How Often Should You Vacuum?

Pink vacuum passing over ruffled rug on wooden floor

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Every household has its standards when it comes to cleanliness. A bit of clutter and a few dust bunnies aren't a big deal to some while others can't sleep until everything is spic and span. However, if you've ever wondered just how often you should vacuum to keep each type of flooring in your home in tiptop shape and maintain hygienic conditions, we have the answers.

Floors of all types collect dirt from outside sources like debris created by pet dander, the shedding of human skin cells, and dust mite excrement. Not only is a dirty floor unsightly, allowing excessive grit and grime to accumulate can permanently damage the finish on flooring and wear out rugs and carpets prematurely. Excessive dust and bacteria can be detrimental to your respiratory system and food particles can encourage the growth of mold and mildew.

While floors can be cleaned by sweeping with a broom or a dust mop, a good vacuum is the best tool to maintain a spotless look. Most vacuums can be adjusted to properly clean carpets and rugs as well as hard surface floors, and a good vacuum will trap the dust so it is not spread into the air only to resettle.

How Often Should I Vacuum?

Vacuuming frequency is highly dependent on the number of people in the household, your jobs (farmers' boots bring in much more soil than someone's shoes who does computer work from home), and the type and number of pets. However, the basic rule of thumb is that carpeted floors and rugs should be vacuumed at least twice weekly and hard surface floors like tile, hardwood, laminate, and vinyl should be vacuumed at least once per week.

If you have furry pets, all carpets and floors should be vacuumed daily to capture dander, dust, and dirt. Rooms that receive high traffic like entryways, living areas, and kitchens may require more frequent vacuuming; while guest rooms or formal dining rooms will be fine with weekly cleaning.

Type of Flooring How Often to Vacuum Reason
Carpets and Rugs Twice weekly* Carpeting and rugs collect much more soil and dust than hard surfaces. The longer dust accumulates, the deeper it becomes ground into the fibers making it much more difficult to clean the carpet. Eventually, the accumulation of soil will damage the fibers and backing of the carpet.
Hard Surface Floors
Hardwood
Vinyl Flooring
Ceramic Tile
Stone Flooring
Laminate Flooring
Weekly* Hard surface flooring does not capture and hold onto dust and loose soil as easily as carpet. However, the soil can accumulate in corners, grout lines, and crevices and should be removed weekly. The loose soil can also scratch some hard surface flooring and leave permanent damage.

*All types of flooring in homes with furry pets should be vacuumed daily.

8 Tips for More Efficient Vacuuming

  1. While area rugs should be vacuumed twice weekly, don't forget to remove them and vacuum the flooring under them weekly.
  2. Select the best type of vacuum for the majority of the flooring in your home. Canister vacuums are usually more efficient in collecting soil from hard surfaces, while rugs and carpeting are better cleaned with an attachment or upright vacuum with a beater bar to loosen the soil.
  3. Frequently clean your vacuum so that it operates at full capacity.
  4. If you have a multiple-story home, keep a vacuum on each floor, if possible. This will encourage more frequent cleaning.
  5. Choose a vacuum with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to trap as much dust, dander, spores, and bacteria as possible. A HEPA filter will collect many more particles than a regular vacuum and prevent them from redepositing on floors and other surfaces like upholstery.
  6. Take advantage of all of the features your vacuum offers. Adjust the vacuum head height on upright vacuums to match the type of flooring. This will give you better suction and trap more soil. Engage or disengage the beater bar depending on the type of floor surface. Leaving the beater bar engaged while cleaning hard surface floors can result in dents and scratches.
  7. Vacuum slowly to trap more soil. Move the vacuum several feet ahead of you and pull it back toward yourself following the same path. As you move to a new area of the floor, overlap the paths. Work in one direction of the room (east to west) and then repeat at a 90-degree angle (north to south).
  8. If your vacuum is broken, sweeping and dust-mopping hard surface floors and cleaning carpets and rugs by beating, scrubbing, or using a carpet sweeper will protect them until you can get the vacuum going again.
Pink hand-held vacuum cleaning roof corner

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida