If you’ve already used a Shark vacuum cleaner, you’ll know how effective they can be. But from time to time they need a little helping hand from you. Why? Because every vacuum cleaner struggles to properly clean carpet edging without the right approach.
Your favourite upright might be fantastic on large expanses of thick carpet. But unless you’re using attachments and a few simple tricks, the edges and corners of your floor coverings will simply get dirtier and dirtier.
In some instances, all you’re dealing with is dust and dirt. But not always. Mildew is possible in badly ventilated areas of a home. And a process known as filtration soiling might also be to blame.
Filtration soiling occurs along carpet edges, on stairs, at doorways and anywhere carpet meets a new surface or barrier. It’s linked to ventilation, and it can leave your carpet with black streaks in affected areas.
Unfortunately, affected areas of carpet are difficult to clean. Filtration soiling leads to black staining that is highly resistant to traditional cleaning methods. You’ll need to tackle the problem in a different way.
What is filtration soiling?
Filtration soiling is an accumulation of contaminants on carpet. In most cases, it’s black. And it can appear as large streaks, lines or spots. A lot of people mistakenly identify the problem as mould or mildew — and treat it accordingly. But to do so may seriously damage your carpet.
The problem of filtration soiling occurs when the rate at which air escapes a room is lower than the rate enters the room. This is often the case when all the doors are closed. The air that does manage to leave the room does so via, among other routes, the small gaps underneath closed doors.
As the air travels underneath doors, it passes over and through the carpet in those areas. The carpet acts like a filter — trapping the airborne particles as they travel in the airflow. These particles accumulate over time, eventually creating the black staining that’s always a tell-tale sign of filtration soiling.
The longer you wait to tackle the problem, the more serious it will become. And you’ll eventually be unable to remove the staining fully. Fast action is needed — along with the right tools for the job.
Cleaning carpet edges
The best way to tackle accumulations of mildew and filtration soiling is by first agitating the affected pile. This should disturb the accumulations so they can be picked up by a powerful vacuum cleaner later.
Use a hard-bristle brush or a scraper to loosen the mildew or soiling. You should have a brush attachment with your vacuum cleaner for just this purpose.
Next, attach your long crevice tool to your cleaner. This should help you to get right into joins and edging — particularly areas of your carpet that sit next to skirting boards.
If the black marks won’t budge, make a weak solution of warm water and dishwashing detergent. Use a clean cloth to rub the solution into the affected areas of carpet. But make sure you rib gently, otherwise you could damage the pile.
If the marks are still there, add some carpet shampoo to the affected area. Or add a little rubbing alcohol to your dishwashing liquid solution.
Dab the area dry, and repeat the steps described above.
How to prevent filtration soiling
Filtration soiling occurs when airborne particles of dust get trapped in carpeting. This happens because of problems with ventilation. A range of substances can be found in filtration soiling, including cooking oils, furniture polishes, emissions from fireplaces, pollution from outside and sand.
These substances are always in the air, so if you have ventilation problems in your home, there’s a good chance you’ll see filtration soiling on the edges of your carpet after a while.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to tackle the problem:
Minimise dust in your home
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but regular vacuuming and dusting can help to minimise filtration soiling in your home. Wherever possible, fit hard flooring instead of carpet. Minimise the amount of upholstered furniture in your home — switch to leather and wood if you can.
Try to work out where in your home you’re creating air pollutants. Do you have a real fire? Do you have extraction in your kitchen? Do you use sprays and aerosols? And do people smoke in your home. These are all issues that can cause filtration soiling on domestic carpeting.
One of the most common causes of filtration soiling is the draught that flows underneath doors. Try to keep your doors open fully as much as you can. This may not always be practical in the cold, winter months, however. Which is why you need to remain vigilant and clean your carpet edges as often as possible.
This problem only occurs because air is forced to pass through small gaps under doors. If you can eliminate those gaps, you can eliminate the problem. Use draught excluders to stop the flow of air in and out of the room. You can also fit permanent draught excluders which effectively take your doors all the way down to the floor.
Clean fans and ducts regularly
If you have fans or air conditioning in your home, it’s important to clean them regularly. Fail to do so, and pollutants will simply move from one area of your home to another — before settling on your carpets.
The trick to keeping a carpet in great condition is regular maintenance. Don’t wait until you have a problem — look after your flooring on a daily basis. Use all the tools included with your vacuum, and spot clean problem areas as soon as you notice them. Finally, aim to get your carpets deep-cleaned or steam cleaned at least once every two years.
If you make a determined effort to stop filtration soiling, you can prolong the life of your carpets considerably.