Carpet flooring is warm, soft, and comfortable to step on. Modern carpets are elegant and can give your home a luxurious ambiance. However, the elegance comes at a price; the need for frequent cleaning. Because carpets hold more dirt and debris than hard floors, they require extra care and maintenance such as daily vacuuming. Left to sit in the carpet’s pile, grit, dust, sweat and other dirt can cause abrasion to the fibers as well as create a breeding ground for dust mites and bacteria. Removing the dirt and debris improves the carpet’s condition and durability. It also results in an allergen-free home.
Cleaning carpets is no easy work, and things can get tricky when it comes to vacuuming the delicate ones. Some features that most vacuum cleaners come equipped with can actually ruin sensitive carpets. The problem is compounded by the fact that carpets vary greatly in terms of thickness, quality, material, and other aspects. It can leave you with no idea as to which functionalities to prefer and those to avoid. That’s because the carpet variations require you to use specific methods of cleaning and vacuums with particular features.
It’s good to know that it’s not every vacuum that can be used on any carpet. Some are overly aggressive in their cleaning action, which could cause damage to the delicate fibers. Some good examples of sensitive carpets that require gentle vacuums include frieze, Berber and shag carpets. These cannot stand up to the agitation produced by some vacuum cleaner heads, and you would need to be careful when buying the one to use on them. While you need a vacuum that has the ability to dislodge dirt from deep in the pile and suck it up efficiently, you also need to be assured that it won’t ruin the carpet. The most suitable vacuum would be one that can be used on a variety of delicate carpets from, low, medium to high pile. Let’s get into more details.
Top 5 vacuum cleaners perfect for cleaning soft and sensitive carpet
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read my rationale behind choosing a vacuum cleaner great for vacuuming soft carpets, here’s a table with 5 of my favorite units ready to tackle this chore:
|Product Name||Type||Weight||Filtration||Cord length||Price|
|Miele Complete C3 Vacuum Soft Carpet||Canister||11.9 lbs||HEPA||22 ft||$949.00|
|Soniclean Soft Carpet||Upright||10.5 lbs||HEPA||35 ft||$449.99|
|Oreck Magnesium RS||Upright||7.72 lbs||HEPA||30 ft||$399.99|
|Shark APEX Zero-M||Upright||16 lbs||HEPA||30 ft||$374.99|
|SEBO Automatic X5||Upright||17 lbs||HEPA||40 ft||Price not available|
|Eureka NES215A Blaze||Upright||3.2 lbs||HEPA||18 ft||$33.99|
Miele C3 Soft Carpet
Miele is a brand which needs no introduction. They’ve included in their C3 line of premium canister vacuums a model which is perfect for sensitive carpets and rugs. Here’s a small presentation of this vacuum:
Miele C3 is light weight, has a great filtration and uses a strong motor which can also be very quiet, depending on the suction level you use. The set of attachments is enough for most cleaning chores. The quality of materials, long warranty and versatility of the unit makes it one of the best choices for soft carpet.
Soniclean Soft Carpet
Another vacuum great for this type of carpets is the Soniclean SFC-7000. This upright is special because it has something no other vacuum from my list has: a vibrating bar which moves 200 times per second. This helps with the agitation process, releasing dirt from deep within the fibers of the carpet, without actually making a hard action on its surface. The bristles from the brushroll are extra-soft, made especially for carpets with a pile length smaller than 1 inch. The high rubber rolls add a plus to the system.
Oreck Magnesium RS
I’ve reviewed this vacuum cleaner a while ago, but I still find it’s one of the best choices for soft rugs. It is so light weight it feels like a cordless. It’s powerful enough to dislodge the dirt of the carpet fibers thanks to an efficient brushroll and a good suction. The nozzle swivels easily, and it can lay completely flat if needed. It also features large wheels, an ergonomic handle and a large warranty of 7 years.
