Dark, Shadowy, Dirty -- Oh, My

By Mary Hunt

July 23, 2018 4 min read

Dark, shadowy, dirty lines on the carpet along baseboards, under doors, underneath draperies and along the edges and crevices of carpeted stairs are visible signs of a very aggravating problem called filtration soiling. It comes from airborne pollutants passing through the carpet as they attempt to get through the crack between the carpet and the baseboard, or under a closed door.

Filtration soil is an accumulation of soot from dirty ducts; smoke from candles and the fireplace; tobacco smoke; kitchen grease from the oven and cooktop; smog; auto emissions; and pollutants from outdoors.

A good heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, system is designed to filter out airborne soil, trapping it in the HVAC filter. But once the filter is full, the system will send the air pollutants back into the house through the ducts, where all of that icky, sticky mess gets blown into corners and crevices. Normal vacuuming is no match for filtration soil. And neither are the best carpet-spot removers. Filtration soil requires the big guns.

Severe filtration soil may require the services of a professional carpet cleaner who specialize in this unique problem.

*How to Remove Filtration Soil Yourself

--Using the vacuum crevice tool, vigorously vacuum the areas suffering with filtration soil to remove all the debris and dust from the stains areas.

--Use a specific cleaning product for this kind of soil, such as Prochem Filter-Out, specially formulated to remove filtration soil lines, soot and other electrically charged particles. (It's about $17.) Apply it undiluted so it saturates the fibers in the stained areas. Allow it to sit for three to five minutes.

--Scrub the lines of filtration soil with a good strong brush that can get down into the crevices.

--Extract completely using hot water or All Fiber Rinse -- not absolutely necessary but an excellent product that will assure a good clean rinse. (About $36). Use a wet, dry vacuum to do this if you have one available, or blot well with a clean white cloth.

--Repeat as needed depending on the severity of the problem.

*How to Prevent Filtration Soil

--Have your air ducts cleaned professionally, ideally once a year.

--Change the filter(s) on your HVAC system once every three months without fail.

--Thoroughly clean the filter in the range hood weekly.

--Use the range hood fan and vent every time you use the oven or cooktop. You want all of that smoke, cooking oil and airborne residue to leave the house immediately.

--Keep doors and windows closed if you live on a busy street or in an area with a lot of pollutants.

--Make your home a smoke-free zone. All smoking should be taken outdoors and away from open windows and doors.

--If you use a fireplace, make sure the system is clean and the pollutants it creates are being properly removed from the house. Clean the chimney and filter (if any) regularly, as well as any filters.

--As lovely as candles and aromatherapy can be, these can contribute to a filtration soil problem. Convert to flameless LED candles, which create a lovely, realistic ambience. Some even have fragrance. For more information and links to the products mentioned in the instructions above, please visit www.everydaycheapskate.com/grimylines.

Mary Hunt’s column, “Everyday Cheapskate,” can be found at creators.com.

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