Vacuum: How Often?

Vacuum Cleaning Your Home is Essential for Good Health

If you feel like most of us then vacuum cleaning your home is an arduous chore and time consuming task. There are a million things you’d rather be doing. But even if you’re not motivated by the prospect of exercise as you drag the vacuum around your home, consider the other health benefits that a clean carpet can provide.

Health Benefits of Vacuum Cleaning

When you vacuum, you’re not simply cleaning your house or apartment for appearance’s sake, you’re also safeguarding the health of yourself and your family.

There are dozens of tiny microbes constantly floating around, which can cause a lot of problems for people with asthma and inhalant-related allergies such as hay fever. Dust mites, bacteria, and mould attack an asthma sufferer’s respiratory system, making them wheeze, have difficulty breathing, and cough violently at night. When people with allergic rhinitis (otherwise known as hay fever) come into contact with dust mites, they experience all the discomforts of a bad cold: coughing, chest congestion, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. Accumulation of pet hair and dander (dead skin cells that animals shed regularly) can cause people with pet allergies to experience nasal, respiratory, or skin symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and rashes.

Infrequent or incomplete vacuum cleaning can cause severe reactions in people who are sensitive to pet dander, dust, and other debris that accumulates on carpets and rugs. Regular and thorough vacuuming is a must. Even though it’s not possible to completely sanitize carpet fibres, proper attention can reduce the likelihood of a symptom outbreak.

How often should you vacuum?

Before we answer that question here are some interesting facts about the amount of microbes that can build up in the home and they may surprise you:

  • People lose nearly 1,000,000 skin particles every 24h
  • 50 to 100 strands of hair are lost from the average human head every day
  • The allergens adhering to dog and cat fur can maintain their strength for months

Aside from looking nice in your home, carpets and rugs actually perform a variety of useful functions such as trapping many of the airborne contaminants mentioned above and keeping them out of the air you breathe in. The problem is that they don’t have any means of getting rid of these captured particles afterward: physical removal is necessary.

Home experts recommend that carpets and rugs be vacuumed at least two times a week, and more often in high-traffic areas. If pets are in the home, daily vacuum cleaning is strongly recommended to remove dirt, hair, dander, and the smaller microscopic allergens that are invisible to the naked eye.

If you don’t vacuum frequently, dirt can be ground into the rugs and carpets, making them harder to clean the next time you call in a professional. Vacuum the dirt away as much as possible to keep it from attaching to the carpet and being ground into the fibres over time. It is much harder to properly clean a carpet if there’s too much ground-in soil, and over time the covering will actually become discolored and an eyesore as well as a health hazard.

Best vacuuming cleaning techniques

Surprisingly, most professional carpet cleaning companies fail to vacuum before commencing a more in-depth process. They’re trying to save time, but in the process they are weakening the effectiveness of their cleaning job.

Here are some guidelines on the most effective vacuum cleaning methods.

  • Don’t rush things. Experts say that 80% of a vacuum job’s effectiveness comes when pulled back as opposed to pushed forward.
  • Vacuum in multiple directions to loosen dirt and other contaminants and keep the carpets and rugs from looking worn.
  • Check your vacuum cleaner’s belts and brush bars regularly for trapped hairs and clean accordingly.
  • Use a HEPA-type bag or filter if you can, as they do a good job of containing the finer particles of dirt.

Some experts warn that certain vacuum cleaning machines and improper techniques can be hazardous to your health. All of them release dust and allergens back into the air during use, but machines equipped with HEPA (high efficiency particle air) filters will release less dust, allergens, and bacteria into the air than those that do not use them. In general, these filter types trap more contaminants than they release, and many manufacturers claim that HEPA filters eliminate 99.9% of bacteria, pollen, and dander from the air.

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