Shark APEX Zero-M
Shark just released their new technology called the Zero-M (for some reason). I’ve managed to compare all the Zero-M models, and of course, the Apex is at the moment their best unit. Having the DouClean technology, coupled with all the other awesome specs such as a strong suction power of 300 AW, an efficient HEPA filtration or a complete set of accessories is simply amazing. And the great thing about this vacuum cleaner is that you can use it on virtually any type of surface, not just sensitive carpets. Not to mention the decent price.
SEBO Automatic X5
Sebo is one of those niche brands who likes to do things well. They release their Automatic X5 more than 4 years ago, and they have been sticking with this flagship model. There’s actually not much to improve. The suction of the X5 is over 100 CFM, its dust bag can accommodate a humongous 1.4 gallons of dirt and its filter is HEPA hospital-grade. The protective rubber-coated wheels glide smoothly over the soft carpet, which is thoroughly cleaned thanks to the automatic height adjustment.
Eureka NES215A Blaze
If you’re looking to find a vacuum that will clean soft carpet and everywhere else as well, this one has a number of features that should put it at the top of your list. Built around a removable hand vacuum and crevice tool, this machine protects your carpets by minimizing the use of a beater bar. The whole bar assembly is entirely removable, allowing you to take the harmful effects of the brushes entirely out of the picture.
Speaking of taking things out, the central module can be removed from the upright skeleton and carried around as a hand vacuum, letting you apply suction only where needed to further protect the rest of the carpet.
The Challenge When Looking for a Vacuum for Sensitive Carpets
With the many considerations, finding the best vacuum cleaner for sensitive carpets can be daunting, to say the least. There are many factors to mind such as carpet type, vacuum features and so on. There are also the myths regarding what vacuum cleaners can or cannot do to carpets, and you may not know which ones to believe and which not to. Also, some cleaning facts may not be put across clearly enough by carpet or vacuum manufacturers, which can cause you to make the wrong decision.
You may have heard that the dirt in high pile carpets can only be removed with the help of a vacuum’s agitator brush, for example. But did you know that the same brush can cause damage to the carpet fibers if too aggressive and stiff-bristled? Some of the features in a vacuum cleaner may be useful on hard floors but damaging when the same appliance is used on carpets or rugs. Most of the time, the suction, weight, the spin speed of a motorized brush, and the stiffness of the brush roll bristles can result in loose or fuzzed fibers.
Whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your home or occasional ones, finding the right vacuum to clean them is essential. It would go a long way to help keep the carpets in top condition. But how do you tell if a vacuum is safe for your delicate carpet? That’s why I created this guide: to help you find the most suitable vacuum cleaner for sensitive carpets. Read on to know what features to look for when buying one. I have also included several brands and models to consider when buying a vacuum for your sensitive carpet.
What Makes a Vacuum Suitable for Delicate Carpets?
Before we delve into the features that make a cleaning machine the best for sensitive carpets, let’s first see how damage occurs when vacuuming a carpet. It will help you understand the features to look out for and the ones to avoid when shopping for your carpet’s vacuum cleaner. You will also know what functionalities to use and which not to when vacuuming sensitive carpets.
Beater Brush Damage
The spinning brush roll or what’s also known as a beater bar is one of the enemies of delicate carpets. As the brush rotates, the fibers of long pile carpets may wrap around it. This causes a tug at the carpet and can result in loose fibers or runs. The vacuum’s brush roll may also be made of bristles that are too stiff. The bristles could, as a result, cause the fibers to lose twist and appear fuzzy. Over time, the damage would make the carpet’s surface look old and worn. That’s in addition to greatly reducing its lifespan.
You can overcome this problem in several ways. A vacuum’s floor head without a powered brush roll is one of the options. But then, that would limit its cleaning ability for a variety of surfaces. Because there are other areas to be vacuumed in your home other than carpets, this option may not be a good one. A better decision would be to go for a vacuum that features a button to switch the beater brush on and off. That would allow you to keep the brush still when vacuuming carpets, only turning it on when cleaning other areas.
