Thread Number: 16362
Vacuuming Carpet vs. Area Rugs: same thing or different requirements?
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Post# 174643   3/24/2012 at 03:32 (2,938 days old) by sanifan ()        

When selecting a power nozzle for cleaning area rugs, would it be wise to use the same one that works well for my carpets? Is cleaning a rug exactly the same as cleaning carpet, or are there different considerations?

We recently moved to a house with hardwood floors. We're using my Tristar CXL a lot now. Before, we were using a Dyson DC23 with its turbo head. Shortly after we moved in, we got a used wool area rug. I vacuumed it with the CXL using the turbo brush. All fine and dandy. But for good measure we used the Dyson. Wow, it pulled up a lot fluff and fiber from the rug. So much that I feared that prolonged use with the Dyson's turbo head would destroy the rug. It never pulled this much fiber from our old carpet.

Is there something about the way rugs are made that makes them more delicate than carpet? If so, should I be using the most gentle brushroll to protect my rugs? I was quite alarmed at how much fiber came off of the rug.

Post# 174655 , Reply# 1   3/24/2012 at 06:11 (2,938 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Rugs are different to carpet - it depends on the kind of material and you can usually judge by using your hand running across the pile of the rug. If its shaggy, then a power nozzle is not recommended, no matter how gentle the brush roll is. Suction only and on low power removes the top dirt without removing any fibres. Thicker rugs may need brush roll on and generally going by the feel of the weight when you're pushing the PN across a rug - if it ploughs, then logic will tell you the height needs to be lifted.

Post# 174659 , Reply# 2   3/24/2012 at 07:17 (2,938 days old) by williamr1248 (USA)        
vacuuming carpet vs area rugs: same thing or different requi

What a good idea for a new thread. I see there are really 2 areas for discussion:

(1) ease of use
(2) damage to area rug

I now live in a house with wall to wall,braided rugs,area rugs all different weaves and pile fibers. There is a BIG difference in what some machines will do that I did not notice when living in a house with all wall to wall carpet.
what I have found that really helps when cleaning the area rugs and smaller throw rugs would be the following:
(1) power nozzle with a rug guard
(2) power nozzle with easy to change suction relief
(3) machine with multiple speeds
(4) machine with longer hose that does not bind
(5) if you are trying to use an upright-one that has the middle stop position
to raise the front of the nozzle off the floor
(6) handle contols for brush off/on
Of my machines,the ones that work best are:
(1) Electrolux Epic 8000
(2) Electrolux Oxygen 3
(3) New designed Rainbow power nozzle
with these machines you can either shut the brush off as you come to the end of the rug or reduce the suction. With the Rainbow you have the ability to just release the trigger grip and can turn off or on the brush roll instantly and the easy to set suction relief is just under your thumb. It also has a nice long electric hose. My Electrolux's also have the controls on hose handle.
In my collection the power nozzles that I like least for cleaning area rugs:
(1) Hoover Anniversary Canister
(2) Hyla power nozzle
(3) Dyson upright
(4) Hoover Connie
THe Hoover power nozzle WILL NOT stand up by itself,it's big and bulky and the hose is short on the machine. The Hyla power nozzle has no rug guard and no suction relief and tends to catch the end of the rug in the nozzle and trip the overload switch every time. It also has a short electric hose. Of course the Dyson upright is just not the cleaner to try and use on lightweight or area rugs because it has no middle stop postion for the handle and mine has the off/on control half way down the handle. Has anyone ever tried to fight with that tool hose! The Dyson has ruined more than one rug and "fuzzed" several other area rugs. Now these same cleaners have NEVER given me any problems when cleaning wall to wall carpet.
This was a good thread as I have found very differeent requirements between cleaning wall to wall and room size or area rugs.

Post# 174660 , Reply# 3   3/24/2012 at 07:28 (2,938 days old) by mikeklondon ()        
Rug Vacuums

The best rug vac I have found is a SEBO felix you can but a gentle brush roll that works well if you have pets and rugs, I use one as a daily driver then a Miele with PN to give a really deep clean about 4 times a year. I have to clean up after these 2 daily.

Post# 174670 , Reply# 4   3/24/2012 at 08:38 (2,938 days old) by williamr1248 (USA)        
vacuuming carpet vs are rugs

What beautiful dogs!

