How To Clean Carpet Edges – Filtration Soiling

If you notice gray or black discoloration near the baseboard edges of your carpet, it is likely a result of filtration soiling, which is a common occurrence in homes with central air and heat systems.

This happens because carpets act as large air filters, causing dust particles to become trapped.

In this post, I want to go over why this happens and how you can clean it. I wish to be clear at the start, it won’t be easy, and all the websites telling you to use simple cleaners have never dealt with how hard it is to clean filtration soling lines.

Why Are The Edges Of Your Carpet Black?

The black edges of your carpet are due to carpet filtration soiling.

Carpet filtration soiling refers to the accumulation of fine particles, such as dust, dirt, and pollutants, along the edges of carpets near the baseboard. It is normally gray or black discoloration that gradually forms over time. This phenomenon occurs primarily in homes with central air and heating systems.

Carpet filtration soiling is the result of carpets acting as giant air filters within the home. As air circulates, it carries microscopic particles that settle onto the carpet fibers. However, due to the presence of gaps or cracks between the carpet and the baseboard, the trapped air is forced to escape through these openings, leaving behind the accumulated dirt and debris along the carpet edges.

Regular vacuuming alone will not remove the dirt that gets embedded in the carpet fibers, especially in the affected areas near the baseboard. Even carpet cleaning companies can’t promise they can remove it because their machines are too big, but will try for an extra charge for the extra labor. In other words, carpet cleaning doesn’t always include removing filtration soling lines.

How To Remove Carpet Filtration Soiling?

Removing the filtration soiling from the edges of your carpet will not be easy, there is not a chemical that works like magic. You will need to put in some work to remove the black edges, but it can be done.

  1. Prep the area: Before you clean the filtration soiling areas, you need to clear the area so you can work. Some of the chemicals used may not respond well to items like curtains, dressers, or other delicate items, so make sure they’re out of the way.
  2. Vacuum the area: Sometimes the area looks bad because it hasn’t been vacuumed in a while, so make sure to vacuum the area using the crevice tool that comes with many vacuum cleaners.
  3. Use the proper cleaner: Baking soda or other crazy cleaner the internet loves to talk about won’t work. What works is filtration soiling cleaners like this one*, and a grout scrub brush*.
  4. Clean up with carpet cleaner: After working in the filtration soiling cleaner, you use a carpet cleaner* with carpet cleaning detergent to get everything up.
  5. Allow to dry: Allow the area to dry before putting anything back over the area.

How Do You Keep Carpet Filtration Soiling From Coming Back?

These filtration soiling marks can be annoying, but the good news is that you can do a few things to keep them from coming back.

  1. Change the furnace filter more often: One of the main reasons why these lines show up is because your furnace filter is dirty or even damaged. Make sure you have the correct size and change it often. Avoid the fancy furnace filters, they restrict flow and the air finds other ways out.
  2. Get your air ducts cleaned: The air ducts in your home can hold on to dirt for a long time and it when it breaks free it tends to end up as filtration soiling lines on your carpet edges.
  3. Avoid smoking in the home: The black edges often get their color from something burning, like smoking cigarettes to even burning candles. Cigarette smoke has tar that not only gums up your lungs, but damages your carpet and home, so don’t do it inside.
  4. Avoid candles and oil diffusers: Things that burn or heat up can lead to filtration soiling lines on your carpet. Things that burn or heat up can cling to the carpet more and cling to other items in the air to clump and form these black edges; It’s why it’s so hard to clean.
  5. Fix drafts: Look for where there are drafts coming from the outside that maybe lifting the carpet and causing these dark lines. Pollutants in the outside air can cause these lines, as the air from under doors can find their way under the carpet.
  6. Use darker carpets: Darker carpets don’t show the soiling as bad compared to lighter colored carpets. Not really a solution, but filtration soiling will always happen, so at least it doesn’t look as bad with darker carpets.

What If The Borders Of Your Carpet Won’t Come Clean?

Cleaning the dark borders of your carpet due to filtration soiling is a hard task. It’s dirt and grime that has been building for years, and most don’t notice it until it’s really bad.

If you can’t get the soiling out of the carpet edges, you’ll need to hire a professional. The tools and chemicals the pros have are far better than any homeowner can get.

You’ll find that many carpet cleaners don’t like dealing with filtration soiling, so an extra charge is often given, and for good reasons – it’s really hard to clean.

Sometimes, you just need to be honest with yourself. If the carpet is old, there is no good reason to clean the soiling of the corners when the whole carpet needs to be replaced. Carpet doesn’t last forever, and if the corners look bad, then the rest of the carpet will not be better.

Vinegar & Baking Soda?

You can’t go two feet without someone on the internet suggesting using either vinegar or baking soda (sometimes both) to clean something.

This is one of those times when both won’t help, and they especially won’t work when you combine them.

I don’t love the fad of baking soda and vinegar all the things, but besides that, you need to use a cleaner made for this exact job.

If you want something somewhat homemade, I’ve had some luck with Oxiclean, but it’s not perfect either for filtration soiling (but better than vinegar or baking soda).

Most of the time, it’s good old elbow grease that gets the filtration soiling out of your carpets.

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