A detachable brush roll could also do, but that would only give you more work to do. Some carpets that are not high-pile don’t get ruined by a spinning brush roll easily unless it spins at high speed. A vacuum that allows you to lower the speed of the beater brush would make a suitable one for such carpets. There are many of them on the market today, but you would need to make sure the one you choose has this option. However, you would need to be certain that the carpet can withstand a beater brush even when it spins at a lower speed.
Small Wheel Damage
A vacuum with wheels that are too small can cause damage to carpet fibers. As the wheels rotate while deep within the carpet, fibers can get entangled. This often leads to the fibers getting pulled and becoming loose as you move the vacuum over the carpet. Larger wheels would stay clear of the fibers regardless of pile height and are not likely to cause damage. Choose those over the small ones, and your sensitive carpet fibers will remain intact for long. Another benefit of large wheels is that the vacuum cleaner moves smoothly and effortlessly even when the carpet is high-pile. In addition to allowing for vacuuming that’s safe, large wheels make cleaning carpets less tiring.
Cleaning Head Damage
Another damage occurs when the cleaning head happens to be too low into the carpet pile. Should the vacuum have strong suction, this could result in excessive pull on the fibers which would, in turn, cause them to loosen over time or become fuzzy. That can happen especially if the vacuum features no controls for the motor’s speed.
Now, onto the features that make a model or brand one of the best for sensitive carpets.
Best features to have on a vacuum for soft carpet
This is among the most crucial considerations when choosing a vacuum for sensitive carpets. It’s what determines the cleaning efficiency of the appliance and how well-cleaned your carpets will be. The vacuum you buy for your carpet flooring should feature a powerful motor that provides a strong airflow for the maximum attraction of dirt and debris. An efficient suction system, too, is essential. A strong airflow is not enough if there’s no mechanism in place to utilize its strength and make the pick up of dirt superb. Some manufacturers show commitment to developing technologies that ensure strong suction for their vacuums. These are the brands to go for when looking for the best vacuum cleaner for sensitive carpets. However, you would need to be sure that the vacuum comes with other qualities for the safety of carpets. Great suction ensures all tiny dust particles, grit, and other debris are removed from the carpet with only a few passes. It results in less wear or damage and your carpet lasts for long. Corded uprights or canister vacuums assure you of an adequate suction. The vacuum you choose for your carpet can be either of them.
When cleaning sensitive carpets, you need the vacuum’s cleaning head to be at the right height. That’s, neither too high nor too low. It works both ways, ensuring your carpet is not damaged while delivering an efficient cleanup. Should the cleaning head lower too much, you risk exerting a pull on the fibers and causing them to come off. Too high, and the suction power is significantly reduced. With an adjustable height feature, you can lower or raise the cleaning head so that it just touches the surface of the carpet’s pile. Most modern vacuums designed for carpeted floors and area rugs come with this feature. However, it would be safer for you to confirm that before buying one.
Large wheels are essential in the vacuum you buy for your delicate carpet. They’re usually tangle-free when compared to small wheels that get lost in the pile of the carpet to pull at the fibers while rotating. Large wheels ensure a smooth hover of the vacuuming unit over the carpet pile. As a result, cleaning tasks are effortless, less tiring and take a short time to complete. Large wheels also help to keep the suction path at a height that wouldn’t likely cause a tight suction and an excessive pull of the carpet fibers.
Adjustable Motor Speed
Carpets are tricky to vacuum. With dense ones, extra suction power results in the fibers being pulled into the airflow system together with the dirt. It causes the suction path to become blocked and the vacuuming head to get stuck. Should that occur while cleaning your carpet, reducing the motor speed would help release the fibers and free the cleaning head. You need this feature, both to protect the fibers from being pulled into the vacuum, and to ensure the vacuuming activity is smooth.
On/Off Brush Roll Button
A spinning brush roll is, most of the time, undesirable in the cleaning sensitive carpet. That’s because the fibers keep getting caught in the rotating bristles. It causes constant pulling of the fibers which leads to them becoming loose. A spinning brush roll can also cause damage to the twisted yarn. When agitating the dirt contained deep in the carpet’s pile, it “combs” and unravels the twists. Over time, this wears the carpet and makes it look fuzzy and prematurely worn out.
