upclose lavender shark navigator vacuum

The Best Way to Vacuum Carpet is to Memorize this Routine

Perhaps this has happened to you: You’ve lived with carpeting, then for one reason or another you live with hardwood or some other type of hard surface flooring that shows up every little bit of dust and dirt. You can’t believe it! You can sweep or vacuum one day and by the next morning, dust and dirt have returned. 

upclose lavender shark navigator vacuum

Of course, you think that some new dirt- and dust-producing thing has mysteriously descended on your living space, but the truth is it’s the same dust and dirt that has always been present only now you can see it.

I cannot tell you how shocked I was to see what accumulated in such a short time on my new dark wood floors. In my mind, I multiplied by 7, 14, and even 21 days. Am I the only one who doesn’t vacuum the carpet every day of her life? Yes, I admit it. Visualizing what had accumulated in the carpeting almost made me wretch. Seriously.

Another surprise is how much dirt vacuums miss, especially when we use them on carpet. Because we cannot see the dirt, we assume a single pass will do it.

The problem is that once dirt goes deep into the carpet (closer to the bottom than it is to the top of the pile), it doesn’t easily come out. It takes agitation and suction to coax it out of there. And in the meantime, it’s easy to start hating carpet. 

Keep It Clean

The best defense is a good offense. That means you need to do all you can to keep the dirt from getting to the carpet in the first place. A shoes-off rule is ideal, but not always practical. Place sturdy doormats at all entrances.

Vacuuming carpet frequently is the only way to keep dirt and grit from embedding into the weave of the carpet backing. It is critical to use a vacuum that is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It should glide effortlessly.

Know Your Passes

As you plan your vacuuming route, spend the most time on the areas where dirt collects. Memorize this routine and count as you work:

  • 12 passes of the vacuum within 4 feet of outside doors
  • 8 passes in high-traffic areas
  • 4 passes elsewhere

In the areas where the carpet has not been regularly and thoroughly cleaned in the last year, double the passes given above for three months. It will take that kind of effort to get all of the dirt, grit, dust, and grime out of the pile and into the vacuum.

Best Vacuum

I’m nearly certain I have owned or used every major brand of vacuum ever produced. Call me a vacuum snob and it’s OK. In fact I kind of like it. And I would be a worthless columnist if I did not share what I know.

The best vacuum on the market is the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional. It is bagless, easy to empty, lightweight, maneuvers like a dream and extracts the most amazingly disgusting stuff out of carpet that you could ever imagine—yes, even sand and pet hair.



Over the years I’ve purchased and tested so many Shark models, I’ve lost track; I keep giving them away. I love my current Sharky so much,  I have three of them—one in every area of my home. (Remember when I got my first one?)

You can vacuum with your Dyson or Miele, Electrolux, Kirby, or Hoover. When you’re done, I’ll vacuum the same area with Mr. Sharky Pro. Prepare to be amazed (if not a little embarrassed) by what Sharky will find that the others left behind.

Here’s the best part: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is cheap—way less expensive than its competitors, which for me is a fabulous bonus. While price is not my first consideration in vacuum cleaners, that it comes in at such an attractivecprice makes me smile.


Originally published: 8-19-14; Updated 8-13-21

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8 replies
  1. Cher says:

    Dear Mary
    When you recommended the Shark Lift away vac, I couldn’t get to Amazon fast enough to purchase it. My hubby and I absolutely love this vac. From the first time I used, it both of us had “bugged out” eyes because this vac cleaned up our carpet noticeably! So two weeks later we purchased our second one for our upper level. We can always count on your recommendations! Thank you!

  2. Nancy says:

    Mary, I purchased an eufy robot on prime day. Having had surgery I am not able to vacuum. Is it okay to use the eufy every day. Carpet is 16 months old. There is always fibers in the dust bin. My regular vac is a Shark Apex. Love your column and all hints & recipes

  3. Angela says:

    I do not have this vacuum, but it’s high on my wish list. I have a Hoover that I like ok and new (about a year old) carpet in my bedroom. How do you vacuum underneath the bed? I have a couple of storage boxes under there that I slide out and get as far as I can, but my vacuum doesn’t lay down to get very far underneath. It’s also a place that my cat likes to hide, so I know it’s probably got a ton of hair under there! I can’t disassemble or slide the mattress and box springs by myself. Any ideas?


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