keep in mind that the slower you go the more efficient the stroke will be. Strokes should go backwards and forwards as opposed to side to side or in curves, as the suction works better due to the shape of the head and tube fitting point.
For the head of the vacuum to generate maximum suction it has to make full contact with the carpet. If the area is too narrow [like stairs] or you are angling it so the head is not fully touching, then you will lose power. While this will make it easier to vacuum it will not achieve anything. Similarly there is a pressure valve on many vacuums that makes vacuuming easier but at the cost of effectiveness.
Make sure you never let your bag or chamber get too full, as once it is full more dust is likely to make it into the exhaust filter and simply blow throughout the room. In the same vain you should also clean the filters before you use the machine to get rid of gathered dust.
Use different nozzles for the different areas if you have access to them. The long thin, knife like fitting is perfect for along the corners. The smaller heads create better suction on flat areas so are perfect for upholstery or stairs.
How Often Should it be Done? Carpets that see a lot of use like hallways and lounge rooms should be vacuumed weekly as a minimum. If there is someone with allergies or asthma this can be a necessity for general comfort and health reasons.
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