Other Features to Consider
Apart from ensuring your carpet is safe, the vacuum you choose for your sensitive carpet flooring should have other attributes that make it efficient and easy to use. Vacuum cleaners can be costly, and you want an all-round vacuum cleaner that accords you the best of cleaning experience. To ensure that, consider the following.
Corded vacuums come with cables of varying lengths. Some feature a retractable cord while others don’t. A long enough cable has the advantage of allowing you to vacuum large areas without changing power outlets. It makes your cleaning sessions quicker and less tiring. Some models have cords that rewind and unwind at the touch of a conveniently placed button. Some even feature a way to stop the cord midway. Go for those so your vacuuming activities aren’t marred by too many manual tasks to operate the unit.
Though overlooked, this feature can be beneficial when vacuuming poorly lit areas or spots. You may not know what lurks in the vacuum cleaner’s path. It could be a valuable item such as a ring, or an object that could potentially cause damage to the vacuum if sucked up. It could also be a spot where a mess has occurred and requires attention. Without headlights, you may not know if there’s a area that requires several passes of the cleaning head. Headlights allow you to see ahead and make the appropriate adjustments. This feature may not be important if the areas you will vacuum are well lit and open.
This feature improves the vacuuming unit’s movements over the surface of the carpet and makes your cleaning tasks less tiring. Guiding a vacuum when cleaning carpet flooring can be difficult, especially if the carpet is high pile and the unit bulky. Also, if the suction is too high and the fibers too dense. With self-propelling wheels, you only need to exert very little force to maneuver the vacuum cleaner.
Heavy vacuuming units are cumbersome to guide on carpet. They can make cleaning activities tiresome and clumsy. While lighter models come with fewer features and capabilities, it would still be a good idea to choose a vacuum that’s not too heavy. A lightweight vacuum is easy to take from one room to another. You don’t want to be carrying a ton of weight around, especially if you have a large home. Storage would also be easier for a vacuuming unit that’s not too heavy or bulky.
Soft-Bristled Brush Roll
Some carpets are pretty resilient. They can resist the damage caused by a motorized brush roll. However, it’s advisable that the bristles be soft enough. Stiff ones would cause abrasion to the material and make it wear off quickly. If the manufacturer of the carpet you have in your home allows for the use of a vacuum with a beater brush, ensure the bristles are not too stiff.
The dirt in carpets is usually difficult to remove. It requires a vacuum that maintains an optimum suction power throughout the cleaning process. Because a filled up bin causes the suction to drop, a vacuum with an indicator for a full bin would be necessary for assured cleaning efficiency. Alternatively, you can choose a vacuum which allows you to monitor the accumulation of dirt in the bin. Some manufacturers make vacuums with clear dirt compartments. Using such, you can tell when the bin is filling up and likely to affect the cleaning power. Still on the issue of the dust bin, I would advise you to choose a vacuum that offers adequate storage for the vacuumed dirt. That way, your cleaning activities will always be smooth and without interruptions.
The level of filtration achieved by a vacuum for carpet is important. It determines how clean the air coming out out the unit is after the dirt is trapped. Considering that carpet floors keep a lot of dirt, an efficient filtration system is essential. Bagged vacuums offer the best filtration, but come with the expense of replacing the bags every few months. You may want to opt for expense-free and eco-friendly bagless vacuums. Only ensure the model you choose comes with HEPA filtration. HEPA filters trap up to 99.99 of the vacuumed particles ensuring cleaning air for you and your family. Allergens can be a health risk, and the vacuum you choose for the cleaning of your carpets needs to let no particles re-enter the air while vacuuming. Ensure that the HEPA filter vacuum is properly sealed. That’s because the excellent filtration isn’t useful if the allergens can find other routes to escape into the air.
Different manufacturers employ different cleaning technologies in their vacuuming machines. That’s why brand name matters when selecting the best vacuum cleaner for sensitive carpets. An innovative suction system coupled with excellent filtration would result in an efficient vacuum that doesn’t cause damage to carpets. Few manufacturers can assure you of this, so you need to be careful when choosing the vacuum to buy. You can use my list of the top brands and models to make selecting the right cleaner for your carpet type easier.
