What’s the best kind of dirt? The sort that never enters your house in the first place. That’s dirt in its proper place – dirt that you don’t have to clean up. One of the best ways to streamline your cleaning routine is to cut the mess off at the source. So here’s lots of advice on how to stop dirt in its tracks:
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. Close your doors: Dirt just likes to travel. It’s happiest when it can roam freely all over your home, hiding in nooks and crannies where it’s most labor-intensive to find and remove. So stop dirt at the borders. That is, habitually keep your doors, drawers, cabinets, wardrobes and other barriers closed. This will keep dirt out in the open, where vacuum cleaners and cleaning cloths will be able to deal with it more readily.
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 mudroom 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.