Why Is My Trampoline Turning My Feet Black and How To Prevent It

Black feet from trampoline

Our trampolines provide us with countless hours of fun in the sun, a great activity for the family to bond and get fit together. It’s great to see everyone having a good time, but there was a time when we retreat indoors, we had to give our feet a good wash. They were filthy. But why is my trampoline turning my feet black?

There are two main causes. One is from the accumulated dirt and grime, while the other reason trampolines cause black feet is due to carbon build-up from being in the sun. Both are minor annoyances and can be cleared up pretty easily.

If this has been happening to you and your family, stick around as I show you how to clear them up and prevent it from happening again.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more on the disclaimer page.

Black feet from trampoline

The causes of trampoline black feet

There can be a number of causes of trampoline black feet, but most commonly it is down to two, carbon build-up and dirt.

Carbon from the jumping mat

The jumping mat of a trampoline is typically made of polypropylene. Although this material is made to be UV resistant, we know that nothing will last forever, especially being constantly exposed to harsh sunlight.

After a long period of time, the UV rays will start to break down the mat and its protective layer, releasing the carbon residue below it.

Another scenario is that the trampoline has been well worn, and there might be small tears on the jumping mat.

Constant and long-term usage is sure to bring about wear and tear, plus the interaction with the atmosphere and bodily fluids of jumpers will contribute to their deterioration.

(You can check out our post on how long a trampoline lasts for more info.)

This also causes some black carbon residue to be released.

The result: black feet, black arms, black clothing.

Dirt and grime

Our atmosphere is densely populated with microscopic particles.

The degradation of asphalt or tarmac roadways when automobiles and trucks travel over them produces these particles.

Some of them, as well as the rubber from tires, dry out and float in the air.

These eventually settle as dirt.

Other particles, such as dead insects, muck, leaves, pollen, and flowers, arise from the breakdown of nature around us. T

These, too, drift through the air until they land and stick somewhere.

Finally, sticky substances can be deposited on the mat by soot and ash from fires, as well as particle gases from manufacturing plants.

Other potential causes of black feet on a trampoline

The use of certain harsh cleaning agents can also lead to the decline of your trampoline mat.

It could be a case where some particular chemicals react with the mat and breaks it down, thereby releasing unwanted carbon.

The way you clean could also play a part. It is not advisable to use a hard brush to scrub your trampoline mat, but rather to use a soft cloth to wipe down instead.

How to tell if the black residue is dirt or carbon?

Although polypropylene is ecologically safe, I personally wouldn’t take the risk and let my children get exposed to it, especially over a long period of time.

When you start to notice that your feet turn black while using the trampoline, you should check if it is just dirt or is it simply dirt. In most cases, it’s pretty obvious which is which.

You can run your fingers across the surface of the mat, or even scrape your fingernails across it.

Dirt feels more organic and is very likely oily, kind of like a semi-wet booger. If it is carbon, it would feel powdery to the touch.

What should you do if carbon is being released on your mat?

When carbon gets released, it implies the trampoline mat’s surface is splitting.

Sadly, this indicates that the trampoline is reaching or has reached the end of its useful life.

Cleaning it is only a temporary solution, and in fact, cleaning away the carbon may actually increase the amount of UV rays that reach the polypropylene fibers, which is the part that releases the culprit.

I would recommend purchasing a replacement mat as soon as possible before it completely breaks while someone is jumping on it.

How to keep your trampoline from turning your feet black?

Keeping the black residue off your trampoline isn’t tough. The only problem is that you can’t use cleaning products that include chemicals. These are a part of the problem and wreak havoc on your trampoline’s integrity.

However, there are a few things you can do to protect your trampoline from turning your feet black:

To prevent dirt, dust, and other dangerous material off the jumping surface, purchase a trampoline cover

  • Place the trampoline in a shady area to keep it out of the sun
  • Keep your trampoline in storage if you do not intend to use it for a while or during the winter
  • Regularly clean your trampoline with soapy water.
  • Use rubberized paint to paint your trampoline
  • Do not bring any food or drinks onto the trampoline to avoid spillage
  • Wear rubber sole shoes or a pair of grippy socks (be careful though, wearing shoes might cause static shocks in very dry areas!)

How to clean black residue off a trampoline?

Here are the basic steps you can take to clean the residue off your trampoline mat:

  • To remove any loose residue, sweep the trampoline mat with a broom.
  • Remove as much loose material as possible.
  • Fill a bucket halfway with warm water and make a soapy solution with two tablespoons of liquid dish detergent to the water.
  • Using a hose, start wetting the trampoline mat completely.
  • Lightly scrub with a brush dipped in the soapy solution.
  • When it is free of the black residue, hose down the trampoline pad.
  • Be sure to use a clean towel to dry the trampoline mat.

Alternatively, you can also use a pressure washer to do the job if you have one.

How to remove black trampoline stains from clothes?

Getting black feet can be easily washed off, but what about if they got on your clothes? It might not be as straightforward as dumping them into the washing machine.

I would recommend that you wash these clothes separately from your normal clothes to prevent contamination.

With a bucket of water and one cup of detergent, soak the clothes overnight and rinse them off thoroughly the next day.

You can then proceed to either hand wash or use your washing machine to finish up.

If somehow the stain is quite large or very difficult to remove, you can try using a solvent-based cleaning agent. Spray or apply some to the affected area and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Rinse it off before putting them into your washing machine for a regular spin cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What to do when a trampoline mat breaks down?

It’s time to replace the mat when the trampoline starts to emit carbon black. Unfortunately, there is no way to correct this because the trampoline mat’s real material is deteriorating.
Your trampoline mat is more likely to rip and tear as it becomes weaker.

What footwear to use on a trampoline?

You can wear shoes with rubber soles, but ensure there are no rocks caught in the tread. Gymnastic shoes are good too since they are light, flexible, and allow you to maintain control.

Share this post!
Jacob Mackay
Jacob Mackay

Hi, I'm Jacob Mackay. I work as a structural engineer currently based in Tampa, Florida. Trampolines have brought a ton of fun to my family and now I wish to pay it forward through this blog. You will find a trove of well-researched articles that will help you choose the best trampolines, how to use them safely, as well as pick up a few tricks that will impress your friends and family! Connect with me on LinkedIn or learn more about Trampoline Junction!

trampoline junction popup banner