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    Top Vacuums, Spot Cleaning & Carpet Care

        By Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate






Why is Vacuuming Your Carpet So Important?


Proper Care and Maintenance is the #1 main key to keeping your new carpet looking like-new longest!  


Vacuuming your carpet frequently and thoroughly is an absolute must if you want it to last as long as possible. 


Most folks don't vacuum enough, and this causes increased abrasion that makes your carpet lose its shine and wear-out more quickly than it should. 




The Carpet Professor Says...  


Most Carpets don't wear out, they "Ugly-Out!"


"Ugly-out" is a common term for a carpet that loses it's shine and mats down, especially in heavy traffic lanes.


Once your carpet fibers lose their shine, they start to look dull and ugly, and that makes your new carpet appear worn out. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to make your ugly, dull carpet look like new again. 


Dirt and grime is the key reason why carpet fibers lose their shine. It's the grit from embedded dirt and dust that grinds into the carpet pile that causes of the loss of carpet shine. 


Frequent vacuuming, and regular professional cleanings is the key to keeping your carpet looking like new as long as possible! 


Visit my Carpet Care Guide to learn how to make your carpet last years longer.




Question:  How Often Should I Vacuum? 


A. How many people live in your home? 


That's how many times you should vacuum each week, especially in high traffic areas, stairs, and in heavy traffic lanes! Do you have four people living in your home? Then you should vacuum your carpet about four times a week! Some folks might need to vacuum everyday! More people means more vacuuming. This is the minimum you should vacuum per week and more vacuuming may be necessary if you:


  1. Have active teenagers, or active children under the age of 5

  2. Have pets,

  3. Entertain often, 

  4. Live in a dusty or rural area, 

  5. Have allergies or asthma

  6. Live in a moist or humid climate


This means you should be vacuuming everyday. But vacuuming everyday won't help if you don't have a good quality vacuum or if your vacuum is not operating at it's peak efficiency. If your vacuum is not doing a good enough job, the dirt that penetrates the nap of your carpet will begin grinding away at the fibers. This leads to dulling of the color and matting and crushing of the pile, which in turn makes your carpet look worn out faster. And once your carpet starts looking dingy, nothing can be done to make it regain it's original like-new appearance. 


There's more to maintaining your carpet than just dealing with the problem of dirt and dust penetrating the nap of your carpet, small children and active teens can significantly increase the daily wear and tear on your carpets. Running, jumping, dancing, and other common activities are very hard on carpet. Rigorous activities force dirt and debris deep into the nap, often too deep for some older or less-powerful vacuums to remove.


This is why having a good quality vacuum with enough suction power is important. Abrasion is also a main cause of carpet wear. You can see the effects of abrasion most obvious in the hallways or other main traffic lanes. Carpet fibers can only tolerate a certain amount of abrasion before they show the effects. While diligent vacuuming won't undo damage caused by active kids, it will help reduce the damaging effects by removing the majority of gritty sand-like dirt and debris. 


Sliding heavy objects like furniture across the carpet can also be very damaging to carpet. It's better to lift heavy objects or use a dolly to roll items into place. Just like the skin on your knees, your carpet can get a "rug-burn" which can actually melt the carpet fibers causing permanent damage.



Which Vacuum Should I Buy?


Depending on the carpet style you buy, some carpet manufacturers might suggest that you use a vacuum without a beater bar or roller brush. They fear that carpet will become damaged by the revolving brushes. This is true with some Berbers and other looped style carpets. The carpet warranty will be void if you do not follow their carpet care instructions to the letter. 


Some carpet manufacturers warn against using a vacuum with too much suction and will not cover any carpet damage if this should happen. I think that if a carpet can be sucked apart with a vacuum, the carpet is not made very well and should be avoided. Who wants to buy a carpet that will fall apart just from using a good quality vacuum? Not me! 


There are many good quality vacuums available today and while I don't personally recommend any one model or brand in particular, I have a friend in the business who can help you make a wise and informed choice. You have to decide which vacuum will meet your needs and goals (and pocketbook!) 



Learn More About New Carpet Stain Warranties



FYI: In my own home....


