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So many vacuums. Which one to choose? Just like any other purchase, consider your needs in order to make the best decision. What types of floors are in your home? Do you have pets? Are you an allergy sufferer? Do you need something that's lightweight and easy to move from room to room or floor to floor? These are all important factors when determining which type of vacuum cleaner to purchase. This guide can help you figure out which vacuum is perfect for your home.
This is your "traditional" vacuum—the one Mom or Dad probably used to clean the carpet when you were a kid. So, what are the benefits of an upright vacuum cleaner?
Canister vacuums, or cylinder vacuums, are powerful models that are designed with the motor and bag in a separate canister unit (generally on wheels) connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. What are the pros of a canister vacuum?
Not all handheld vacuums are created equal! Some are designed for power, some for convenience. Here are some pros.
Smaller job? Look to a stick vacuum to take care of light-duty messes. Stick vacuums, also known as sweepers, are a good complement to a traditional vacuum. They're ideal when you don't feel like lugging out the full-sized model to clean up a small mess. So, why else a stick vacuum?
If you're just tired of vacuuming altogether, have a robot do it for you! Well, a robotic vacuum, anyway. Here's why you might love this cool gadget.
Pick up what vacuums leave behind and refresh your carpet. Remove dirt, spots, and stains with one of these cleaners. Most require some type of cleaning solution to loosen dirt and then suction it away. Here's some features to help you choose the machine right for your home.
Big mess? A wet/dry vacuum, also known as a shop vac, has the power to clean it up. These powerful vacuums were once relegated to workshops, garages, and basements, but more and more people are taking advantage of the wet/dry vacuum's versatility. Here are a couple reasons why you might want to have one around.
OK, now you know all about vacuums—so, what to clean with them? Vacuums are capable of cleaning far more than just carpets and flooring as you've read above. With all the attachments and accessories that most canister and upright vacuums come with these days, they've become very versatile cleaning tools for your entire home. Check out what else you can clean with a vacuum.
To bag or not to bag?
Bag vs. Bagless—which is better? Well, there really isn't a clear-cut answer. It comes down to matter of preference. Here's the dirt on both bagged vacuums and bagless vacuums.
What the heck does HEPA mean?
You've probably seen many vacuums advertised as having a HEPA filter. The High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters in HEPA vacuums effectively trap germs and other contaminants, causing them to die in the dry environment of the filter fibers. HEPA filter vacuums can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles by trapping contaminants like pollen, dust mites, dust, animal dander, smoke, mold, and other allergens that are 0.3 microns or larger, and removing them from the air; this can be very helpful for those who suffer from asthma or allergies. These filters also help prevent the spread of airborne bacterial and viral organisms. And let's not forget about pet hair! HEPA vacuums excel at ridding your home of that pesky fur. Watch out for imitations, though—not all filters are created equal! There are plenty of generic, HEPA-like filters out there, but an authentic HEPA filter displays its efficiency ratings right on the package. HEPA vacuum cleaners are usually pricier than other models, but if air quality is important to you, a HEPA vacuum might be worth the extra cost. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for changing your filter for the best possible performance.
What's a brush bar, and why should I know if my vacuum has one?
You're not alone in not knowing whether your vacuum has a brush bar. Some vacuums feature an on/off brush feature, which is a powerful cleaning option to have. So, what does this mean? When vacuuming hard surfaces, the vacuum's brush roll often pushes dust and debris away from the vacuum before it can be suctioned. By turning off the brush roll, the vacuum switches to a "suction-only" mode for fast, efficient cleaning of hard floors. This adds to your vacuum's versatility. Since you now have the built-in option of switching between hard-floor cleaning and carpet cleaning, you only need one vacuum for all your home's floor care needs! Also of note: if you're using the hose or other vacuum cleaner attachments, it's important to turn off the brush roll to prevent beating the carpet or hard floor in one spot.
How often should I vacuum?
The frequency of vacuuming is determined by the amount of wear your carpet gets. Areas can be classified into heavy and light traffic. This is based on the amount of "use" your carpet gets in these areas. For heavy traffic areas, vacuum the "traffic lanes" daily and the entire area twice weekly. In less frequently traveled areas, vacuum twice weekly.
