very adult eventually has to contend with the daunting task that is vacuuming–the right way! While it may appear a simple enough task, there is actually quite a lot to be kept in mind while vacuuming your home. For one, you will likely need to vacuum more than just your carpet. Something else to keep in mind is that the specific model of vacuum that you use will also play a role in your carpet's apparent "health."

Whether or not you are the owner of a new house/apartment, or you’ve just been assigned a job that is heavy on cleaning, and you're unsure of how to start, you are welcome here! 

Main Source: My father! 

The Basics of How to Vacuum

Cleaning has to be done. 

Vacuuming is an essential task that requires a little know-how. Your carpet is a massive feature of your house, and the state that it’s in will determine how comfortable and at home you feel in your space. So, take care of your carpet, and mind the few tips below. 

When to Vacuum 

A good rule of thumb to follow is that the number of people in the house should also be the number of times per week that you should vacuum, at minimum. Occasions outside of the norm that also arrive frequently, for example, might include: during xmas, or when you have a sheddy pine tree or plant in the house–in this case, vacuuming actually makes the vacuum smell nice. 

The Importance of a Vacuum

Buying a vacuum is mandatory. There is no other way to reliably and cheaply maintain your carpet. If you are looking to save money, you can purchase a used one. Otherwise, my father heavily endorses (not sponsored) Thinkvacuums.com. 

Not vacuuming can ruin your carpet. In as little as three weeks, you won’t even want to live in your place if you haven’t vacuumed. One of the first adult purchases in your life should be a vacuum (even if you live in the dorms and have hard flooring). Hard flooring still requires vacuuming–perhaps less than sweeping–but still, 

Your vacuum is not a precious purchase. Do not get too attached, don’t give your vacuum a name. Why? Vacuums are not that much money, and even if you use them constantly, they can last five to seven years. The cost is typically around one hundred and fifty dollars, even with a HEPA filter. 

NOTE: A HEPA filter accounts for super fine particles (like mold and spores). They sit near your regular filter, and are a great addition to any vac, especially if you live in a smaller space, such as a dorm or apartment. 

What to Do: 

Know your vacuum types and their uses. 

There are no shortcuts when it comes to vacuuming your house. Sprays and powders are a temporary fix, if that, and should be avoided. Finally, if you find your carpet’s condition beyond saving, a steam cleaning is required to bring it back to life. Do not attempt to vacuum your carpet if it is dirty/wet! 

The Right Vacuum: 

Using the right vacuum when going about your daily chores is key. 

Canister Vacuum: Needed for the stairs and baseboards, as well as for dusting. You can also use them on furniture because they have handy attachments. Can be used for hardwood floors. You can vacuum everything with a canister. (Use it for cars, furniture, the floor, the stairs–it is so handy and small!) 

Upright: Used for room carpets. Can only vacuum up the floor with this type of vac. You need an upright for a larger house, because a big room would take a very long time if you used a canister. 

NOTE: The canister is great for vacuuming up the couch. Just take off the cushions and vacuum in between! 


  • Be sure to set the height of your vacuum depending on what carpet type. 
  • Thinkvacuums.com.  is great, as they sell different brands, all bags and all parts. They sell canisters and uprights–with fast shipping too! 
  • Vacuum storage is simple. Store in the closet. 

The Method: 

Tight Carpets: Set your vacuum low so that it gets into the carpet. 

Plush Carpet: Set it high because you don’t want to damage the fibers. 

Certain carpets, if you vacuum with the nap, you can actually get the carpet to look new again. 

Nap: The way that the fibers lay on your carpet. Imagine mowing your lawn–there is a specific way that the grass goes. If you mow in a strange way, the lawn appears uneven. You should always vacuum according to the nap, like mowing–you can eyeball whether or not you are straightening it up or laying it down. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to vacuum according to the nap, you simply have to figure it out on your own. 

Canister Fullness

Vacuums either come with a bag or canister. Either will hold all of the dust, dirt, and earrings that you vacuum up. Be sure to change the bag often, and don’t just let it get full, because the fuller it gets, the less efficient the vacuum is. (This is less important in the case of the canister than with the bag). 

How can you tell that the canister is full? It’s relatively simple. With a canister, you may be able to see if it is full. A bag will likely feel full. But the most surefire way to tell that your vacuum is full is to determine whether or not it has started blowing dust out. If you smell dust and all your efforts appear to be making your carpet dirtier, the vacuum is not broken…The bag is full. 

NOTE: Remember to change your canister and bag regularly. 

NOTE: If you have vacuumed up something precious by mistake, perhaps an earring, you can simply take the bag out and search through it (not over your carpet, though!) to fish out the lost item. 

What to Avoid: 

Always avoid quick fixes! 

Vacuuming is not without its perils. Some people try to get “cute” or “fancy,”...to the detriment of their own carpet. Do not be fooled by fancy scented sprays and powders. Chances are, that if you need them, your carpet is due for a steam-clean, not a vacuum and spray. Additionally, under no circumstance should you vacuum something that is wet–whether that be your carpet or another piece of furniture. Wet things which are vacuumed quickly become smelly and need to be thrown out. 

Sprays and Powders: 

Don’t get cute by adding any scented powders after vacuuming–just vacuuming is enough (and don’t spray any sprays on your carpet either, unless you are trying to remove a stain). If your carpet smells strange, get it steam cleaned, and remember: scented powders and sprays are never the answer. 

There is a scented powder that you can buy that you can spread on your carpet and then vacuum up. Do not be tempted by this, it does not work. It is an absolute mess and a bad product! (Allegedly, according to my father).

The Wet 

If you mistakenly vacuum something wet (you cannot ever do this), note that it will become quite “funky” in a hurry. To remedy this, take the bag out, get rid of the bag, take the thing apart and let it air out…Otherwise it will become “gross.” 

NOTE: When I say you can’t vacuum up wet stuff, that includes your carpet. 

There is such a thing as a wet-dry vacuum. They are industrial and can suck up wet stuff, but that’s for a shop or garage–nothing a young homeowner will have on hand. If you spill food, do not vacuum it up–vacuums do not solve all problems–you will have to pick up these things by hand, soak it, and take care of it with carpet cleaners. Steam cleaners come in handy here. 

NOTE: You should steam clean your carpet once a year. 

ALSO NOTE: Can you vacuum up a smell? Not with a vacuum. Steam clean your carpet if you smell something. 

This is all to say…

Everyone loves a good vacuum. Right? 

…That vacuuming (whether you like it or not) is an essential part of your adult life. It is not something that you can skimp on, or do sparingly. Fortunately, the cost of vacuuming is relatively low (requiring only a vacuum and electricity. With a little knowledge and determination, you can knock out this chore easily, leaving your home prim and proper. While you may not like the frequency with which you must do it, if you take proper care in your work, you will find yourself in a nicely kept up apartment/house/workplace. 

Didn’t think a simple thing like vacuuming could be so complex? Neither did I, until I asked my dad. 

Oct 11, 2023