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Dirty carpet edges can be really annoying and may even trigger an allergy flare-up because of trapped dust. Cleaning your carpet by the skirting boards (also called baseboards) is fairly easy if you have a crevice attachment for your vacuum cleaner and a scrub brush. If you see gray or black around the edges of your carpet, it’s a sign of filtration soiling that occurs when your carpet filters dust out of the air. You can combat filtration soiling with a deep carpet cleaning.

Method 1 Removing Dust and Debris

  1. Vacuum your edges using a crevice attachment. 

    Pushing your stand-up vacuum cleaner back and forth over your carpet isn’t enough to keep your edges clean. To get into the cracks along your skirting boards, use the crevice attachment that came with your vacuum cleaner. Press the tip of the attachment down into the carpet to suck up any dust, dirt, and debris.
  • For instance, you might vacuum the edges once a week with your crevice attachment.
  • The crevice attachment looks like a thin rectangular slit, which might be cut at an angle.

Variation: If your vacuum cleaner didn’t come with a crevice attachment, use a handheld vacuum to clean your carpet edges. If you don’t have either a crevice attachment or a handheld vacuum, try detaching the hose from your vacuum. Hold the open end of the hose over your carpet edges and drag it along the skirting board.

2. Drag the crevice attachment in both directions to remove all debris. 

You won’t be able to completely clean your carpet if you only vacuum in 1 direction. Slowly pull the crevice attachment along the skirting board, then reverse directions. Make 2 or 3 passes in each direction to get the carpet as clean as possible.

  • Pay special attention to areas that are visibly dirty. Make sure you suck up all visible dirt and debris before you move on to the next spot.

3. Clean your carpet before it gets dirty to maintain your clean edges.

It’s easy to forget about your edges until they’re noticeably dirty. However, it’s harder to clean your carpet edges when they have a build-up of dirt and dust. Stick to your weekly vacuuming schedule so your carpet edges stay clean.

  • Keep in mind that dirt and debris get trapped in your carpet edges and may be present even if you can’t see them.

4. Treat stains with a carpet cleaning solution. 

Neutralized alkaline or acidic-based products are usually best when removing stains from carpet. While spills and stains aren’t as common along the carpet edges, they can occur. If this happens, gently blot up excess fluid before trying to clean the stain. Spray a carpet cleaner onto the stain, then dab the area with a clean, white cloth until the stain comes up.

  • Follow all of the directions on your carpet cleaner to maximize your results.
  • For a stubborn stain, apply more cleaner as needed to remove the stain.
  • Use a white cloth because dyes from paper towels or rags can bleed into the carpet.

Variation: If you prefer a natural cleaner, make a 1 part vinegar and 1 part water solution. Spray or blot the stain with the vinegar-water solution, then dab it with a clean white rag until the stain is gone.

Method 2 Treating Filtration Soiling

  1. Use the crevice attachment to vacuum loose dust from the edges. 

    The black or gray line you see around your carpet edges is dust and debris that’s settled into the crevice along your skirting boards. Insert the crevice attachment into your vacuum cleaner, then drag it along the edge of your carpet. Reverse directions and vacuum the edge again in the opposite direction.
  • If you don’t have a crevice attachment, use a handheld vacuum cleaner.
  • Your edges will likely still look dirty after you vacuum. However, this will remove the loose debris so it doesn’t clump up or stick to your scrub brush.

2. Scrub the edges with a long, thin cleaning brush to dislodge the debris. 

Use a carpet edge cleaning brush, toothbrush, or grout cleaning brush to scrub the edges of the carpet. Work the brush into the carpet and scrub along the skirting boards. This will loosen dust and dirt that are lodged in the carpet.

  • As another option, use a white rag to scrub the edges. However, be careful because you could accidentally rub against a nail or staple.

Tip: You can buy special carpet edge cleaning brushes that are made for scrubbing edges. However, any cleaning brush will work.

3. Vacuum up any debris that you’ve knocked loose. 

Use your crevice attachment to make another pass with your vacuum cleaner. Pull the crevice attachment along the skirting board in both directions to remove the loosened debris.

  • Your carpet edges may still look dirty, and that’s okay!

4. Spray a carpet cleaner onto the edges of your carpet. 

Use your preferred commercial carpet cleaner or a 1:1 vinegar-water solution. Spray the cleaner along the edges of your carpet where it meets the skirting boards. Apply enough cleaner to moisten the carpet without saturating it.

  • Read and follow all of the directions on your carpet cleaner.

5. Work the cleaner into your carpet edges using your scrub brush. 

While your carpet edges are still damp, use your carpet edge cleaning brush, toothbrush, or grout cleaning brush to scrub the carpet. Make 2-3 passes along the skirting boards with your scrub brush. This will help release any trapped dirt, dust, or debris.

  • You can also use a dampened white rag to scrub your carpet edges. However, be careful because there may be nails or staples along the carpet edge.
  • Dirt and debris will start to come out of your carpet fibers as you scrub, so you’ll likely notice that the carpet is starting to look cleaner.

6. Vacuum up the remaining debris using your crevice attachment. 

The carpet cleaner will release the trapped debris in your carpet so you can vacuum it up. Use your crevice attachment to suck up any remaining dirt and dust. Drag the attachment back-and-forth in both directions until all of the debris is gone.

  • If you still have dark lines around your edges, apply more carpet cleaner and scrub the edges again. If this doesn’t remove all of the staining, you may need to use a carpet cleaner to get your edges clean.

7. Deep clean very dirty edges with a carpet cleaning machine. 

If you have a lot of build-up or staining along your carpet edges, a deep cleaning may be your best option. Move everything away from your walls to expose your carpet edges. Vacuum the edges to remove the loose debris, then spray your carpet cleaner onto the edges to pre-treat stains. Attach a hose to a commercial carpet cleaning machine, then slowly pull the hose nozzle along the carpet edges. Reverse and go in the opposite direction to completely clean the carpet edges.

  • You can buy or rent a carpet cleaner from your local home improvement store. For instance, you might try a Rug Doctor. The carpet cleaner will push the cleaning fluid down into the carpet and will suck it back up.
  • Use the carpet cleaning solution that’s made for your device.


  • Change your air filter in your air conditioner every 3 months to prevent dark edges around your carpets. If you have pets, change your air filter every 2 months.
  • Dust your furniture and decorative items before you vacuum. If you dust after you vacuum, it’ll dirty your carpet again.
  • Cleaning your carpets often will prevent dust and dirt buildup that could aggravate your allergies.

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