Caring for your carpets / flooring

Consumers seek out floorcare products which meet their particular needs - those that pick up pet hair, clean a wooden floor, wash carpets etc. Increasingly, if they can't find one product to do that, they buy more than one. Nearly one in every three homes has two or more vacuum cleaners - an upright as the main cleaner for use on carpets, and a cylinder for stairs or upstairs levels and for hardwood or laminate floors. With people willing to branch out on vacuum cleaner purchases, whatvacuum.com has seen manufacturers introducing more feature-orientated appliances.

Certain machines are specifically for pet owners. They often feature robust hoses to shift stubborn pet hair. Some consider the needs of allergy sufferers, so models feature HEPA filters. There are 'all-rounder' type products for pet hair and different floor surface types - washing and vacuuming hard floors, tiles and carpets - with easy-fit heads for various surfaces.

These days, 50% of cylinders and 90% of upright models purchased are bagless. This means money-savings on bags and convenience, while easy-to-empty containers ensure an often unpleasant, dusty job is avoided. While deep cleaners, or carpet washers, are more sophisticated in terms of performance and onboard features and tools, and are growing in popularity.

Appliance design and colour are also other major considerations when buying a floorcare machine. Manufacturers are introducing appliances with quieter motors - and even robotic machines.

Take care

One of the most important features of your home, your carpets and flooring make the difference between it looking clean and fresh, or dull and tired. A wool carpet is best - its texture and resilience make it easy to clean, harder to dent and less prone to stains. Carpet wear and tear increases with amount of dirt/soil trampled into it. Dirt is a major offender.

Follow these steps to ensure the best care for your floor coverings:

  • Doormats reduce amount of soil transferred onto your carpet. Position at entrances, where a hard surface changes to carpet.
  • Take off shoes, wipe pet paws - before walking on carpet.
  • Vacuum at least twice-weekly areas where carpet receives heavy traffic, three times a week if you have pets.
  • Regular vacuuming prevents dirt build-up. Your carpet will be less clean the longer you leave it between vacuuming. Slow, firm strokes with the vacuum, backward/forward passes over same area are best.
  • Vacuuming doesn't remove all odours, so monthly sprinkle your carpet with baking soda before vacuuming (especially on your pet's favourite places).
  • Always clean up spills as they happen. Blot with clean, absorbent cloth - do not rub! Most dirt is removed if attended to quickly. Only when left to react does it become a stain.
  • Regular deep cleaning your carpet removes stains, brings back colour and life to your carpet.

Different floors

Our homes now have many different floor coverings, and different surfaces need different kinds of care so they continue looking great.

  • Solid wood floors Many people worry about using their vacuum cleaner on such a surface, but some manufacturers offer a parquet floor head specially designed for wooden floors. A floorhead with gentle horsehair bristles is ideal. With its sweeping motion over the surface, dust is brushed out of flooring cracks/joints - great for striped floorboards.
  • Loop pile carpet These need special attention. Do not pull free your loops. Use floor head which moves smoothly over surface.
  • Cut pile carpet Some have twist, some are velour (often deeper pile than other carpet types). A turbobrush floor head effectively works for this. A quickly rotating roller brush rotates when air is drawn through for deep down clean.
  • Stone/tiled floor Use a hard floor brush. Hard wearing acrylic bristles really good on flagstone floors. For gloss-tiled floors, a parquet floor head is best (more gentle).