Dear Home Ec 101,
How often should you vacuum? I want to know to settle a debate, and I will have to vacuum my friend’s place if I’m wrong. And can you tell us WHY I’m right?
I May Be OCD, but at Least my Carpet Tracks are Straight
Friendly wagers on cleaning rules? Can we be friends?
Do you know my favorite part of living in my new place? Well, aside from being walking distance from some pretty cool restaurants and parks? NO CARPET.
That’s right, you heard me, I no longer have any carpet in my home. I have a couple of mats to catch the dirt the minions track inside, and I still let Gertie¹ take care of the floor most of the time. Yes, the human minions’ sweep, but that is more an exercise of my patience than an effective cleaning endeavor. Time will slowly swing that pendulum -I hope.
Learn more: Should I Dust Or Vacuum First?
I do not miss carpeting and the whole industry guideline to vacuum once per week per person living in the household. (And if you have a dog over, say 20lbs, go ahead and count them as a person, too).
Keep in mind this guideline doesn’t mean you need to move the couch every time you vacuum. Just vacuum the heavily trafficked areas of the home frequently, probably even more often if you have an infant or toddler because they will eat dust bunnies.
Why should I have to vacuum frequently?
Vacuuming helps reduce crush damage, and you know those areas of the hall where everyone rounds the corner in exactly the same place and obvious by the wear in the carpet? That’s crush damage. Over time, uncrushing the fibers helps. Your vacuum is the tool for the job.
Dirt is sharp and pointy, and everyone else stinks at wiping their shoes. Of course, you are perfect in every way and don’t track in a speck of sand or grit. All those other people? Well, the sharp bits of dirt they bring in on their shoes and feet cut the fiber of the carpet. A nick here, a nick there adds up over time.
Oils – of the body and pet kind. Know where Fido likes to lay? It’s probably a lot grungier than the rest of the carpet. Oils from the pet fur transfer to the carpet, and the dirt that doesn’t get sucked up by frequent vacuuming sticks to it. Deee-licious. And even your perfect feet sweat.
And finally, we’re back to our good friend, the dust mite. We’ve talked about dust mites in the past. Remember that the skin cells you -and every other living creature in your home- shed drift through the air and land as part of that layer of dust that eventually coats everything. Vacuuming helps keep that layer of dust from sifting down through the carpet and into the padding where dust mites believe they have died and gone to heaven.
So, do you have to vacuum as often as carpet manufacturers suggest? Nope. You don’t have to. You’re an adult and can make your own decisions.
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¹Her full name is Dirty Gertie, and yes, she is completely anthropomorphized in my imagination. I’m okay with that.