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What makes a Vacuum Good at Cleaning Carpet?

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

Welcome class! In todays lecture I'm going to cover what makes one vacuum better than another at deep cleaning carpet. NO, THE ANSWER IS NOT SUCTION!


I'll never forget the day that I was trying to educate a customer on how a vacuum cleaner cleans carpet and she responded back with "I don't believe you, I'll need to do further research." It was at that very moment, I realized that most of my customers don't really know how a vacuum truly works. They have been led to believe through deceptive advertising that it was some work of magic or perhaps it was the new patented vortex turbo clean max 1000 technology paired with the flux capacitor that would clean their carpeting unlike anything they tried before. But alas I digress, how a vacuum deep cleans a carpet is rather simple and yet most people don't realize whats happening. Perhaps thats why you clicked on this blog, you want to learn how it cleans or what to look for when purchasing a vacuum because the last one you owned didn't seem to perform all that well. If that is the case you came to the right place! By the end of this blog you will know exactly what to look for so you will never be fooled by deceptive vacuum advertising again!


Before we begin, let's look at this advertisement and see if you can spot a clue or two.


"It BEATS ... as it Sweeps, as it Cleans." I like that even 100 years ago they needed to emphasize that the vacuums job is to "BEAT" the carpet. Let's look a little further down in this ad, ahh yes another clue, "Positive Agitation." That right class, the secret to how one vacuum cleans better on carpet than another has nothing to do with suction, when rather it's about how well the vacuum beats your carpet, how well it agitates your carpet, this is what makes the difference between a good performing vacuum cleaner and a bad performing vacuum cleaner.


So how does a vacuum beat your rug/carpet? Excellent question my young Padawan!


Just like the image above, beating the carpet/rug allows the dirt that is hiding deep in the carpets' pile to lift to the surface so the wind/suction can carry it away. A vacuum cleaner essentially is just an electric motorized version of the process happening above, wind and all!


We refer to the spinning brush thingy in the nozzle of your vacuum as the "brush-roll," roller-brush" or wait for it, the "beater-bar." This brush is spinning on average around 6,500 rotations per minute which in turn is agitating/vibrating your carpets fibers. This process makes the dirt "dance" to the surface, so your vacuum cleaners' suction can collect it and transfer it to the bag or dust bin.


Here is a really neat video of sand "dancing" to sound waves.

Now that you have watched that video, check out this one of the Riccar model R40P. See if you can spot the similarities.


So now that you understand that carpet cleaning really is all about beating/agitating the fibers, you might ask what makes one vacuum better than the other?


Look at the photo below and see if you can spot the difference between the two brush-rolls/beater-bars.


The brush-roll in the top of the image is one that is used in the majority of Sebo vacuums, the brush-roll on the bottom is from a Dyson DC07/14. The length, thickness, and stiffness of the brush is what makes one vacuum cleaner better than the other. Unfortunately most if not all vacuum cleaner manufactures don't give you the brush-roll specs so you'll have to do your own research or just visit your local vacuum cleaner store. Hey now there is a revolutionary idea, you could visit your local vacuum cleaner store for vacuum cleaner information.


There you have it, that is everything you need to know about vacuum cleaning agitation. Now step away from the computer my young vacuumers, leave the house, go out in the world and visit your local vacuum shop, educated, and ready to buy the perfect cleaner for your home!


Bonus Video! Here is a side by side example of a Dyson DC07/14 vs Riccar Tandem Air Upright.




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