VACUUM CLEANERS... Best Friend to Your Floors

A regular maintenance program extends the life of carpeting and helps it retain that “just installed” appearance. One of the most important aspects of any carpet care program is vacuuming.

Today’s carpet fibers are designed to hide soil and reflect light. Therefore, soil on carpeting is not nearly as noticeable as it is on hard surface flooring, where soil remains on the surface and can be seen readily. The ability of today's carpet fibers to hide soiling is a positive feature for most consumers. However, the lack of visible soiling does not eliminate the necessity of regular cleaning.

Most dry soil has razor-like edges that abrade carpet fibers. Dry soils can cause tiny cuts in the fibers, which allow more places for soil to hide. These cuts also give carpet a dull appearance because the cuts reflect light differently. Soil can damage the fibers permanently if allowed to remain in the fibers.

Basic Vacuuming

A good maintenance plan includes frequent vacuuming of the areas that receive the most use, such as hallways, stairs, exterior entryways, and traffic patterns throughout the home. Be sure to vacuum all carpeted areas at least twice each week.

Removing loose soil while it remains on the surface is important so that it is not worked into the carpet pile by foot traffic. Removing embedded soil is more difficult and time consuming than removing surface soil.

To best remove both surface and embedded soils, push the vacuum forward several feet in the direction of the pile in a slow, deliberate motion and then reverse direction. 

A slow pass against the carpet pile is more effective than several quick strokes. Heavy traffic areas may require multiple passes (forward and backward) to sufficiently extract embedded soil.

Vacuum Cleaner Selection

For maximum effectiveness, use a vacuum cleaner that has adjustable and rotating brushes that are able to loosen ground-in soil. It should also have an airflow strong enough to penetrate to the backing and extract small soil particles.

Note: Brushes may not be suitable for loop pile wool and other sensitive carpets. If in doubt, test vacuum in an inconspicuous location and only use a vacuum with brushes if no excessive fuzzing occurs.
The vacuum cleaner should have an enclosed, high filtration bag that limits particles circulating into the air.
For the best cleaning results, be sure to inspect the vacuum cleaner periodically to be sure it is functioning properly:

  • Keep brushes clean and replace them when worn.
  • Keep vacuum hoses and attachments free of obstructions that restrict airflow.
  • Inspect the vacuum head for rough edges or bent metal that may damage your carpet.
  • Inspect belts frequently to make certain they are working properly.
  • Always keep a spare belt for replacement as needed.
  • Follow the vacuum cleaner manufacturer's instructions, and change the vacuum bag when it becomes more than half full. As the bag becomes full, efficiency is reduced.

CRI Green Label

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has developed a program of testing and certifying vacuum cleaners that meet certain performance criteria. This “Green Label” program is designed to take some of the guesswork out of selecting a vacuum cleaner.

As part of the certification process, the vacuum cleaners must pass these three tests, developed by carpet manufacturers and vacuum cleaner manufacturers:

Soil Removal—The soil removal test requires that the vacuum cleaner must remove in 4 passes a satisfactory quantity of soil from the standard test carpet.

Dust Containment—The dust containment test evaluates the total amount of dust particles released into the surrounding air by the action of the brush rolls, through the filtration bag, and any air leaks from the vacuum cleaner system. This protocol specifies a maximum limit of allowable dust.

Carpet Appearance Retention—The test for appearance retention requires that the vacuum cleaner should affect the appearance of the carpet no more than a one-step change, based on one year of normal vacuum use.

To obtain authorization to display the official CRI Indoor Air Quality Testing Program Label or CRI Logo, vacuum cleaners must meet all of these standards.

For a list of the approved vacuum cleaners, visit and click on the link for “Care and Cleaning.”

Let Us Help

One of the greatest benefits of applying a protective treatment to new and existing carpets is that it makes the fibers less absorbent so fewer soils cling to the fibers. Because more soils stay on the surface, the carpet is easier to vacuum and stays cleaner longer.

With the latest in carpet and fabric protection chemistry and the most effective spot removal chemicals and procedures, your local Fiber-Seal Service Center is ready to help you design a maintenance plan that will keep your carpeting looking its best for many years to come.

On the Bright Side

As always, the experts of your local Fiber-Seal Service Center are just a phone call away when you need assistance with the care of fine interior textiles. As you can see from this article, we answer questions that are not even related to Fiber-Seal. If we don’t already have the answer, we’ll help find it for you!