Why Does My Trampoline Make My Feet Black? The (Dirty) Truth

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Have you or your children ever gotten off your trampoline after a session of bouncing and noticed your feet are black?

Often without any obvious explanation?

It has happened to most of us at one time or another.

Well actually it will be one of two reasons your trampoline is making your feet black.

And we are going to cover both of them in this article.

So let’s get started.

Why Does My Trampoline Make My Feet Black?

If your feet are black after going on a trampoline it is either because, 1) The trampoline mat is getting old, and the black is carbon fiber coming out of the mat, or 2) It is dirty and just needs a good wash. If it is carbon fiber, the substance will be powdery and soft and this is a sign that your trampoline is reaching the end of its life and needs replacing.

REASON 1: The Trampoline Mat Is Getting Old

Boy jumping on trampoline with leaves on it

If you have had your trampoline a good few years (or maybe if you bought a cheap trampoline!), then the reason you are finding your feet getting black after being on it is probably that the trampoline mat is wearing out.

The black is carbon fiber coming through the mat.

The carbon is added to the mat, which is usually made of polypropylene, to give it protection from the UV rays the sun emits.

Without carbon fiber, the mat’s life expectancy would be dramatically shorter.

In fact, carbon fiber can extend the life of a trampoline mat from around a year, up to ten years.

But like anything, it doesn’t mean the trampoline mat will last forever.

Eventually the mat will start to deteriorate, and one sign of this is the mat cracking and the black carbon fibers begin released, so anyone on the trampoline ends up with black feet!

Unfortunately once this happens there is no long-term solution, it is a sign that you need to replace your trampoline.

REASON 2: The Trampoline Mat is Dirty

The other reason for getting black feet after being on a trampoline, is good old dirt!

Yes your trampoline mat simply has a build-up of grime on it, that needs cleaning off.

It can often be hard to see as the mat itself is black, which hides any dirt.

This dirt can come from anywhere and everywhere.

It could be dirt and dust floating about in the atmosphere, it could be dead insects, leaves, pollen, or particles clinging onto people’s feet that come off when they jump on the trampoline.

It doesn’t really matter how it got there, but it is there.

How To Tell If It Is Carbon or Dirt?

Working out whether it is a deteriorating mat or dirt causing your black feet is quite important.

After all, you don’t want to replace a mat thinking it has worn out, only to find out that it is dirty.

All you need to do is rub your fingers across the surface of the mat.

If it feels oily and sticky it is dirt. 

If a powdery, dusty substance is left on your fingers, it is carbon, which means the mat has worn out and needs replacing.

In short, most of us know what dirt feels like, so if it isn’t that then it is carbon!

How to Clean A Dirty Trampoline Mat

If your trampoline is dirty, it is a pretty easy fix, you can just clean it the same way you would most other things.

  • Use a soft-bristled broom to clear any loose residue.
  • Fill a bucket with warm water and dish detergent.
  • Find a soft brush or sponge and dip it in the soapy solution and gently clean the mat.
  • Rinse the trampoline mat with clean water.
  • Dry the mat, and make sure it is completely dry before using it.

Or for a more comprehensive explanation check our article on whether trampoline stains come out.

How to Stop A Trampoline Mat From Deteriorating

No matter what you do, eventually your trampoline mat will break down over time.

And as we discovered when we looked at how long trampolines last, some brands will definitely last longer than others.

But there are a few steps you can take to prolong the life of your trampoline:

  • If possible put your trampoline in a shady spot. Over time the UV rays the sun emits will slowly break down the mat.
  • Each year try coating your trampoline mat with car wax to prevent it from oxidizing.
  • Buy a trampoline cover to put over it when it isn’t in use; or
  • Clean the mat regularly and don’t use chemical cleaning solutions as they can ruin the integrity of the mat.
  • If you won’t be using the trampoline in the colder months take it down and store it away.
  • Don’t allow shoes to be worn on the trampoline.

Follow these suggestions and your trampoline shouldn’t wear out as quickly.

Why Are Trampolines Black?

That leaves the question of why trampoline mats are almost universally always black.

Well, we have touched on the main reason at the start of this blog, it is because mats are made up of carbon fiber which is black.

Black also hides dirt very well and is better at absorbing the rays of the sun.

Also on a sunny and bright day, which is when trampolines are often used, a bright-colored mat would be quite blinding to look at.

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Answering the Question Why Does My Trampoline Make My Feet Black

If you are finding your feet are black after using a trampoline then it is almost certainly one of two reasons:

  1. The trampoline mat is getting old and has worn down so much that the black carbon fibers that are in the mat to prolong its life start coming through.
  2. The trampoline mat is just dirty and needs a good clean!

Depending upon the quality of the trampoline, a mat can last from one year to ten years plus, but hopefully you will know whether something is dirty or not.

Wipe your finger along the mat, if it is a powdery, soft substance it is carbon and you need a new mat.

Otherwise, a wash with soapy water should do the trick!

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