I own a Dyson Vacuum. I cost me $549 at Bed Bath and Beyond. It has been a very useful and a very powerful vacuum for our family of four kids, including two black cats. 


Check your carpet warranty! Some carpet manufacturers say the Dyson is too powerful and can cause damage to the carpet pile. I think this is hogwash! Carpet manufacturers can deny any carpet defect claim they want and as they often do, most homeowners are usually left holding the bag, meaning that their claim is denied


It has easy to use attachments and my wife just loves it too. With four teens and two cats in the house, we needed a super duper powerful vacuum to deal with all the hair and tracked in dirt. 


Dyson has several new models to choose from, including models designed for homes with pets, that's the one I purchased for my family.  Be prepared to spend several hundred on a good quality vacuum because it's a wise investment. You have to consider the cost compared to the increased lifespan of your carpet. How much does new carpet cost? A good vacuum can literally help your carpet last years longer. Using a bad vacuum or not vacuuming enough can cause your carpet to lose half of it's intended life span. Ouch! 



The New High- Tech Vacuums


Gone are the days where all a vacuum had to do was suck up loose dirt. Today's new technology allows the vacuum to help clean the air, remove pollutants, pollen, mites, and even kill bacteria with the new UV light feature. Still, there are two main features that your vacuum must be able to perform well:


One: To beat and/or brush the carpet to help loosen dirt, dust and debris.  This is why it is important to have a beater bar / roller brush on your vacuum. Many canister type vacuums do not have a beater bar and therefore do not do a sufficient job of removing dirt.


Two:  To have sufficient suction to remove all the dirt and debris trapped in the carpet pile. The suction power of vacuums is determined by the motor amperage or amps. Older model vacuums used to get plugged up and lose suction power when the bag became full. New models now have a cyclonic effect that prevents the vacuum from losing it's suction power. 



Features, options, benefits and more... 


Beyond these two basic functions, every other added feature you may opt to have on your vacuum just makes using your vacuum more fun, easier to use, and makes you feel better about what it cost you. You don't have to spend more for features you don't need so consider your situation carefully. It's like buying a car, you can pay extra to get air conditioning if you want, but you may not need to if you live in Alaska. Here are some of the options you may want to consider having on your next vacuum:


  • Best Hepa filter

  • Cyclonic or wind-tunnel design

  • Extra powerful motor (measured in amps)

  • Bag-less design

  • Light-weight design

  • Extra Attachments

  • Self- propelled or power assist

  • Pet or animal-hair models

  • Fold-down models

  • Ergonomic designs


Vacuum Maintenance and Repair


No matter what the vacuum maker says in their ads, all Vacuums require regular care and maintenance and unless you can do this yourself, you need to have your vacuum serviced on a regular basis. In my home, my daughters all have long hair and it gets wrapped up around the roller brush / beater bar. I have to remove the hair several times a year.



Finding the right vacuum cleaner is very important. The best vacuum will have features that suit your needs as well as have the capability to do a good job of cleaning you carpets, furniture and other household duties. 

You need to have a vacuum that is simple and easy to operate and has the features you need to help you get the job done properly and efficiently. I have found that if a vacuum is too complicated to use or too heavy, no one will enjoy using it. And if everyone in your household dislikes using it, your carpet will not get the deep-cleaning it requires. 



Your Vacuum, Carpet Care and Your Carpet Warranty!


You must follow your carpet manufacturer's carpet cleaning guidelines to the letter if you want to keep you carpet warranty in force. You can clean your carpets yourself if you keep all the receipts for cleaning solutions and detailed records. Before and after photos would be nice to have too. Otherwise, you should hire a professional to clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months. Keep the sales receipts! Read your carpet warranty and follow the carpet maintenance suggestions to the letter. Visit my Carpet Care Guide to learn how to make your carpet last years longer.




Alan's Preferred Carpet Dealers


It's hard to find a reputable carpet dealer these days! I have built a special list of hand-picked carpet retailers who are locally owned, give free estimates, offer fair prices, have knowledgeable staff, provide honest measuring and hire qualified installers. See who I recommend near you!


Should I Choose New Carpet or have my Old Carpet Cleaned?


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