Dirt and debris need to be removed to keep the carpet looking its best longer. Walking on dirty carpet allows the soil particles to work their way down into the carpet fibers, making it more difficult to remove and leading to possible damage. By vacuuming regularly, you'll remove these particles from the surface before they can get to the fibers and create a problem. To get the best possible results, be sure to vacuum the area slowly and go from side to side. Occasionally change your vacuuming direction to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
How many times should I vacuum a trouble spot?
For heavier traffic areas, give it a good five to seven passes. For less traveled areas, go over those spots three or four times. For best results, vacuum the area slowly, from side to side. Occasionally change direction to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting.
When do I replace my vacuum bag?
Check the dirt level in the bag before you vacuum. As previously mentioned, you'll get the best results if you change your bag when it is half or two-thirds full. Why? Small dust particles accumulate and can keep the air from circulating. This ultimately reduces the suction of your bagged vacuum cleaner. If you're vacuuming drywall dust, pet hair, other fine particles, or new carpet, you may need to change the bag sooner. Some bagged vacuums do feature an indicator that lets you know when the bag needs to be changed.
How do I know if it's time to change the belt or filter?
The belt may need replacement if the vacuum is not cleaning as well as it had before, or if the brush roll has stopped turning. With bagless vacuums, a clean filter is vital to maintaining peak performance. After several uses, filters get dirty and can clog, and this will lessen the vacuum's performance. Be sure to regularly clean and monitor your filters.
Why isn't my vacuum picking up dirt?
Shut down and unplug your vacuum and give it a good look. Inspect the belt for damage or to see if it's missing completely. If you have a bagged vacuum, make sure the bag isn't full; if you use a bagless model, make sure the filters are clean. Give the hoses and airflow areas a once-over to ensure there are no cracks or clogs. There could also be several other issues like a detached hose or worn brush bristles. If there's still a problem, consult your vacuum's manual for troubleshooting.
Flooring Types and How to Care for Them
You're now very knowledgeable about vacuums, so let's talk about all the types of flooring and how to care for them. Here you'll find information on different types of flooring and some ways to keep them looking their best.
Carpet: You've read about all the different types of vacuum cleaners; now you need to decide which one is best for your carpeted floors. Carpet, believe it or not, is one of the hardest floor surfaces to keep clean. They're thick and thin, delicate and durable, expensive and cheap, all different colors. So many variations. So many different ways to get dirty.
Rugs: It happens. Rugs get dirty. If the weather's bad or your kids or pets have been playing in the dirt, your rugs are going to suffer. When you need to clean your rugs, these vacuums are your best bet.
Wood Flooring: Hardwood floors are undeniably beautiful—but they're not as easy to maintain as other flooring because their smooth surfaces are very delicate. Wood floors should be cleaned frequently, especially in high-traffic areas, to keep them looking their best. Here are some tips on how to ensure your hardwood floors stay gorgeous.
Tile Flooring: Tile floors are pretty easy to clean, so if you have them in your home, consider yourself lucky! For smaller rooms or bathrooms, just a small handheld vacuum may be needed. They do a pretty effective job of getting into corners and tight spaces. For a larger area, like a kitchen, it might make sense to get an upright vacuum—cordless is a convenient way to go. Just make sure you get one with a powerful motor; otherwise, it'll just blow all the dirt around, which sort of defeats the purpose. It's always a good idea to sweep up larger debris and dirt with a broom before vacuuming. Below is a list of tile surfaces and other ways to keep them looking spectacular.
Laminate Flooring: Attractive and easy to clean, laminate flooring is similar to hardwood flooring in that there are many ways to maintain its beauty.
Natural Flooring: Most high-quality natural floor coverings, like cork, bamboo, linoleum, and other sustainable hardwoods, are fairly easy to maintain, thanks to a latex backing that prevents dust and debris from falling through. Here are a couple of ways to keep your natural flooring looking its best.