I was thinking about how the older Hoover uprights with the horse hair brushes and metal beater bars,Kirby's and Electrolux power nozzles never damaged the rug edges or rug fibers like several of my newer machines have done in my home.
I remember how Electrolux even talked about the "fuzzing' issue and showed the damage. I seem to remember Kirby having this same subject on their web site several years ago too. Some of these new machines with the plastic brush rolls and
stiff plastic brushes are like using an SOS pad to clean the paint on your car. Yes, they do clean faster and maybe remove more dirt but at what cost?
I had a carpet store even remark how they were getting customers with complaints about this very issue. The customer thinks the carpet is defective but really it was the fault of the machine being just too aggressive on the made made fibers.
As a collector I can really see the differnce between the results.

Post# 174679 , Reply# 5   3/24/2012 at 09:51 (2,938 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I agree totally.

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I have wool are rugs here, except for white Karastan in my room and red on the stairs. Those HOOVER Convertibles get everything WITHOUT damaging the rugs. I've see newer "aggressive" cleaners fill up and people say, "Wow..look at all that dirt"! It wasn't dirt at all. It wasn't always "loose" fibers, either. It was the carpet! Eventually, you'd have bald rugs.

Post# 174681 , Reply# 6   3/24/2012 at 09:53 (2,938 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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I find my Miele with the power all the way down does a nice job on area rugs, even the light bathroom mats.

Post# 174683 , Reply# 7   3/24/2012 at 10:01 (2,938 days old) by trebor ()        
The Hoover agitator assembly...

with its famous 'beats as it sweeps as it cleans' action was designed for cleaning what we now refer to as Oriental rugs, or sometimes Oriental carpets. The rugs were porous and allowed air to pass through them. The bristles used were quite soft because the agitation was all done by the beater bar. The fibers were all natural, and were easily 'brought to attention' by the soft brush. In the 1930's and 40's Consumer Reports observed that the Hoover agitator assembly worked better on rugs than wall-to-wall carpet.

While wall-to-wall carpeting is still porous to a degree, it is much less so due to its construction: a primary backing holding the yarn, and a secondary backing glued to the primary for stability. (Water soluable glue is used to avoid VOC's but that is another thread entirely!) The Hoover Quadriflex agitator was designed for wall-to-wall carpet. It does not lift the carpet as high, and it works in conjuction with a stiffer bristle to comb the synthetic fiber, which has a tendancy to crush. (Ever leave polyester pants in the washer or dryer until they have cooled?)

Let's examine the two structures more closely. An area rug constructed like wall-to-wall carpet is for all intents and purposes the same with one exception, it lifts higher under the suction of the nozzle, and consequently may be noticaeably harder to adjust to an efficient cleaning height when the bag is new, unless a new belt is installed at the same time. The air cannot be drawn through the carpet as easily, and must be drawn across the pile laterally.

In wall-to-wall carpet, the fibers are punched into the primary backing, the backings glued together, and the pile sheared, if it is a cut pile rug. A forceful, stiff brush can 'unseat' the cut loop and pull it free. Foot traffic that crushes the pile can exacerbate this process. We all know what happens when looped pile is pulled.

An Oriental rug is knotted. Each yarn, whether by hand or machine is INDIVIDUALLY TIED. It is anchored into the only backing, which is porous and lets air through. While these rugs are susseptible to damage from sand, the sand seeps through the backing. The scales on the shafts of wool shed dirt, due to the natural lanolin. Wool felts over time, underfoot, albeit much more slowly than wool socks do. Felting is caused by an interlocking of the scales of the shaft of the wool fiber. This is why a wool rug in hot sun will matt down more quickly. The heat opens up the scales. Now, when this felting occurs slowly, and at a microscopic level, the fused points catch on the rotating bristle as the vacuum cleaner passes over. This is also where debris will lodge, instead of passing through. So, due to these two factors wool is, to some extent, self-cleaning.

Does this mean two vacuum cleaners are needed, one for Oriental rugs, and one for wall-to-wall carpet and similarly constructed rugs? Only in extreme cases. Usually Oriental rugs are not placed in high-traffic areas. Sebo and others do make softer brushrolls. Royal and Kirby both used to make gentle bristle brushrolls, uncertain about now. Are softer brush strips available from places like Essco? I will have to check it out and report back.

