How to prevent filtration soiling on your carpet

Have you recently noticed the edges of your carpet turning a grimy black colour, specifically under the doors and along the skirting boards? Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your carpet needs replacing, nor does it mean that your carpet is of low quality – this is a common problem in homes with carpets of all different kinds, and we often come across customers (who all have great taste in flooring, might we add) with the same issue.

It’s called ‘filtration soiling’ and you’ll be pleased to know that it’s completely fixable and preventable. Some aspects of the process are quite difficult and require the work of a professional, but others are honestly quite simple. In this post, we explain each of these methods with a view to removing those grubby marks for good, not just temporarily.


How is filtration soiling caused?

There are numerous potential causes of filtration soiling on your carpet, but the process is always the same. In a nutshell, when the air in your room is unable to escape via an established ventilation system, it instead passes through gaps under doors, under skirting boards, between floorboards, or through holes in the carpet. As it filters through these gaps it leaves an assortment of ‘nasties’ in the fibres of your carpet, resulting in dark streaks that could be mistaken for mould or rot. As such, soiling issues have more to do with the ventilation of your space than how clean you keep it – it happens to even the cleanest homes of our customers!


Reducing pollutants

The marks themselves are often a combination of airborne substances including soot, dust, smoke, and various other pollutants. Likewise, these could be coming from a number of different sources, from cigarettes and candles to fireplaces and vehicle emissions. In this regard, there are some immediate precautions you could take in order to prevent filtration soiling throughout your home, each of which tackle the problem at its root:


  • Stop smoking indoors – it’s not only detrimental to the smell of your carpets, it’s also a potential cause of soiling. Try to take it outdoors, either to a patio or balcony.


  • Avoid nasty chemicals – certain aerosol sprays and cleaning products release airborne contaminants into your room. Always opt for greener alternatives if you can.


  • Keep your home free of dust – of course, nobody can be expected to eliminate dust entirely, but a weekly once-over with the hoover and duster won’t do any harm.


  • Reconsider your candle obsession while atmosphere and ambience are important, traditional candles produce a lot of smoke. Look toward smokeless candles and electric wax warmers for alternatives that won’t soil your carpet.


Filling gaps

In order to stop these various contaminants from clinging to your carpet, it’s important to draught-proof your flooring, fill in any gaps underneath or around the edge of your carpet, and restrict the flow of air to designated ventilation systems. We recommend getting a professional to apply some decorator’s caulk filler between the skirting boards and the floor. Just ensure that the sealant forms a clean right angle (rather than a blob or slope), otherwise there could be problems refitting the carpet properly. Larger gaps might be better treated by specialist insulating tape – even window tape would do the trick!

Gaps between the floorboards underneath your carpet are best filled by using thick felt pads. These can be cut and taped together to fit the outline of your floor, and then fitted beneath the carpet underlay. Again, unless you’re an experienced DIY wizard, this is a job best performed by someone who knows what they’re doing. With both the skirting boards and floorboards nicely draught-proofed, your chances of experiencing any soiling issues are significantly reduced.


Cleaning and removal

If your carpets have unfortunately fallen victim to filtration soiling, this very rarely requires replacing the carpet itself. Rather, your best option is to get them cleaned as soon as possible and then work on the prevention measures listed above. Please note: this is not a simple task. Simply scrubbing the affected area with a damp cloth will do nothing to remove particles that are so miniscule. Call upon the services of a great carpet cleaner (ideally one who has experience with filtration soiling) to get the job done with professional equipment – most likely, a steam cleaner combined with an arsenal of natural cleaning supplies. You can just sit back and sip on a coffee while your carpet is fully restored to its normal state!


If you’re looking for more expert flooring advice like this, feel free to get in touch with a member of the Hudson Flooring team and we’d be delighted to help you out.