10 Tips to Avoid Tracking Mud into the House

One of the more popular decorating trends right now is bringing the outdoors inside, usually through the use of earth tones and outdoor textures. What designers probably don’t mean when they talk about obtaining an outdoorsy feel is to literally bring in the outdoors, dirt and all.  Unfortunately kids don’t seem to understand this, and parents often struggle with kids and pets tracking mud and debris into the house.  If this situation is a familiar one, consider these 10 tips that can prevent kids and pets from tracking mud indoors.

  1. Put out a welcome mat: Place a nice thick mat at every door; the bigger the better.  This includes the door from the garage and the back door coming in from the back yard, not just the front door.  Make sure that everyone knows that they need to use the mat to wipe their feet before coming into the house, and that the mats are not just for decoration.
  2. Have a no shoes policy: Asking your family and guests to remove their shoes when they come into the house is becoming a more common practice these days.  However, for this to work it’s important to have a place for your guests and family to put their shoes when they come in.  You could have a basket or a shelf on the floor by the door to give an obvious nod to your guests that they should remove their shoes when coming into your home.
  3. Supply flip flops: Supplying a nice basket of flip flops or slippers by the front door for your guests to use after they take off their shoes is a very welcoming gesture.  This is particularly important during cooler weather when some people would be uncomfortable walking around barefoot.  Try to find an attractive basket that is meant to sit on the floor and fill it with various sizes of slippers.  If you have children who visit you may want to include some child-sized flip flops as well.
  4. Supply a bench: Placing a bench by the door where people can sit down and remove their shoes is a great option for eliminating the tracking of mud into the house.  Many benches come with baskets underneath where indoor shoes can be stowed for the family.  Some benches even have a mirror and coat hooks, creating a mini mud room feel that can work for most any door in the house.
  5. Place throw rugs by the door: Keeping throw rugs on the floor by the doors is another way that you can capture some of the errant mud that often finds its way into your house.  Between a mat on the outside and a rug on the inside most people will get the dirt and mud off of their shoes.  Choose rugs that are easy to shake out or throw into the washing machine.  Rubber backed rugs won’t slip on hardwood or carpeting.
  6. Use only one door: During bad weather use only one door. Using an entrance that comes into an area that is easy to clean will minimize the mess. Reducing the number of entrances will allow you to keep up with any footprints or dirt that comes in so that it isn’t tracked through the rest of the house.
  7. Keep a towel by the door: Place a towel by the door so that when you bring your pet back into the house you can dry his feet.  This will help reduce wet footprints on your floors and furniture.  If your pet has muddy feet you may need to use a damp rag or wipes to clean off the mud before it can be tracked into your house.
  8. Keep pet paw hair trimmed: Have your groomer trim your pet’s paw hair to remove the fur from between the pads of the feet.  This fur is what collects the dirt and allows Fido to bring in grass and other debris from outside.  Keeping up with this grooming yourself will minimize how much your pet will track in.
  9. Sweep sidewalks: Keep walkways clean as they approach your door.  If the sidewalk is clean there is less of a chance that dirt will be tracked in.  The same goes for keeping patio areas and garage floors neat and clean.  Eliminating dirt from the point of entry will reduce the work to keep it out.
  10. Update flooring: Keep in mind the next time you update the flooring in your home to install easy to clean flooring.  Hardwood is an excellent option because it is easily swept and mopped.  Including a tile entryway can also reduce the amount of dirt tracked onto your carpet.  Installing stain resistant carpeting is another smart option so that if mud is tracked into the home it will not stain the carpet and can be easily cleaned up.
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