Everyone loves a plush carpet – until it’s time to clean it! With all the “Soft Carpet” machines on the market, it may be difficult to choose the best one. Today, I’ll be talking about important features in vacuums that will help you clean your plush carpet more effectively.
Why is Cleaning a Soft Carpet So Difficult?
It’s true – not all vacuums are created equal. But, even a high quality, expensive vacuum may not do a good job at cleaning your soft carpet. Soft carpets are typically much less dense but thicker than most other household carpeting. As a result, they tend to trap more lint and hair.
Because of the lack of density in soft carpets, machines tend to sink into the carpeting and get stuck. In addition, the high pile of some carpet may get wrapped around brush rolls or even fray and pull.
What Kind of Vacuum Do I Need?
There are three basic things you need to look for in a vacuum cleaner when considering a machine for your soft carpet: adjustable brush height, variable suction, and brushroll function.
Adjustable Brush Height
The most important function of a good soft carpet vacuum is the ability to adjust the brushroll height. Most high-end vacuum cleaners have this function, and it is fairly easy to set once you understand what it does.
The brush height adjustment is the setting that lifts the brushroll up off the cleaning surface. For soft carpets, it is important that the brushroll is much higher than normal – this prevents the powerhead from getting stuck in the carpet and ripping the pile.
If you have a machine with this adjustment (both uprights and canisters can), you’ll want to set the height as high as possible without sacrificing cleaning power. The easiest way to do this is to start from the highest brush setting, and slowly lowering the height until you get an effective clean, but before the machine starts to get stuck (or hard to push). On most machines, a high number means a higher height.
Variable suction is an adjustment that is found on canisters more commonly than it is found on upright vacuum cleaners. This is usually a dial or set of buttons on your machine. On some machines, you can open a small valve to release some of the suction.
For vacuuming soft or thick carpets, you’ll want to slightly turn down your suction. On machines with a spinning brush, this will not affect how well your machine cleans, as the brushroll should be doing most of the work anyway! If you find your machine is constantly shutting off when vacuuming thick carpets, turn the suction control down even further – the power failure is a result of the machine overheating.
Your suction settings should be low enough to prevent the carpet from pulling up, but high enough to clean effectively.
The final option for a good soft carpet machine is the ability to turn off the spinning brush. All canister machines have this option, and some of the high-end uprights do, as well.
This option should be used if you cannot adjust the brushroll high enough, or if your machine does not have the option to adjust the height at all. If the spinning brush is off, you may need to increase the suction on your machine slightly.
These three considerations are a great place to get started on your search for a soft carpet vacuum cleaner. Of course, there are other considerations, but they are more situation-specific and subjective. We keep a number of machines in stock that are great options for soft carpet owners. If you are able to, we recommend bringing in a medium sized swatch or sample (at least 2×2 feet) of the carpeting you have. Having this sample will allow you to try the machines in our store on what you’ll actually be vacuuming.
Have more questions? Send us an e-mail, call, or stop in sometime!
Noreen Franklin says
Thank you for the article about soft carpets. I live in California and am having a very difficult time finding any vacuum that has adjustable height and soft brush. I have looked for 1 year now.
Can you give me a brand or two to look for?
I surely appreciate the direction.
Most sincerely yours,
Hi Noreen, thank you for the question! Both Miele and Sebo offer machines that have soft bristles and adjustable heights. Miele sells a line of Soft Carpet machines, and Sebo has several models that you can easily switch out the brush for (our favorite right now is the Dart & Felix models). I recommend checking to see if there are any local stores that carry these brands to get more familiar with them before deciding on your purchase.