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Old 08-20-2016, 10:21 PM   #1
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We're Completely Stumped

We cannot figure out where they're coming from or even what they are. Periodically they show up and it's driving us crazy.

I'm talking about black smudges on the floor. They appear on the hardwood in the dining area and the ceramic tile in the kitchen and half bath to the left of the fridge.

They can be tracked around on the bottoms of our feet. They smear easily. They happen during all seasons, when we have been in and outdoors and when we have not been outdoors. They wipe up easily with a squirt of windex and a paper towel. There is no apparent source. I've checked the swivel mechanism on the two stools and the feet on the stools. Nothing is dropping from the ceiling - it remains white.

The floor is cleaned mainly with a Swifter wet mop.

I gotta tell you it's making us crazy. SO is convinced the house is haunted by someone who wants us to move out so they can have the place. I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person with a logical mind. I have no clue.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:35 PM   #2
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Andy could you post a picture of the smudges?

You have checked all the soles of your various shoes and boots right?
the wheels on your vacuum cleaner?

You say periodically... every week? once a month? ???

If you scrape it with your fingernail - is it like gummy? rubber(y)? tar?

tar - what is the temp outside? are you picking up some in the heat and bringing it in?
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:40 PM   #3
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If the soles of your running shoes are black, they are rubber and not non-marking. My tile floors need regular cleaning because my Saucony running shoes aren't non-marking. They don't leave black marks tho.
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:42 PM   #4
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Could it be something your feet are picking up from some other surface in the house? A floor mat in some other room, maybe? Dust from the ceiling fan that gets smudged when you walk on it?
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:58 PM   #5
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If the soles of your running shoes are black, they are rubber and not non-marking. My tile floors need regular cleaning because my Saucony running shoes aren't non-marking. They don't leave black marks tho.
I worked in an office and they put in new rubber molding, when they put in new carpets. The entry to my cube was very narrow (OSHA OSHA OSHA ALERT..ha ha), just the touch of my black rubber shoes against the cream colored molding, left black marks. It had to be cleaned with some kind of petroleum product. I tried my best to not let the two touch, but, there were scuffs there again.....

Your home could be haunted. Do you have an automated vacuum cleaner and a puppy? Perhaps?
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:00 PM   #6
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It happens when we are barefoot and haven't been out. Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall. No running shoes. Happens when we're only wearing socks too.

No likely sources from other parts of the house.
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:04 PM   #7
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Then you have a burglar or a stalker, or a friendly neighbor stopping in. Are your doors secure?
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:06 PM   #8
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We're Completely Stumped

Something on your vacuum cleaner/Swiffer? Like a rubber gasket or bumper? When I had a cleaning lady, she tended to ram the Swiffer bumper into the trim in the bathroom, and it left black marks.
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:25 AM   #9
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Wow -- an interesting mystery!! I don't know what kind of floors you have, but do you think it's something seeping up from under the flooring? I agree with the others -- check your vacuum, swiffer, broom, etc. Good Luck! Let us know if you solve the mystery!
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:50 AM   #10
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Did you happen to have the wood floor refinished before this started? I found a site that describes how metal shavings from sanding a wood floor reacted with acids in the wood and corrosive chemicals in the finish to produce a type of black rust. If that's what this is, you and SO might be tracking it onto the tile.

http://www.hardwoodfloorsmag.com/san...od-floors.html
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:06 AM   #11
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The floor was installed new in 2008. These are smudges that wipe up easily rather than rust spots as pictured in the link. These marks are confined to the pictured area and have never appeared in the rest of the hardwood finished floor.

The marks appear when we haven't recently used the swifter or a vacuum.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:40 AM   #12
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Andy, I know this is really gross but do you have a cat or a dog?

Could they possibly be "dragging their butts" ???

Sorry, as said, I know it's gross but I discovered my long haired cat, when he gets pieces stuck he drags on the basement floor. took me a bit to figure it out and dang difficult to scrub off a concrete floor.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:16 AM   #13
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I was having the same problem. The problem always appeared in the kitchen and bathroom. Both floors have tile. They came in a tore up the carpet in the big room. The only thing we can figure out is that is was the padding from under the carpet. It had totally disintegrated due to age and wear. No more black spots and pieces of it coming through. And now I have a tile floor in the big room also.

And it is possible your home is haunted. It could be the previous owner doesn't want you living there. Do do do do. Do do do do! The Twilight Zone.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:04 AM   #14
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Andy, I know this is really gross but do you have a cat or a dog?

Could they possibly be "dragging their butts" ???

Sorry, as said, I know it's gross but I discovered my long haired cat, when he gets pieces stuck he drags on the basement floor. took me a bit to figure it out and dang difficult to scrub off a concrete floor.
With SO's recent health issues, I've been introducing myself as her service animal. I don't recall dragging my butt across the floor. We have no cats or dogs.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:11 AM   #15
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With SO's recent health issues, I've been introducing myself as her service animal. I don't recall dragging my butt across the floor.
Ah well, not to worry, as a 'dog's body' when you get 'bone'tired' you're allowed to 'drag your ass'.

I'm sure the gremlin will realize he has been discovered and will change his shoes.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:35 AM   #16
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Another thought: do/did you have a rubber-backed area rug in that spot? The one I had in the bathroom had rubber backing that was deteriorating, and left marks on the floor which took some elbow grease to remove.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:53 AM   #17
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A pic of the smudges would help in the diagnosis of the problem.

Since it wipes up easily it sounds like a surface contamination issue.

But as my mechanic always says about those intermittent vehicle problems, "If it isn't broke and I can't see what wrong then I can't fix it".

Until then.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:58 AM   #18
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Could they be coming from an air conditioning duct?

Ever find any on other than on the floor?

Any odor or aroma?
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
Could they be coming from an air conditioning duct?

Ever find any on other than on the floor?

Any odor or aroma?
Only on the floor in the areas pictured. No odor.
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Old 08-21-2016, 02:31 PM   #20
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Is it possible that it is coming from the swivels on your chairs? I have had the problem. Put a piece of newspaper under each chair and swivel it around a few times.
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