Even if your floors look clean, there may be more lurking beneath your feet than you realize. It’s always a disheartening experience to walk across a floor and then look at the soles of your feet to discover they are black. It leaves you wondering, “Why does my floor make my feet black?” Well, the answer is a bit alarming but has an easy solution.
Simply put, your feet are black because your floor is dirty. But, don’t worry! It is something that can be changed. Dirty floors can also be caused by cleaning chemicals. Regardless, if your feet are turning black after walking across your floor, it’s time for some deep cleaning.
Where does the Dirt Come From?
There is no secret, nor is there any shame in realizing that your floors are dirty. It’s just a warning sign to know that it’s time for some deep cleaning. But, where does all this dirt come from?
Dust, Debris, and Pollen
Everything that moves around in the air will eventually fall onto the floor. Dust, debris, and pollen that comes in from open windows or gets sent soaring through the vents in the room are all going to end up under your feet.
When you leave your windows open, even with a screen, the particles are so small that they slip through and come into your home, resting on the floors.
A dirty air filter that needs to be changed can also help to spread dirt around through the vents. Cleaning the vents will help.
Skin and Pet Hair
Even if you never open your windows, just living in the home is enough to cause dirt particles to fall onto your floors.
Our skin creates small amounts of dirt, and the cells flake off along with hairs. Pet hair is especially an issue not to mention all the mess that pets leave behind.
Dirt and Mud
Also, any dirt or mud that is tracked in from outside will spread and get dragged across your flooring.
How to Clean a Dirty Floor
Knowing how to clean a floor is an important step in the process of keeping your feet from turning black when you walk across them.
Clean from the Top Down
Proper floor maintenance and general cleaning will help keep the floor clean. The more often you clean the floor, the cleaner it will remain. However, if you are not starting your cleaning routine from the top down, you will be missing potential dirt issues.
All of that dust that is on top of the fridge or a bookshelf is eventually going to fall onto the floor unless you catch it from the top first.
No Shoes and Laying Out a Welcome Mat
In some cultures, it is common to request visitors and family members to remove their shoes when entering the home. These households often have dedicated slippers or house shoes that the occupants wear which helps to keep the floors clean.
Even if it is not something you feel comfortable doing, you can still stop some dirt from entering your home from visitors’ feet by laying out a welcome mat. Place a mat at all the entrances on the outside where visitors and family members can wipe their feet before entering.
Placing a boot scraper or a rough welcome mat outside the entrance doorways and a softer mat on the inside works well.
Type of Floors
The type of floor you have makes it easier or more difficult to clean.
Carpets are the hardest type of flooring to keep clean since you often cannot see the dirt that has settled down into the fibers.
Textured floors are more difficult to deep clean since there are more crevices for dirt to hide and accumulate.
Laminate floors tend to collect dirt that sticks to the surface and transfers onto the soles of bare feet that walk across them.
One way to prevent floors from turning feet black is to mop properly. Even if you are mopping several times a day, if you are not doing it correctly, the dirt is still going to build up.
Before you mop a floor, be sure to first vacuum any nearby carpets or rugs to eliminate any dust or debris that will be tracked onto the freshly mopped floor. Removing any rugs is even better. Also, move all the furniture to clean underneath.
If you use a traditional mop and bucket, make sure the water is clean.
As dirty water accumulates in the pail, dipping the mop into it and running it across the floor will only spread dirt. If you are using a steam mop or microfiber mop, make sure the pad is clean.
Mop at least once every week. In high-traffic areas, you may even need to mop daily.
Use the Right Cleaner
Be sure to use the right cleaner for the type of floor you’re cleaning.
Choose the gentlest and most natural cleaner possible that will work with your specific floor. Cleaners that have heavy chemicals, or have the wrong pH, or are oil-based can actually create more of a problem on certain floors, like laminate flooring.
Cleaners with oil and wax in them actually create a residue over time making the floors look milky or showing up footprints quickly. It’s always a good idea to use only warm, distilled water or to dry mop.
A Bigger Problem
A dirty floor, even if it looks clean, is enough to cling to bare feet and make them look black. However, sometimes, the problem is bigger and needs to be addressed immediately.
If your floor itself looks black, check to see if you have a mold or mildew problem. If so, it will need to be sanitized to prevent problems that exposure to mold can cause.
Bleach or vinegar are two separate methods for attacking mold. Do not mix bleach with anything but water as it can create dangerous, toxic fumes when mixed with the wrong things. Also, be sure to check with the manufacturer of your specific flooring to make sure you can use bleach.
Sometimes, you may have to remove the planks or sand down a wood floor until there is no mold or mildew left. Whatever you do, make sure the floors are completely dry after ridding them of mold.
If you choose to use bleach, make sure you properly dilute it to at least a 10:1 solution of water and bleach. Also, make sure you wear protective gear and have plenty of ventilation.
If you choose to use vinegar, pour it into a spray bottle. If you prefer, you can dilute it with water. Spray it directly onto the mold or mildew and let it sit for at least an hour before scrubbing the area clean.
Your floors are making your feet black because they are dirty. But, don’t let this discourage or embarrass you. It’s usually a problem that is easy to fix with a good deep cleaning done properly.