Post# 174693 , Reply# 8   3/24/2012 at 11:13 (2,937 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Rug Tool!

On rugs with any tendency to shed, or a braided Colonial-style rug, I would use a rug tool, and vacuum frequently. A valuable Oriental is too large an investment to shred with a PN.

A well-designed rug tool, like those on metal bodied Luxes and on the TriStar CXL, does a great job, and will even groom the low, tight pile on an Oriental.

When I lived in Atlanta, there was a rug cleaning and repair company called Sharian, and I once talked to someone there who said power nozzles (and uprights) were a major source of income for them - that people blithely used them on fine rugs, doing major damage. He had seen antique Orientals and Savonneries nearly shredded by them. He was particularly pointed about peoples' maids; he said that the only way to keep them from using aggressive vacs on fine rugs was not to have an aggressive vac in the house.

Post# 174694 , Reply# 9   3/24/2012 at 11:18 (2,937 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

There is one point on genuine TriStar (DXL and earlier machines, including Compact) rug tools that is important to know:

Their brush strips are replaceable, and it is important to keep them in good condition if you want the tool to be capable of doing its best work on a rug. It is also critical to store these tools properly - never store the tool with its bristles on the floor. The weight of the tool's head will flatten and crush them. Store the tool bristles-up for a nice long life.

Post# 174695 , Reply# 10   3/24/2012 at 11:51 (2,937 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

At the White House, the collection of antiques there includes a large number of antique rugs, so valuable that - like all the house's historical holdings - the Smithsonian oversees their care.

To keep the rugs in their best condition, copies are made (usually by V'Soske in New York), and those are what get used most of the time. For very special occasions, and for photography, the antiques get brought out of archival storage and re-laid. But they're not subjected to the everyday wear and tear at the White House, which is far beyond anything seen in a private house, or even most public buildings.

Post# 174711 , Reply# 11   3/24/2012 at 14:01 (2,937 days old) by williamr1248 (USA)        
vacuuming carpet vs area rugs

Sorry I forgot to include the Convertible!
My grandmother got a new Hoover Concept and remember how much more carpet fibers it removed every time she used it. It did clean very well.if you wanted to be throwing out the rug every week. I just don't remember the older Hoover's ever damaging any rugs I used them on. Of course they were designed to be used on much thinner wool carpets with horse hair pads and the air flowed through the rugs.
Those were the good old days with Hoover.

Post# 174714 , Reply# 12   3/24/2012 at 14:20 (2,937 days old) by trebor ()        
The problem lies with...

the need for good agitation, adequate sweeping of the fiber, and airflow. Basically, wall-to-wall carpet is difficult to clean properly without causing damage. Because most women treat vacuming like an olympic speed challenge (watch Susan Sarandon vacuum in "Anywhere But Here" today's vacuums are designed to clean quickly and groom the edge.

The Hoover agitator was as close to state of the art as I think we have come. But it is not good on glue down carpet, especially over concrete, and it will damage hard floors. Again, it requires attention to what one is doing, and a bit of common sense.

Post# 174730 , Reply# 13   3/24/2012 at 17:08 (2,937 days old) by pinkge (Indianapolis,Indiana)        
area rug's...

I have Wool area rug's and Flat weave orientals and I use the Sebo Felix on them.It does a wonderful job and I can reduce the suction and agitation on the flat weave carpets.If I need to go to hardwood,I can turn off the brush roll for them.

Post# 174767 , Reply# 14   3/25/2012 at 05:17 (2,937 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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For the rugs, I use my Felix too - funny that all of a sudden, everyone has a Felix which is nice to see!

Now, before we had the Felix - and this is going back a few years - we had our Oreck XL which was required to clean a hard, thick sisal type mat at the front door inside the home. This was a toughie, quite thick with long bristles all compacted up and designed to push the dirt upwards, if that makes any sense. The XL jammed, produced smoke and turned out to clog up all too quickly when the machine was pushed over the mat. You had to be pretty quick to clean it with the Oreck and have a couple of spare drive belts to hand!

