As a landlady I meet all kinds of service professionals. I like to talk shop, they give me a lot of tips. One recurring piece of advice I have gotten is, spend the money to get a good vacuum cleaner, it will save your landlord’s carpets.
My husband, a flooring installer, knows that sand builds up in carpet, and wears away at the underside, causing the “backing” – the part that the rug fibers are anchored into – to fall apart. I also have a couple of friends who clean rugs for a living. They’ve told me, too much accumulated dirt makes it hard for them to get the rugs really clean. There have been times I’ve had to clean a rug again after a tenant has cleaned it – and it’s come out looking almost new. The rug had just been so dirty it wouldn’t clean all the way with one cleaning.
I have found it will also save your vinyl floors. My family goes without shoes inside, our floors stay really nice. It’s always a shocker to come in after a couple of years of shoe wearers – the floors really show the wear. A lot of that is the shoes, but, it’s also the fine build-up of dirt, little rocks, tiny pieces of junk. They create a sandpaper effect. Once I found a tiny pebble that had been scraped across and buried in an otherwise gorgeous looking bathroom floor. The scratch had filled up with dirt, and it looked terrible. I had to dig that tiny rock out with a needle, and my husband cleaned the scratch with lighter fluid and sealed it with a floor sealer. Then we put a couple of layers of floor shine to protect it. No use. Every time we turn that house over, we have to do that scratch again. Scratches like that build up and make the floor harder to clean, and you’ll pay for that.
My husband worked for years for an old landlady that had a question on the application – “do you own a vacuum cleaner?” It wasn’t a deal breaker – if a tenant didn’t own one, she’d offer them one of her fleet of “refurbished” machines. Most took her up on it. In my experience, it’s not common for people, especially those just moving out for the first time, to own a vacuum.
My first vacuum was one I bought for $35 at a Deseret Industries thrift shop in Sacramento. I bought a lot of good stuff at that store, including old Myrtie, my 1956 Raleigh Superbe that still foists me around town on a regular basis. This old Hoover upright was a gas, probably the best vacuum cleaner I would ever own, you know they just don’t make ’em like that anymore. I took it over to my neighborhood Sew ‘n Vac for a tune-up, and I used that baby for a good 10 years before the motor burned up.
Vacuums are cheap these days, you can get a decent “disposable” for less than $100. I say “disposable” – Landlady has to have a good one – but if you take care of a cheap machine you’ll get a couple of years out of it for sure. Here’s the tip – empty it every time you use it, amazing how the suction starts to drop off after you’ve done a room or two. That will strain the motor, and it won’t work as good or last as long.
I bought our older son a $50 shop vac, because there’s a high ceiling in his little loft, and he likes to have the extra hose to reach after spiders. He also uses it in his little workshop, and once in a while he vacuums the cat hair out of his car.
Meanwhile our younger son will be moving into campus housing in the fall. My husband noticed, they provide a vacuum cleaner, smart thinking.
This basic advice will get more of your rental deposit back – buy a working vacuum cleaner and use it regularly.