I hope you can help me solve this mystery.
Over the last two weeks, black dots have appeared on many surfaces in
my apartment: in the sink, counters, on some walls, and heavily on the
kitchen and bathroom floors, which are linoleum and tile respectively.
When I've swept the floor, half of what I pick up are these dots,
there will be hundreds. the rest of the apartment is hardwood, so they
may be there and I just don't see them. I've wiped them off and they
keep coming back.
They are all the same size (about a mm in diameter) and are perfectly
round. They don't appear to dissolve in water, and are very flat, and
very black. They will adhere to the surface, but will come off in one
piece with scrubbing. They are not evenly distributed, they will
appear in clumps. I assumed they were insect related, and from reading
other posts, it could be left by flies, but I'm puzzled in that I
haven't seen any evidence of flies, moths, or any other pest. And
there are so many dots, seems that I have an infestation.
I suppose anything is possible, but I find this highly unlikely, since
I live in a dry environment, and it's popping up on surfaces that
don't otherwise touch water. I swept my hardwood floor and there were
lots. Thanks for the reply!
Outdoors in spring and fall, cars and walls can get covered with what
look like spots of black paint about 1 mm in diameter. They come from
the artillery fungus. It grows in composting matter such as leaves.
The spots are spores mixed with glue. The fungus can throw these spots
Are there potted plants nearby that might have this fungus in the soil?
Did they begin appearing about the same time you started using your
heating system for the heating season?
In other words, can they be coming out from the ductwork?
Are they oily and/or smear, or do they remain intact like paper punch
Try this on some that are in the sink:
Drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on one, does it turn white?
Drop a few drops of chlorine bleach on one, does it disappear?
Or did it stay black and appear unchanged?
If it stayed black, it's probably soot from the furnace.
If it turned white, it's probably an organic (airborne) mold, like the
type that attacks damp clothes in a hamper.
If it disappeared, it's probably a fungal type (surface) mold, similar
to the moss that grows on the north side of house or tree.
If it's the latter two, a good dehumidifier will help keep it away
after it is eradicated.
I tried your chemical test, and by your prescription, it's soot. But
I've not turned on the heat (I live in so cal). In my initial online
search of information, I came across the artillery fungus, which is
fascinating, but I think some people refer to the tarlike consistency
of the dots, and I think someone mentioned they are blobby, while
these dots are not tarlike, they do not smear, and they are wahfer
thin. I do have house plants though. Some dots are not in direct line
of sight of plants, but, I'll research this source some more.
There are no other obvious sources I can think of in my environment.
But I am beginning to wonder if I'm wasting your time and that it's
something incredibly mundane right under my nose. My neighbor thought
it looked like glitter, and my memory of how they appeared makes that
unlikely, but maybe my interpretation of it all is faulty. I did have
people over the day before they appeared, and I don't remember anyone
wearing glitter, but hey, could have happened, and by now my feet
would have tracked them everywhere. A friend has a steam cleaner, so
I'm hoping to borrow it and attack the apartment. If I do a thorough
clean of the apartment and they still show up, then it may be
something funny, otherwise, if they don't come back, I've probably
been a silly goose. I'll let you know what happens.
thanks for all your input.
I did forget to state that soot would smear in my original response to
Because of the uniformity of size of whatever it is you have there, it
does seem like it must be something man made.
Now that you mentioned you did have guests visit. Could it be
possible one of them had a sweater or dress with some type of
ornamentation that used these flat disks as a part of that decoration?
Or perhaps even an evening purse that is going to pieces on them.
Whenever you do figure out where they came from, we would like to
learn of your discovery!
I think Penn State described the spots as tarlike and others repeated
it. They must have been thinking of the spots that sometimes harden on
your car if a machine has just applied liquid asphalt to a road you
drive on. Those dots don't smear.
On the siding of a house they remind me of spattered paint. They look
like flat stains but can be felt with the thumbnail.
The fungus fires toward bright areas. Indoors it might aim toward a
window, a ceiling, a light fixture, or an appliance, for example. Maybe
it was in a basket of leaves that was briefly in the kitchen.
replying to Claudine, Loretta wrote:
I have been getting them on my kitchen floor and sometimes the bathroom, too.
Like tonight, I just mopped the floor. My husband came home from work, took off
his shoes before going in the kitchen. After he ate, I went in and there they
were! And they are sort of like stuck on there. They don't come off with the
mop, I have to bend down (which is painful with my bad back) and scrape it off
with my fingernail!! We don't have anything on our socks or slippers. I am so
frustrated I could scream!!!!!! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (LOL)
replying to Loretta, anonymous wrote:
To Loretta who has them on the floor when the husband comes home.... it sounds
like his shoes are the problem. My husband used to have black soled shoes that
left marks like that. Try different shoes. :)
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