What Type of Vacuum is Safe for Sensitive Carpets?
This question is better answered by looking at the features of different types of vacuums. That’s because whether a vacuum is safe on delicate carpets or not depends on the design, the functionalities it comes with as well as how efficient it is.
Corded or Cordless?
Corded vacuums are usually more powerful than the cordless ones. The best ones can dislodge dirt and debris from high-pile carpets without difficulty. They also have a continuous supply of power which allows you to vacuum wall-to-wall carpets. Cordless vacuums, on the other hand, are quite versatile and quick to retrieve and use. They’re best suited to clean on-spot messes on carpets. The only problem is their limited power. Running on batteries, they’re not suitable for the cleaning of large areas with carpeted floors. Their suction power is also most of the time insufficient for the vacuuming of thick carpets. They can also be tiresome to wield, especially if you had to vacuum an entire area of a carpeted home. With the right features to avoid damage to sensitive carpets, corded vacuum cleaners carry the day when it comes to choosing a cleaner for your heavily carpeted home.
Upright or Canister?
Although uprights are more comfortable, canisters have the upper hand when it comes to soft carpets, and that is because their nozzle is much lighter (since it doesn’t have to carry all the weight of the body of the unit). However, as you can see in my top, there are a lot of light-weight uprights trying to fix this weight issue.
Bagged or Bagless?
Both me and a few experts talked about this in this versus. The bottom line is that bags offer you more comfort, since you won’t get into contact with the debris, and you also won’t need to wash the bin recipient. However, bags cost, so you’ll have to pay for this advantage. Either way, if properly sealed, both bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners should work just as fine on soft carpets.
Cleaning Tips based on Carpet Types
Different carpets require varied methods to clean and vacuums with specialized feature. It’s, therefore, essential to know what vacuum to use on your particular type of carpet, including how to use it. Some modern carpets can be too costly for you to watch and do nothing as they get ruined by your vacuuming activities. Here are the ways to ensure your carpet type is well cared for and cleaned the right way.
Plush carpets are dense which makes them difficult to vacuum. Because of the fibers that are packed close together, airflow can be greatly hampered. The restricted airflow can cause the floor attachment to get stuck to the carpet pile, especially if the suction power is too high. Maneuvering or moving the vacuum over the carpet then becomes challenging or even impossible. Apart from the vacuuming difficulty it presents, a cleaning head pulling at the carpet can cause the fibers to loosen and reduce the carpet’s lifespan. To avoid that from happening, do the following.
Go for a vacuum that comes with a control for suction power. The reason is that you will need to lower or raise the suction strength based on how easy or difficult the vacuuming is during your cleaning activities. A suction power that’s too high causes the dense fibers to get pulled into the suction path and hampers the vacuum’s cleaning action. You will always find that you need to adjust the power to a point where you feel no difficulty moving the cleaner over the plush carpet.
Choose a vacuum whose height can be adjusted for your plush carpet. That allows you to lower or raise the cleaning head to a level that doesn’t affect the airflow. As a result, the vacuum smoothly glides on the plush carpet and your cleaning activity goes on unhindered. To find the perfect height, you would need to use your judgment. Try lowering and raising it until you feel no tug at the carpet or until the movement is smooth. Ensure the floor attachment is not too high, though. That would reduce its ability to clean the dirt or debris that lies deeper within the carpet pile.
I would also advise that you buy a vacuum that features large wheels. Small wheels are prone to tangles and can cause your plush carpet to lose fibers with time. Self-propelling wheels would be an added advantage. Though not a must, the extra propulsion would serve to help your maneuver the vacuum with ease. Carpets, especially high pile ones, can hinder the free movement of wheels and force you to use extra force. It’s the reason why large and powered wheels would be your best bet when looking for a carpet vacuum that is easy to use and doesn’t cause damage to the fibers.
