How a Vacuum Cleaner Works

When you sip a drink through a straw, you are utilising the simplest of all suction mechanisms. Sucking the drink causes a pressure drop between the bottom of the straw and the top of the straw. With greater fluid pressure at the bottom than the top, the drink is pushed up to your mouth. ­

The same basic mechanism is at work in a vacuum cleaner, although the execution is a bit more complicated.

Let’s look inside a vacuum cleaner to find out how it puts suction to work when cleaning up dust and debris.

Vacuum cleaner

As can be seen, the standard vacuum cleaner design is very simple, but it relies on a host of physical principles to clean effectively.

It may look like a complicated machine, but the conventional vacuum cleaner is actually made up of only six essential components:

  • An intake port, which may include a variety of cleaning accessories
  • An exhaust port
  • An electric motor
  • A fan
  • A porous bag
  • A housing that contains all the other components

When you plug the vacuum cleaner in and turn it on, this is what happens:

  1. The electric current operates the motor. The motor is attached to the fan, which has angled blades (like a planes propeller).
  2. As the fan blades turn, they force air forward/upwards, towards the exhaust port and via the dust bag where dust and debris will be retained.
  3. When air particles are driven forward, the density of particles (and therefore the air pressure) increases in front of the fan and decreases behind the fan.

This pressure drop behind the fan is just like the pressure drop in the straw when you sip from your drink. The pressure level in the area behind the fan drops below the pressure level outside the vacuum cleaner leaving an area of low air pressure below the fan, and near the floor (this is the ambient air pressure).

This creates suction, essentially a partial vacuum, inside the vacuum cleaner. The ambient air pushes itself into the vacuum cleaner through the intake port because the air pressure inside the vacuum cleaner is lower than the pressure outside, as air always moves from areas of high pressure to comparatively low pressure. This is the process that will remove dirt from the floor.

Because the fan has created an area of low pressure near the floor, air from the floor is going to move in to fill that space, due to how air pressure works. Sometimes, very small particles of dirt and dust will be lifted by the low pressure area as well. In addition to this, air takes larger, loose particles of dust and dirt with it using friction.

As long as the fan is running and the passageway through the vacuum cleaner remains open, e.g. no kinks in the hose, no blockages etc, there is a constant stream of air moving through the intake port and out the exhaust port.

Many vacuum cleaners, in addition to using a fan, also use a rotating brush that sweeps the floor. Sometimes, this rotating brush is powered by the same motor that runs the vacuum cleaners fan, although many commercial specification vacuum cleaners such as the Sebo BS36 Comfort, will have twin motors, one to power the fan and the other to power the brush.

bs36-comfort-img1[1]   Vacuums2[1]

Occasionally, this brush will be powered by being pushed back and forth across the floor instead. Either way, this brush serves the purpose of loosening trapped dirt and dust particles stuck in the carpet that would not have been picked up by the air pressure, and moving them to the surface, or even into the air, where they will be picked up easily.

Once the vacuum cleaner has sucked in air and dirt particles, the high pressure area directly above the fan — remember, air travels from comparatively high to low pressure areas — causes them to continue to move upwards. At this point, the air and dirt particles enter the vacuum cleaners porous bag. This bag is porous enough to allow air to pass through easily, but dense enough to trap dirt, dust and any other larger particles that were on the floor. After exiting the bag, the air leaves the back of the vacuum cleaner, passing through an exhaust filter, leaving any dirt that came with it trapped in the bag.

Repeated applications of a rotating brush tend to loosen all dirt after a while, as well as trapping larger particles completely in the bristles and lifting them where they can be more easily sucked up into the vacuum cleaners porous bag.

With the simple principles described above, floors are kept cleaner.


Cimex-Encap – The revolution in commercial carpet cleaning

 Cimex-Encap is a revolutionary, high productivity, cost effective, low moisture carpet cleaning system. The system features state of the art polymer chemistry that encapsulates dirt for clean carpets that stay cleaner for longer.

Cimex-Encap builds on this experience to provide one of the simplest and most effective commercial carpet cleaning processes available.

Cimex-Encap combines the counter rotating Cimex Cyclone three brush system with polymer chemistry that encapsulates dirt for clean carpets that stay cleaner for longer

CR 48 a

Key features and benefits of Cimex-Encap

  • Clean up to 300 square metres (3000 square feet) per hour
  • Deep cleaning – restores brightness to even heavily soiled carpets
  • Low moisture cleaning so carpets dry quickly
  • No soil attracting residues, which means that carpets stay cleaner for longer
  • Eliminates wicking problems – stains do not appear on the surface as the carpet dries
  • Cimex-Encap restores cleanliness and brightness to even the most heavily soiled commercial carpet.
  • Cimex-Encap has the added benefit of ensuring that once a carpet has been cleaned that it will stay clean.

