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Match Your Tasks and Cleaning Style

There are a variety of different types of surfaces which need to be cleaned by your vacuum cleaner. To add to the complexity, there are weekly cleaning tasks, those special tasks which are done rather infrequently and also those which require daily time and attention. Therefore the vacuum cleaner industry has developed a variety of types of vacuum cleaners, some to do a broad range of tasks as well as those which specialize in doing only one or two tasks extremely well.

Matching the Type of Vacuum Cleaner to the Cleaning Task

Deep cleaning carpeted floors is probably the hardest task required of a vacuum cleaner. To do this well, you need a vacuum cleaner with plenty of air flow and a revolving brush roll which will agitate the fibers to aid in removing the dirt and grit. Traditional uprights, "clean-air" uprights, two-motor uprights, two-motor power teams, (canisters with power nozzles) and central vacuum systems with power nozzles meet this requirement and should do an outstanding job of deep cleaning your carpeted floors as well as fluffing the carpet fibers for a newer, fresher appearance. Uprights and power nozzles typically do not work well for cleaning the non-carpeted floors, especially if there is no way to stop the revolving brush roll.

Wooden, vinyl and ceramic tile floors need a floor brush with soft bristles and concentrated air flow to pick up the small grit and stones which are heavy compared to their small surface areas. The dusting brush, upholstery nozzle and crevice tool used for cleaning all the "above the floor" areas as well as the floor brush and rug tool are used as attachments on the end of a hose and wands. It is the canister type of vacuum cleaner, sometimes in the form of a power team or central vacuum system, with its strong suction which really shines in its performance with a hose and attachments.

While many modern uprights have on-board attachments, they are often very limited in this type of cleaning due to their shorter hoses, less powerful suction and inability to be pulled around by the hose. Many uprights are designed to have their attachments used only for "above the floor" cleaning and to quickly clean those small, hard to reach floor areas but not for cleaning larger areas of floors. Many people prefer using a high performance traditional upright for cleaning their carpeted floors and a compact portable canister for cleaning everything else. This makes a very effective and versatile cleaning combination.

For the quick touch up of your kitchen or bath floors, the electric broom and non-electric push sweeper do well. Being light weight and quite portable, these are very convenient to use and require very little or no setup time. By the time you can retrieve your full sized vacuum cleaner and attachments from the closet, you can have a significant amount of your cleaning done.

Safely and easily cleaning stairs can be a challenge with a full sized vacuum so the corded hand held vacuum cleaners with motor driven revolving brush rolls have become quite popular. They work like miniature uprights and handle well on stairs and upholstered furniture, quickly whisking away the dirt, grit, pet hair, etc. with a minimum of effort. With their amazingly low prices they are very affordable for most people.

For picking up those unexpected wet spills or cleaning that flooded floor, the wet/dry utility vacuum comes into the picture. These are specifically designed to safely vacuum large volumes of water or efficiently pick up large debris or large volumes of dirt without the cost of disposable paper bags. While they perform well for these specialized uses, wet/dry utility vacs generally are not as powerful nor filter as well as the average household vacuum cleaners.

Cleaning soiled carpet fibers can be a real challenge since regular vacuuming does not remove particles which adhere to the fibers. A variety of carpet scrubbers and "steam" (hot water) extractors are being marketed for this use. Hot water extractors range from the large or small canister with hose and nozzle to the self-contained upright style. Their basic operation involves spraying a warm water and detergent solution on the carpet to wash the fibers and then extracting the solution and devolved dirt from the carpet. Some even include rotating or revolving brushes to agitate the carpeting for better cleaning. These are best used to periodically clean carpets which are lightly soiled. Performance on a heavily soiled or stained carpet can be disappointing at best.

Which Type is Right for Your Cleaning Style and Preferences?

If you watch television on a regular basis you may get the impression that one of those new uprights with on-board attachments is definitely the type of cleaner that will meet all of your cleaning needs and desires. Wrong! Well, maybe right. It depends on your personal cleaning needs but also, to a great extent, on your personal cleaning style and preferences. Uprights with on-board attachments can be rather inexpensive to manufacture so the low price, seemingly powerful motors and deluxe features often make them look very attractive in TV commercials. Don't let the abundance of TV commercials promoting upright cleaners entice you to go against your personal cleaning style and preferences.

Over the years, even recently, we have found that there are two basic types of personal cleaning styles and preferences. A person with one style has a strong bent toward the upright type of vacuum cleaner. They like to be able to easily get the vacuum cleaner out of the closet, push it around on their carpets to deep clean them and then almost as quickly put it away. "Pulling something after me which is trailing at my heels? Never!" They know the upright type will clean their carpets quickly and thoroughly. The on-board attachment are so handy for giving the upholstered furniture that once over or for cleaning those tiny corners. "Does anyone actually clean under their upholstered furniture on a regular basis?"

And then there is the other personal cleaning style. "Who on earth would ever want to clean with one of those upright cleaners? You can't get under anything with them. Why, those hoses are so short you can't reach everything. Give me the powerful suction of a canister with power nozzle. I can quickly do a thorough job of cleaning my whole house." These typical comments are not intended to imply that people with one style or personal preference clean better than the other but you can see the different approaches which they take to their cleaning tasks.

I often tell prospective customers that a good upright and a good power team will both clean well. In selecting which one to purchase, consider what type has worked well for you in the past, what your cleaning style is, and which type you personally prefer to use. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Before on-board attachments were available, many users of uprights also had standard canisters for cleaning everything but their carpeted floors. This is still a very good way to take advantage of the best features of both types.

Next Vacuum Cleaner Type: Traditional Upright Vacuuum Cleaner

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