You Are Probably Vacuuming Too Fast

Generally speaking, there are two types of vacuuming: a few quick sweeps to pick up crumbs, spilled snacks, and visible dirt; and more thorough sweeping of the entire room while cleaning. Of course, a lot depends on the type of flooring in the room, and when it comes to carpet, the slower the better. In fact, even when you think you’re taking your time, you’re still probably vacuuming too fast. Here’s what you need to know.

What is “slow cleaning”?

TikTok has no shortage of cleaning hacks and before and after reveals, including a subset of posts with “slow cleaning” results. This is exactly what it sounds like: vacuuming the carpet much slower than you (probably) usually do, and then showing a previously empty canister full of dirt, dust and other debris.

But slow vacuuming is hardly new; in fact, this is how labour-saving devices were supposed to be used. Back in the early 20th century, when the first electric “sweepers” became available to consumers, they were designed to replicate (and replace) carpet beating.

The bristles of the rotating brush picked up dirt and dust, which were then sucked into a bag or canister. If you think of it in terms of carpet beating, slow vacuuming makes sense. You wouldn’t take the carpet outside (or put it out the window) and only hit it a few times and then close out the day – if you wanted to clean up as much dirt as possible, you’d spend more time knocking it out. .

How to properly vacuum a carpet

While modern vacuum cleaners are more powerful and much easier to control than earlier models, the overall concept remains the same – even for more expensive machines. For example, this is part of Dyson’s instructions for vacuuming carpets:

Slow vacuuming gives the airflow and the brush more time to “mix” the dust and dirt between the carpet fibers and remove them completely. It also means you’re more likely to catch invisible allergens hidden deep in the carpet pile.

So how slowly should you go? Really, it’s up to you and how much time you have and how much you want to spend vacuuming. Suggestions range from the same speed as a carpet cleaner, up to 15-20 seconds per square foot, to “let your vacuum cleaner stay on the carpet for as long as you can .”


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