 4 Simple Steps to a cleaner carpet……

 1.       Thorough vacuuming before using Cimex-Encap ensures all dry soil is removed. Removing the dry soil enables the Cimex-Encap process to more effectively attack the sticky/oily soil left in the carpet.

2.       Cimex-Encap is a polymeric carpet cleaning solution that is applied to the carpet via a Cimex Cyclone three brush machine. The solution releases sticky soil from the carpet fibres and then traps or “encapsulates” the soil as it dries.

3.       Cimex-Encap is a low moisture system so carpets dry rapidly. For the encapsulation chemistry to work fully, leave the carpet to dry overnight before vacuuming.

4.       The Cimex-Encap process is completed by vacuum cleaning. Encapsulated soil is simply removed from the carpet with normal routine vacuum cleaning.

Cimex-Encap Low Moisture Carpet Cleaner attacks all soils commonly found in carpets. Its unique formulation emulsifies the soil and then, using the latest chemistry, encapsulates the soil for easy removal. Low moisture technique means fast drying times – carpets are normally dry to the touch in 45 minutes to 2 hours.


Cimex-Encap Spotter is the only spotting solution designed to work with the Cimex-Encap system. It can also be used to pre-spray stubborn stains and high traffic areas for even more effective results. Cimex-Encap Spotter works on both water and oil-based spots and spills.

Cimex-Encap Pads provide the most effective application of the Cimex-Encap solution when cleaning low pile commercial carpets. The pads provide greater contact area than the brushes which helps achieve enhanced agitation of the carpet fibres.

7/12/2005 7:43 PM

How to Dispose of Carpet Cleaning Waste Water

An issue all carpet cleaners must grapple with is how to dispose of waste water.

Waste water can contain several different types of bacteria, body fluids, human and animal waste, chemical compounds, oil, grease, smoke, airborne pollutants, detergents, solvents and more – all potentially hazardous to human health and the environment.

Because of this, properly disposing of waste water is critical and there are a variety of rules and regulations on how it must be handled.

In most carpet cleaning situations, waste water can be discharged by pouring it into a sink, toilet or most other drainage systems as long as it is connected to the main sewer infrastructure.

Waste water images

Discharge water should be filtered to remove carpet fibres and other solids in order to prevent clogging pipes.

Filtered debris typically can be put in domestic / commercial refuse bins unless it contains hazardous materials.

If the waste water contains hazardous materials, it should be taken to public or private facilities that are equipped to handle such waste water.

Never discharge waste water by pouring it on the ground or into storm drains.

For public safety and liability reasons, maintain a log each time carpet cleaning is performed listing the discharge water disposal method, amount and any special handling requirements.

Waste water disposal has become a more serious problem in recent years.  A failure to properly dispose of waste water can result in significant fines for the carpet cleaning technician and sometimes for the homeowner or building owner as well.

The importance of carpet cleaning in Healthcare environments

It is important that residents of care homes have clean and deodorised carpets where germs cannot breed, because the elderly and infirm are particularly vulnerable to infections.

Carpets should be regularly deep cleaned with the appropriate chemicals to help fight dirt, odours, infections and germs. The dirt that causes infection cannot be seen with the human eye, nor can it be vacuumed away. A professional powered machine must be used, one which will get right down to the base of the carpet.

IFM (UK) supply professional self-contained carpet soil extraction machines from Prochem, Truvox Hydromist and Rug Doctor.

Hydromist Compact with toolsRug Doctor machines

These machines inject the correct amount of carpet detergent into the carpet and the roller brush cleans each fibre of the carpet.
With some residents prone to spillages, accidents and incontinence, keeping carpets and soft furnishings clean can be an ongoing issue.

The Prochem chemical range is the ideal solution with such products as Neutra-Soft all-in-one carpet detergent, Urine Neutraliser and Odour Fresh perfect for those embarrassing stains and odours.


The powerful vacuum motors on commercial machines also means that carpets can be dry within 1-2 hours.

Upholstery tool attachments allow for soft furnishings and mattresses to be kept clean too.

This simple procedure of deep cleaning carpets, upholstery and mattresses can help make sure residents live in a clean and fresh environment.