What Are Those Dark Edges?

“What are those black lines around the edges of my carpet?”

I’ve heard this same question a hundred times, so I’ll let you all in on a little dirty secret. But first, lets dispel any idea that it’s your housekeeping – or lack of it!

But what is it? Where does it come from? How do I get rid of it? Good questions.

It is caused by something that happens in all houses, but some more than others. Professionals refer to it as a condition known as “filtration soiling.” And, as you can imagine, your carpet is acting like a filter, trapping pollutants coming from the underside of your carpet. Positive air flow, emanating from the gap between the drywall and the sub-floor, trap pollutants in your carpet through the path of least resistance, the area where your carpet pad isn’t – around the baseboards.

The soil comes from various sources – dirty duct work, gas fireplaces, aromatherapy candles, auto traffic – and is usually greasy, carbon based soot particulates. We find the highest concentrations of it mostly in condo’s around the inner harbour (of Victoria, BC, famous for it’s float planes) and in homes with furnaces. We’ve been busy improving the air tightness of our homes, and consequently, the currents of air within our homes has gotten stronger.

What can you do to get rid of soil filtration? This is a difficult problem because both the carpet fibres soiled and the carpet backing is affected. Removing soil along baseboards is usually best done by hand, to minimize damage to the baseboards, with solvents to break down the specific type of greasy, carbon based soil. The solvents must then be adequately rinsed. Professionals are used to dealing with this and so it is best to rely on them.

That said, it is never a forgone conclusion that they can be fully removed. Severe filtration can, on occaision, cause permanent microscopic damage by scoring the delicate synthetic carpet fibres, causing them to appear grey. If the soils are removed successfully, they will probably gradually return again for the same reason. Regular cleaning every 12 – 18 months, with attention to the soil filtration will most likely be your best alternative.

Remember, don’t blame the maid for poor vacuuming. That is not the cause! Call ServiceMaster of Victoria for help.