The Good Housekeeping Research Institute's home care director, Carolyn Forté, offers advice on how to keep your vacuum and carpets in great shape.
1. What's the difference between a canister and an upright vacuum?A canister vacuum is generally more versatile. Like uprights, canisters handle carpets, but they're also great at cleaning bare floors, vacuuming stairs and sucking up dirt from corners.
2. Which is better — a vacuum with a bag or a bagless vacuum?Neither is better. The Good Housekeeping Institute tests show that both clean equally well. Which you buy depends on personal preference. Bagless cleaners save you the trouble of having to buy extra bags, but they can be messy to empty, and the filters and dust containers must be kept clean. While vacuums with bags keep dust and dirt contained, they are tricky to retrieve an earring or small object that gets sucked up accidentally.
3. Do more amps mean better cleaning?
If you're tempted to buy a model with the highest amps, horsepower or watts, you might want to think again. These numbers are simply measurements of the electrical current used by the motor. A vacuum cleaner's performance depends on airflow, the amount of suction it produces, and other factors including the overall design and attachments.
4. What are all the attachments for?
When you're vacuuming pile carpets and rugs, you should use the motorized power nozzle. But when you're cleaning bare floors and walls, it's best to use the wall/floor brush. To get dust out of drawers, heating and air-conditioning vents, and from under larger appliances, try the crevice tool. For mattresses, upholstered fabrics, curtains and car interiors, use the upholstery attachment. And to remove dust from blinds, lampshades and moldings, use the dusting brush.
5. How often should I vacuum?In an ideal world, an area that has heavy traffic should be vacuumed every day. But once or twice a week is more realistic with today's busy lifestyles and certainly enough for areas that aren't often used. For best results, slowly move the vacuum over the carpet several times, going back and forth and side to side in parallel rows.
6. How many times does a vacuum need to be run over a carpet to get it clean?Generally, you should use as many as seven strokes for high-traffic areas; three or four for lighter ones. If you're fanatical about dirt, consider buying a vacuum with a dirt sensor, which tells you when an area is clean.
7. How often should my vacuum-cleaner bag be changed? If your bag is filled to the indicator line, it's time to change it. Even though some vacuums have "check bag" indicator lights, it's best to check the bag yourself and change it when it's no more than three-quarters full. If you have a pet or you vacuum up fireplace ashes, you may have to change the bag more often. To be on the safe side, check the dirt level in the bag before each use.
8. How often should I change the filter on my vacuum? You don't have to change the filter as often as the bag. If the filter shows signs of wear, or is excessively dirty or torn, it's time to replace it. HEPA filters — ones that remove most dirt particles — should be changed after six months or after the sixth bag change. The owner's manual will tell you where the filter is located and will have recommendations for your particular model.
9. At what height should my nozzle adjustment be set? The level you set your nozzle at depends on the height of your carpet. For example, you would use the lowest setting for a low-pile carpet and a higher one for plush carpet. You'll only need to push your vacuum with a moderate amount of effort when you've selected the appropriate level.
10. When do I know it's time to replace the belt on my vacuum? If you think your vacuum isn't cleaning as well as it used to or the brush roll has stopped turning, it may be time to change your belt. First, shut off your vacuum and unplug its cord. It's not difficult to replace the belt as long as you have a screwdriver and a replacement belt. For instructions for your specific vacuum, refer to your owner's manual or call the manufacturer's service center.
11. What should I do if my vacuum cleaner isn't picking up dirt? First, give it a full inspection. To do so, turn the machine off and unplug it. Then, check to see if the belt is worn or broken, or if the roller-brush won't move. Also, look for a full bag or any blockage that might be affecting the power of the machine. Sometimes, new carpet can be a problem because it sheds more fiber and has a tendency to fill bags quickly and clog the air stream. If everything checks out and your machine still isn't working properly, bring it to a repair shop.
12. How do I vacuum an Oriental rug? Since Oriental rugs can be very fragile, you may have to use extra care when vacuuming them. Still, to keep them in peak condition, they should be cleaned often. If you're using an upright vacuum cleaner, it's best to turn off the agitator brush (if possible). When approaching the fringe, tip up the front slightly and push it completely off the carpet. This cleans the fringe without catching it in the rotating agitator brush. With a canister vacuum, use the bare floor brush for gentler cleaning of the carpet, and use an upholstery attachment for the fringe. Also, don't forget to periodically turn the rug over so you can vacuum its underside.
13. Is it bad for my carpet or vacuum to use powder fresheners? Provided you have a good vacuum, powders shouldn't be a problem. For the best pick-up, start with a clean bag. Since these powders can clog the bag, you'll probably have to change the bag afterward.
Pristine Carpet Cleaning- Rexburg, ID 83440