Another cleaning tip for plush carpets is to avoid the use of a beater brush altogether. Some vacuums don’t feature an on/off control for the brush, and you would need to ensure the one you buy has it. It allows you to safely vacuum your sensitive carpet with the brush roll turned off. For avoiding the use of the agitator brush, you may find that the cleaning capability of the vacuum reduces. To compensate for that, choose a vacuum whose suction power is on the higher side.
Shag carpets have long fibers which are prone to being pulled at by vacuum cleaners. It calls for due diligence when selecting the right model or brand to use on these kinds of carpets. Just like plush carpets, the shag type requires a vacuuming unit that stays clear of the fibers yet delivering adequate suction. Therefore, choose a vacuum with an airflow that’s powerful enough to pull dirt and debris from the deep layers of the carpet. Also, one that does not run too low as to cause the fibers of the shag carpet to pull off. That means a vacuum that features wheels that are large enough. A powered brush roll is not advisable for shag carpets. The long fibers can get caught in the spinning brush and lead to damage. Therefore, opt for a vacuuming unit that allows you to turn off the power to the beater brush while vacuuming your shag carpet floors.
Never forget that the shaggy nature of these carpets makes them home to all types of allergens, from dust mites to tiny dust particles. Therefore, ensure the vacuum you settle for comes with a HEPA filter. It would also be good to find one that’s fully sealed so the allergens in your shag carpet don’t find a way out and pose a health risk.
These can be made from wool, nylon or Olefin. Although not high-pile, Berber carpets can become damaged if the wrong vacuum or cleaning method is used on them. Should you have one in your home, the first thing you should know is that a vacuum’s beater brush can ruin Berber carpets. Ensure the model you buy allows you to vacuum with this feature turned off. That’s because the bristles of the brush can pull at the woven fibers and cause runs. Eventually, these runs extend and affect both the appearance and the lifespan of the carpet. The heat of the spinning brush can also ruin the fibers of a Berber carpet if made from Olefin. Another factor to consider in a Berber carpet vacuum is the wheel type. Rubberized wheels would be the most ideal. Soft on the carpet’s surface, the wheels are not likely to cause damage to the fibers. Berber carpets are known for being highly resilient. However, they can still get damaged if vacuumed the wrong way.
Mohawk carpets are a popular option, with many homes sporting them for the durability, elegance, and the style variety they offer. Unlike many carpet manufacturers, Mohawk offers advice and recommendations for the vacuums that suit the various carpet types they make. Among the pieces of advice given by the company is on the use of the beater brush. Mohawk recommends vacuums that allow you to turn off this functionality when vacuuming their long loop or long pile carpets. For high pile carpets, the manufacturer advises that you opt for vacuums that have large wheels. It enables the cleaning head to be at a height where fibers are not likely to be pulled in. Also, an adjustable height so you can control the floor attachment to suit the pile height. Not all Mohawk carpets are too sensitive for you to use the beater brush, though. Some are resilient enough to allow you to use a motorized cleaning head. It depends on the particular type you’ve installed in your home.
Finding the best vacuum cleaner for sensitive carpets can be an uphill task. You may not know the features that cause damage or even what vacuuming practices could affect your delicate carpet floor. Luckily for you, I have provided you with adequate information concerning all that you can do to protect your carpet from the harm caused by some vacuums. Using the models I have listed here, you can be sure that your carpet is protected. You only need to ensure that you follow other ways to care for your carpet and you’re assured of its durability and beautiful appearance. Your carpet flooring is an important investment, with some carpets being too pricey to use the wrong vacuum to clean them. And no, you need not forgo all the benefits of carpet flooring just because you’re afraid of ruining it with the wrong vacuum. So go ahead and get yourself the right vacuuming unit and enjoy the warmth and luxurious nature of carpet flooring.
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I’m Jason Moe Roberts, an appliances expert and blogger. I’ve worked at Walmart for more than 15 years, in the house appliance department. I love to use home equipment and I spend a lot of time testing the best products and reviewing them. My family and friends also recommend me as a caring person, a great dad and a loving husband.