Frequent vacuuming is one of the most important factors to maintaining the appearance of any carpet. Without frequent carpet maintenance, home owners can expect the highly used areas to show heavy traffic patterns much sooner than expected or necessary. Unfortunately, home owners often do the minimum maintenance vacuuming required in the low traffic area, across the entire carpeted area and expect this will be enough. While vacuuming once a week may be sufficient in low traffic areas, it is often not adequate for high traffic areas and areas with pivot points. These areas need more frequent vacuuming to maintain their appearance.
Vacuuming is not just picking up dirt, it is also “grooming” of the carpet. Grooming refers to lifting, brushing, and separating the carpet yarn tufts. This is why it is necessary to vacuum more frequently in high traffic areas than in low traffic areas even in low soil areas. For example, in a two story home, the upstairs hallway may not get much soil since most is tracked off down stairs. But being a hall way, it is likely to get a lot pounding from high foot traffic. This concentrated traffic continually presses the fibers down. Add the twisting motion of the foot in those areas where traffic changes directions and over time it will cause the fibers to tangle together and actually hold each other down. Once started this problem becomes progressively worse. Below are photos from an actual home. The one on the left is an area of low traffic showing normal carpet fibers standing up while the one on the right shows a high traffic area which has not been properly maintained by the home owner. Notice how the fibers are tangled and no longer standing up.
Beginning to see high traffic areas which do not look like the low traffic areas is not a manufacturing defect, but is a sign of not vacuuming often enough in the high traffic areas. Many home owners do not heed to this visual warning. They most likely continue to walk on those areas which have not been properly maintained. This causes more and more of the carpet fibers to be forced down to the point a normal vacuum cleaner can’t lift them. This in turn traps more dirt and soil. The photo below shows an area in a door way which is showing definite signs of needing a good cleaning.
It is recommended that you should vacuum at least once a week with a good quality vacuum cleaner which has a beater/brush bar. But, remember the more foot traffic, the more often the need to vacuum. A general recommendation for how often to vacuum is:
high-traffic or pet areas = vacuum daily
medium-traffic areas = vacuum twice weekly
light-traffic areas = Vacuum weekly
Vacuuming carpets as often as needed based on area traffic and usage and ensuring the vacuum unit is in good working condition can extend the appearance life of today’s carpets.