Upon complaining to Oreck UK, they suggested that that the Sisal mat should not be attempted by the Oreck, even though at the time Oreck went to great pains pointing out the XL could clean "any surface." I don't know if anyone else has ever experienced this with an Oreck XL, but it soon made me realise, that whilst the Oreck had an excellent brush roll, the bristles were too thick and the Sisal mat was too resistant to being brushed with an equally thick bristle roll, resulting in drive belt breaking and possible clogging of the Sisal tufts being removed.

Where SEBO is concerned, I use the standard brush roll (blue or white bristles) which have a thinner line of bristles, quite stiff to the touch. I also have the green "delicate" brush roll that I have used on occasion - whilst it is softer on carpets and rugs, when fitted to the X sensor uprights, it is also heavier to push the machine compared to the standard brush roll.

Post# 174770 , Reply# 15   3/25/2012 at 07:19 (2,937 days old) by rainbowjoel (Dexter NM)        

i like my pn4 from electrolux. It doesn't eat or suck the rug in. lol

Post# 174774 , Reply# 16   3/25/2012 at 09:15 (2,937 days old) by sanifan ()        

Ha ha! I've also got a Felix. I'm going to try that next on the area rugs.

I had no idea there were so many different brushrolls available. It's quite nice to have those choices!

Post# 174814 , Reply# 17   3/25/2012 at 14:52 (2,936 days old) by tazcatsdad (Buffalo, NY)        
The Felix seems to be a VCCC favourite!

tazcatsdad's profile picture

I have one too!  You simply cannot beat it for its cleaning prowess and versatility.  Here's mine in action:


Post# 174853 , Reply# 18   3/25/2012 at 21:53 (2,936 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

At where I currently live, all my floors are white tile & a few small rugs; but at my dad's house, its mostly carpeted (wall-to-wall)

So that's why I don't own any newer vacs; the old ones (TriStar CXL, Electrolux 1205, etc) are good enough for me right now.

Post# 174976 , Reply# 19   3/27/2012 at 06:21 (2,935 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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I wish I could have a house that had tiled floors and few rugs! I don't know if life would be easier, but somehow probably different! As a student I once lived in a well centrally heated home that had nothing but hard floors and a few rugs. Once a week steam cleaning with a steam mop and an upright with a suction only floor head. Simples. Mind you, I recall white tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms were difficult to clean due to steam build up, dust clinging to it all and kitchen grease.

Post# 175019 , Reply# 20   3/27/2012 at 14:35 (2,934 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

There was a time when I lived in a house that had 100% carpeted floors; even the kitchen & bath had WTW carpet. But I didn't start collecting vacs since there was no room for collections until I moved to a larger house but still had only ONE room with bare floors. :)

Post# 175089 , Reply# 21   3/27/2012 at 23:57 (2,934 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I bought this wool rug a few years ago... for this room, wh

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
It sheds like crazy.I just unpacked it. It came with a runner and a round carpet. As of yet, no place to put them. The Convertible, (and, I have about 200 from which to choose) does a great job. I have my great aunt's Chinese rug... about 75 years old. I had it cleaned, re-fringed and bound. It's in a spare bedroom. Again, the HOOVER cleans it fine. She had a model 28, we used a 67, 60, and, later, the 1076. I can honestly say, that in it's entire life, no other cleaner has been used on it except HOOVERS. Here's the new Chinese.....

Post# 175091 , Reply# 22   3/28/2012 at 00:02 (2,934 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
The white

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
Karastan.. 18 years old. It'll be steamed w/ the HOOVER steamvac after I paint the room, make Roman shades, and change the crown molding. Trebor: I wish I had your expertese in sewing. I MAY ask you for tips when the job gets closer.

Post# 175129 , Reply# 23   3/28/2012 at 08:36 (2,934 days old) by trebor ()        
Maybe a road trip..

is in the offing this summer, load up the machines and sergers in tha van and come for a few days working vacation?

Post# 175130 , Reply# 24   3/28/2012 at 09:45 (2,934 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Someone else who sews?

My pride and joy is a Singer Touch-Tronic 2001, in the TOL cabinet. I use it for curtains, upholstery, alterations and the occasional repair when a seam lets go in a $60 polo shirt that was worth more like $9.95.

