How to Vacuum Every Room in Your Home

Young woman vacuuming beige carpet in living room

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 2 hrs

A vacuum cleaner suctions up the dust and captures it for disposable while a broom often scatters more dust around the room. When wall-to-wall carpeting became a design choice in homes, a vacuum cleaner became an essential tool for housekeeping.

Once you learn how to operate your particular vacuum model, the rest seems pretty simple. However, are you correctly vacuuming each room to leave it as clean as possible? Proper vacuuming all depends on the type of flooring in the room. This article will provide step-by-step instructions on vacuuming rooms with wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs, and hard surface flooring.

Before You Begin

No matter the room or type of flooring, these vacuuming principles should be followed for the best cleaning results. While we all skip some of the "rules" when there is a time crunch and only hit the center of the floor when guests are on the way, try to follow these suggestions as often as you can.

Use the Right Type of Vacuum

Are you using the right vacuum for the type of flooring in your home? For example, a vacuum head with a beater bar is the best choice for cleaning carpeting; but a beater bar that cannot be disengaged can damage hard surface floors. Before purchasing a vacuum, consider the type of accessories available, the flooring in your home, and your lifestyle.

Read the Operating Manual

Not every vacuum is the same. Take time to read the operating manual and learn what your vacuum can do and how to use the accessories.

Master the Use of the Accessory Tools

Manufacturers include all of those attachments because they can make a big difference in how well you can clean a room. Keep the accessories at hand when vacuuming a room and learn how to properly use them.

  • Crevice tool: It has a small narrow opening that is used to clean along the edges of a room, particularly between carpeting and the baseboards. It is also helpful in cleaning under sofa and chair cushions, narrow windowsills, and corners of a room.
  • Upholstery brush: A small soft-bristled brush that is handy for capturing dust on upholstery, around furniture legs, drapes, and window blinds.
  • Powerhead: Containing a beater bar, the powerhead attaches to a vacuum hose and is more narrow than the regular vacuum head. It is ideal for cleaning carpeted stairs and upholstery.

Start With a Clean Vacuum

The vacuum should be kept clean and in optimum working condition. A vacuum cannot perform well when it is filled with dust and dirt. Always empty the dust bin into a trash can before you begin and never allow the disposable bag to get more than half full. Check that the beater bar or roller brush spins freely. There should be no strings, hair, or fur wrapped around or clinging to the brush. Use your hand to feel for strong suction. If there isn't good suction, check hoses and vents for any blockages or small holes that reduce suction.

Get the Room Ready for Vacuuming

To save time, cut down on additional work, and avoid frustration, get the room ready before you begin vacuuming.

  • Dust the room first from the ceiling fans to the baseboards so the dirt can be vacuumed away. Dusting after vacuuming means you may need to vacuum the floor again.
  • Remove clutter from the floor. Pick up toys, shoes, and pet beds.
  • Move furniture away from walls. Move lightweight pieces like end tables or small chairs to a new spot, so you can clean the floor underneath them and then move them back as you vacuum.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with accessory tools
  • Dust mop
  • Trash can

Materials

  • Electrostatic duster
  • Disposable vacuum bags (optional)

Instructions

How to Vacuum a Room With Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Follow the recommended steps of preparing the vacuum and the room before starting to vacuum.

  1. Start at One Edge of the Room

    Begin vacuuming by using the crevice tool to clean the seam between the carpet and the baseboard. This will remove trapped dust and prevent a dark line of soil from appearing.

  2. Adjust the Vacuum Settings

    Once the edges are clean, switch to the beater bar or roller brush setting on the vacuum. Adjust the vacuum head height to match the type of carpeting. It should make contact with the surface of the carpet fibers but not crush them. If the setting is too high, the beater bar will not reach down to the carpet backing and remove embedded dirt.

  3. Work Slowly and in a Grid

    A vacuum needs time to both loosen and suction away the dirt. Work slowly in long, smooth strokes. Most vacuums need at least two passes over a carpet to effectively remove soil.

    Start along one wall and slowly move to the opposite wall. Overlap the next pass slightly until you have covered the entire area. If you have worked north to south, repeat the action along the east to west walls. This will ensure that the entire carpet surface has been vacuumed twice, capturing more soil.

    For vacuuming under furniture like large sofas or beds that cannot be easily moved, vacuum as far as possible under the piece with the vacuum or switch to the hose with the powerhead attachment.

    Tip

    If it has been some time since you did a thorough vacuuming job, empty the dust bin or disposable bag into a trash can when it becomes half full. Your vacuum will perform more efficiently with a clean dust collection bin or bag.

How to Vacuum Area Rugs

  1. Vacuum the Area Rug

    After adjusting the vacuum setting to fit the pile of the area rug, vacuum it slowly following the length of the rug and then again along the width of the rug so the surface is vacuumed twice.

  2. Roll up the Rug

    Ideally, the rug and any pad underneath should then be rolled up and set aside to vacuum the flooring underneath. If the area rug is on wall-to-wall carpeting, vacuum the entire room before putting the area rug back in place.

    For hard surface floors, vacuum or dust mop to remove grit that has accumulated under the area rug. This will protect your floor from scratches and damage.

    Replace the rug.

How to Vacuum Hard Surface Flooring

Hard surface flooring includes hardwoods, luxury vinyl plank or tile, laminate flooring, vinyl, ceramic tile, concrete, and stone.

  1. Prepare the Room

    Follow the same preparation rules as you would when vacuuming a carpeted room.

  2. Use the Right Type of Vacuum Head

    To prevent damage to hard surface flooring, you should not use a vacuum with the beater bar engaged. It can scratch or even dent some hard surface floors. The vacuum should have a fabric-covered roller or a flat floor head attachment without a spinning brush.

    Beater bars not only damage hard surfaces but they also sling dust and debris around the room rather than quickly suctioning it away.

  3. Follow a Pattern

    Since hard surfaces don't cling onto loose dirt as easily as carpet fibers, you only need to vacuum the surface once. However, it is still important to start along one edge of the room, vacuum slowly, and work in a grid pattern to make sure the entire room is cleaned.

    Use the vacuum cleaner attachments to clean corners and under and around the furniture,

  4. Dust Mop or Vacuum?

    Many flooring manufacturers recommend dust mopping only for hard surface floors. For small spaces like bathrooms, closets, or under furniture, you will probably find a dust mop easier to use than a vacuum.