A dirty spot here or there isn’t anything to balk at: As a carpet owner, you’re probably used to seeing a lot of different spots and stains showing up on home carpeting. But dark, shadowy areas creeping up around the edges of your carpet? Yuck. Your first response to finding dark spots or grimy black patches around your carpet’s border might be to freak out and call Curtice Chem-Dry for an emergency appointment. But don’t assume the worst: While dark border shading is gross to look at, it doesn’t always mean that your worst fears are becoming reality. Dark edges around carpets can mean a few different things, but if you have a dry cleaning service that you trust on speed dial, there’s no reason to panic or assume that you need to rip your old carpet out and throw it away. If you’re looking at black, soiled-looking edges, here’s what you should do.

Know That You’re Dealing with Filtration Soiling

The first thing to do when spotting those nasty black lines is to figure out what you’re actually looking at. It’s not mold, and it’s not some type of strange dark force that’s coming through the floor to eat your carpet. It’s a fairly common problem called filtration soiling. This occurs when there’s too much air remaining stagnant in a room, or too much airflow without any air being able to cycle out. In short, when you see black edges on your carpet, your AC unit is most likely to blame. Stagnant air gets trapped in rooms where wall-to-wall carpeting blocks the entryways, causing the air to try to pass through the carpet’s edges. When this happens, your carpet basically turns into an impromptu filter, catching all the pollution, dust, and nasty airborne byproducts of your AC’s airflow in the corners and creating a black, dusty look. Filtration soiling happens in smaller rooms and can be easily avoided by the creation of better pathways for air to exit out of. As long as your air has a place to go, your carpet it safe. However, that doesn’t help with the current problem of getting your rug back to normal.

Check Your AC Unit

Before treating your carpet for filtration soiling, take a minute to clean out any excess cause of dirt and pollution by emptying your HVAC filter, dusting around the corners, and taking the time to clean out your ducts for dirt buildup. Once you have a clean AC, you’ll be able to prevent the issue from happening again. If you’re dealing with a ton of dirt and dust, you might want to think about switching out your filter for a more environmentally-friendly (and anti-pollutant) version.

Find a Targeted Cleaner

When it comes to actually getting rid of filtration soiling, the best remedy is to find a targeted cleaner that’s made specifically for this problem. Since the actual dirt and dust particles you’re dealing with are extremely tiny and delicate, cleaning them won’t be as simple as doing a regular spot treatment. You may have to go over the area several times if you’re working with a white or light-colored carpet where the soiling is more apparent. Using your treatment, apply around the edges and let it sit for about five minutes before washing the treatment out with hot water. You can repeat this process as many times as you want, however, keep in mind that at a certain point you’ll be exposing your rug to too much moisture and will run the risk of mold or mildew growth. If you still see black spots or residue after a few tries, you may need to call in a professional service to help. Getting your rug dry cleaned will help protect its condition and will allow you to avoid the prospect of mold or moisture-related growth.

Close Those Gaps

Once you’ve treated your rug and are ready to place it down again, the best thing to do to avoid a repeat of the problem is to make sure your room has a place for air to filter out through that doesn’t meet your carpet’s edge. One way to do this is to close the gaps entirely so that there’s no room between your door and carpet for air to come out. Another is to create a better airflow in the room. Try leaving the door open during times when the AC isn’t on to allow the room to breathe. If you’re still having the same problem after a while, consider cutting your wall-to-wall rug into an area rug to leave some room at the edges for air to pass through. You can also swap out your wall-to-wall carpeting for a throw rug or runner.

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