Post# 175239 , Reply# 25   3/29/2012 at 15:07 (2,932 days old) by trebor ()        

Yes, I have sewn for decades. I am the one who coined the expression "chair dress" for a dress that while perfefctly modest, makes every hetero male (and a few on the fence) want to see it draped across the back of a chair.

In the late 1990's I designed and sewed the dress worn by the keyboard (Kurzweil)artist Beverly Reiger of the Visionary Music collective for their nationally televised concert on PBS.

I sew on a Viking Sapphire 835, have an Elna Carina as a back up and portable to take to classes, and two sergers. I am a machine knitter as well, but that is another entire yarn, LOL!

I once worked for a drapery workroom and learned the old European crafted way to make Roman, balloon, Austrian shades, swags and jabots, the whole nine yards :)

Post# 175332 , Reply# 26   3/30/2012 at 10:47 (2,932 days old) by totalvac ()        

It really comes down to the material of the rug and carpet. Delicate fabrics need a little more TLC when you're cleaning, otherwise you risk runing the rug AND your vacuum (lots of threads can get stuck). When in doubt, be gentle.

Post# 175337 , Reply# 27   3/30/2012 at 11:46 (2,931 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Or perhaps don't run a machine over the rug at all - simply take out and shake.

Post# 175339 , Reply# 28   3/30/2012 at 13:17 (2,931 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Talented you!

I don't do much with clothing, other than repairs/alterations, because it's just not worth my time to go through all the painstaking stuff needed for menswear.

But give me some yardage and a window to dress and I'm happy.

Post# 175340 , Reply# 29   3/30/2012 at 13:24 (2,931 days old) by trebor ()        
I love doing menswear..

actually I love sewing menswear and doing the men :)!

Post# 175344 , Reply# 30   3/30/2012 at 14:40 (2,931 days old) by raycarter (Taylor, Michigan)        
Getting back to the 1930s and 1940s Consumer Reports...

Trebor, would you happen to have those articles on hand? I've seen the ones from the 1950s on this website, and I'd love to see the older ones as well!

Post# 175347 , Reply# 31   3/30/2012 at 15:32 (2,931 days old) by trebor ()        

have to get them from the library on microfiche, or dvd.

Post# 176504 , Reply# 32   4/9/2012 at 16:05 (2,921 days old) by Trebor ()        
Lengthy discussion...

and question and answer session with Lindhaus rep Cliff Brady today (thanks Cliff!) yielded some pertinent info on this topic. The Lindhaus bristles are polished and arranged in a constant contact spiral pattern to avoid abrasion of even the most delicate carpets. The bottom plate, indeed the entire machine is designed for real-life vacuuming (think Susan Sarandon in 'Anywhere But Here') to get maximum soil removal using a vacuum they way people really do vacuum.

Carpet manufacturers and rug manufacturers sometimes suggest using machines without agitation, because they perceive agitation as damaging. We know better, but what can you do?

Post# 176590 , Reply# 33   4/9/2012 at 22:25 (2,921 days old) by Sanifan ()        

How does that bode for the Lindhaus?

If the Lindhaus is designed for real-life vacuuming (ie, quick vacuuming as most people do), would the vacuum not have to be very aggressive to dig out the dirt that quickly? It seems to be at odds with the description of the brushroll as gentle.

I have a Lindhaus Health Care Pro albiet one that need repair. The main vacuum motor does not work. The brushroll motor does work, however, and from what I can tell, the brushroll does seem to be on the gentler side.

The polished bristles do sound less destructive to rug and carpet fibers. Do you find the Lindhaus to be a fairly gentle cleaner?

Post# 176686 , Reply# 34   4/10/2012 at 19:34 (2,920 days old) by Trebor ()        
The Lindhaus is a very effective cleaner...

Lindhaus does all of their comparisons after all the vacuum cleaners have been in steady operation for 10 minutes. The fans are pulling air through a carpet, the belts are warmed up and expanded, the machine is in real life operation mode. The airflow is measured as the vacuum is in use. Lindhaus knows people vacuum too quickly, too infrequently, and improperly. They design their machines to operate at maximum dirt removing capability under the real life conditions of their use.

It would take too long to type all the info Cliff shared with me about vacuum cleaner design, suffice it to say, someone who thought he knew a lot learned a whole lot more.

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