How Often Should You Vacuum? Here's What the Pros Say

It's not just floors that need to be vacuumed regularly.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all vacuuming schedule, it's a necessary household chore to prevent dirt and dust from building up on floors and carpets. And don’t forget to vacuum any couch cushions and window treatments that could also use a once-over. “Frequently vacuuming areas that receive more foot traffic will help to stop dust and dirt building up and getting trodden into your floor," says Ketan Patel, design manager for floorcare at Dyson. "This is particularly important where there are pets in the house, or children that are crawling or spending more time on the floor."

vacuuming a rug

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So, how often should you vacuum? That depends on several factors, including the number of people in your house, whether you have pets, and the type of flooring in each room. The more traffic a room gets, the more frequently it needs to be vacuumed. For example, bedrooms and home offices should be vacuumed weekly. Areas with high traffic, such as the kitchen, living room, and children's playrooms, should be cleaned at least twice a week.

To create your ideal vacuuming schedule, experts share how often you should vacuum various surfaces in the home.

vacuuming a rug

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How often should you vacuum wood floors?

Vacuum hardwood flooring, synthetic wood, and laminates at least once weekly. But keep in mind that not every vacuum is well suited for wood. Be sure to use the correct settings for a multipurpose dry vacuum to avoid damaging your floor. The wheels of robotic vacuums or heavy-duty industrial vacuums can scratch or scrape the floors, so test a small area (ideally under a rug or large piece of furniture) when using a new vacuum on hard floors. Try not to skip weekly vacuuming even when the floors look clean because tiny dust mites can be hard to see against wood stain or grain.

How often should you vacuum fabrics, carpet, and rugs?

Anything with fabric or upholstery needs frequent vacuuming. Dust settles deep into the fibers, holding onto pollutants, bacteria, and unwanted smells. Plan to vacuum carpet and area rugs at least twice per week, even if they don't look dirty. Combine vacuuming with a beater bar or brush for cut pile carpets.

To make your vacuum cleaner last longer, give smaller rugs a good shake outside before cleaning. You'll also want to lift anything atop carpets or rugs before vacuuming underneath. Use the extendable arm to get into the nooks of couches and curtains, where dust hides. Also, consider wet vacuuming once a month for a deep clean that can lift heavy stains and dirt.

How often should you vacuum hard surfaces like tile or vinyl?

Hard surfaces, including vinyl, ceramic tiles, stone, and laminate flooring, should be cleaned at least once per week. However, you should also sweep floors daily and mop periodically too. Otherwise, dust and dirt can accumulate in corners, grout lines, and other cracks and crevices. Although they might not look dirty, this can build up over time and is much harder to clean later on.

How often should pet owners vacuum?

“We would recommend vacuuming at least once or twice a week—and more often if we have pets—with the right tools to remove dust quickly and effectively," Patel advises. If you have pets with hair that sheds, daily vacuuming of carpets and floors will help minimize the dander, dust, and dirt that furry family members attract. Do this whether your pets are considered indoor or outdoor animals. For a good clean, invest in vacuums specifically for pet hair.

What about everywhere else?

A Dyson study of more than 12,000 respondents from around the world offers surprising insights into places in the home that people are most likely to skip when vacuuming. 

Ceilings top the list as the most forgotten spot, with 88% of respondents neglecting to vacuum them. “Ceiling textures can collect dust and cobwebs, and vacuuming is often the easiest way to clean them," Patel explains. "Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean larger expanses without damaging any paint or wallpaper and opt for a crevice tool to get to hard-to-reach corners." He suggests using a lightweight cord-free or handheld vacuum for high ceilings.

Patel's data says mattresses, pet beds, lampshades, stairs, and blinds are other commonly forgotten areas. They also need weekly or biweekly vacuuming to keep your home as allergy-free as possible.

“When it comes to allergies, dust is one of the most common triggers. Yet many people are unaware that there are some surprising places where dust can hide and cause issues for those with allergies,” says Beatrice Flores of Living Pristine, which offers residential and commercial cleaning services in Florida. Cleaning pros tackle beds, sofas, walls, window sills, and even baseboards, spots that most people forget. “Vacuuming these areas every few weeks will help keep this type of dust under control and reduce allergy symptoms,” she suggests.

Flores says a thorough wipe down of both sides of each ceiling fan blade at least once every few months is also a good idea. Vacuuming the blades can ensure that the dust doesn’t just get released into the air and other parts of the room.

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