Vacuuming is a chore most of us have to engage in too frequently to enjoy. It can be pretty crazy how quickly our carpets can collect dirt, dust and flecks of material as we go about our busy lives on top of it (especially for those of us with pets and kids). But just how often should we be vacuuming our homes for cleanliness?
We’ll explore some of the reasons why vacuuming is necessary, how frequently it should be done and what sorts of benefits are gained from the process itself.
Why should we vacuum?
The truth might gross you out a little bit. Taking human beings into account all by their lonesome, we shed over one million skin cells every day, most of which ends up in our homes. Though mostly harmless, leaving vacuuming off the chore list can allow these cells to accumulate, causing dust buildup and sometimes allergen aggravation. This number goes up incrementally with each additional member of the family too!
Microscopic bugs can be an issue too, even if you don’t see them. Though you may keep your home clean and tidy, bed bugs can still pose an issue for the uninitiated.
The size of a lentil, these nasty little insects feed on blood and will often lay their eggs in carpeting, where they can survive for months.
Vacuuming can help prevent the reproduction of these insects and get rid of them before they become a problem. Beetle grubs and moths can both foster their young in carpeting too, and even on hardwood and linoleum sometimes.
Both are frequently found in the home setting, and vacuuming frequently can control the issue before it becomes a major problem. It’ll help preserve your coats and cotton clothing, too.
Pets, no matter how cute and well-loved, are just as notorious for their contributions. Fur, dander and dirt tracked from outside can all accumulate in carpets and along the seams of hardwood.
While this can be unpleasant for many reasons, it can also pose a difficult problem for some. Severe allergies can develop from continued exposure to pet dander, creating an even larger issue. No one wants to give up Miss Whiskers over a quick once-over of the bathroom rug, right?
How often is enough?
Generally, once a week is frequent enough when it comes to vacuuming, but you may choose to do it twice a week depending on your home situation. The amount of people living in your home and if you have pets can determine if you need to clean more often.
The type of flooring can affect your decision too. Carpets can hold a lot of dust but don’t always look bad on the surface where hardwood floors can look dirty really quickly especially with pets that shed, leaving hair balls.
You might just concentrate on high-traffic areas such as bathrooms, bedrooms and doorways. A good go-over, slowly patrolling the sides and centers of the area, should take around 10 seconds per square foot and is plenty thorough enough to combat the contaminants hidden in your flooring. Leave the deep cleaning for when you have more time.
Which vacuum is best?
Most any vacuum will typically do the job, it’s mostly down personal preference and budget. The most popular type of vacuum used in the home setting is the upright vacuum, which boasts a more affordable price tag and the ability to go once over a spot and leave it thoroughly cleaned. It has a good sized dirt container so you don’t need to empty it often. They are usually corded and can be heavy to manoeuvre. Regardless, you will find that most homes have one in the cupboard.
Cylinder vacuums, which are an older technology, boast a lower once-over effectiveness but a much larger intake, meaning you’ll get more done quicker. Though upright and cylinder vacuums are the most popular due to their adaptability and heavy-duty action. Some of the older ones are bagged which can be better for allergies if it’s a sealed bag, because it encloses the dust. They are a bit easier to get into awkward places as the head is usually removable and you can replace it with other accessories, but I find it a bit hard on my back.
Cordless stick and hand-held vacuums
Cordless stick and hand-held vacuums can also help to get into tight spots and around corners where their larger counterparts can’t reach. They are usually quieter, lighter and easier for most people to handle. Often seen in hotel and restaurant settings handhelds can be recharged and get into spots like between couch cushions and around appliances. They don’t have a large dustbin so will need to be emptied more often and are limited in the amount of time you vacuum. This is definitely the way we are headed in the home vacuum alongside our final type.
Of course, there’s always the ever-entertaining robotic vacuum, too, which propels itself around the house by itself (much to our pets’ chagrin) and can be programed to clean over a period of time. Truly a herald of the times, these clever little gadgets feature many benefits their older counterparts don’t. They are small, quiet and can operate on a schedule, be controlled by remote control and get beneath places where other vacuums can’t (you don’t even have to move your couch!). Technology is improving all the time and you can even get robot vacuums that work with Alexa. Using voice control they will go and clean if you ask them to.(My kind of cleaning).
Many of these mainstream vacuums feature a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, which is a medical-grade filtration system capable of ridding the surface of bits of matter as small as 0.3 micrometers in diameter. Now that’s thorough!
The general consensus is that you should vacuum at least once a week. You can make it fun, in spite of everything, with a change of mindset – you’re getting exercise, occupying your mind and making your home look fantastic. You can make it a bit easier by choosing a lightweight cordless option or make it more automatic with a robot vacuum. No matter what type of machine you choose to employ, this is an important and beneficial chore that you can’t get away from so make it fun and embrace it.
Linda Stubbs is the writer of the blog BestRobotVacuumForYou. She is a retired administrator and decided to create a blog when back problems drove her to find easier solutions to essential chores. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for her latest blog posts.