It’s raining, it’s pouring, please help my flooring! Fall and winter wetness, mud, ice, and debris mixed into mud and ice can pose a real threat to any kind of flooring, especially if you have kids or pets. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your floors from taking a seasonal beating.
• Mats, mats and more mats! If you have a covered walkway or porch leading up to your main
door, place as many mats as you can under the covered area to increase the available area
for people to stomp off mud, water, ice and debris from shoes and shake it from clothing.
• Don’t be shy or apologetic about placing several mats right inside the door, especially if your home doesn’t have much area outside where mats will stay dry.
• Mud room/mud area inside: If your home has a foyer or designated entryway, make it easy for anyone entering your home to hang up wet clothing and remove or dry off wet shoes. You can find hooks that don’t require drilling holes if you are worried about damage to walls. If you don’t have any such area, or if that area is carpeted or has wood flooring, place ample, waterproof matting down that will protect the floors right inside your main door.
• Hang a friendly, but clear sign indicating you’d like guests to remove their shoes if you want to further reduce risk of damage to your floors. To help guests feel more comfortable, offer them spa slippers and/or socks for those who don’t really like to take their shoes off.
• Provide several towels near the door in a decorative basket for drying off or sopping up accidental spillage. It might be helpful to also provide a separate basket for the used, wet towels.
Pets: With pets, your main concern is going to be addressing wetness, dirt, and debris clinging to paws and fur. You can significantly reduce the risk to your carpet or wood flooring by:
• Investing in pet shoes. Yes, pet shoes, available in stores and online. Of course, getting your pet to actually wear them could be challenging, but it might be worth a try. If your pet will wear them, simply take them off your pet after s/he has been outside.
• Using pet ponchos to keep fur as dry as possible.
• Sealing pet doors. If you have pet doors and your pets are used to going in and out whenever they want, it might be time to close them off and train your pets to let you know when nature is calling them outside.
• Keeping plenty of towels handy right by the door to dry off feet and fur.
• Using a secondary entry for pets that might not be where a guest would enter, but provides a better area for pet entry.
Kids: It’s kind of funny, but some of the same things go for kids and pets! The bottom line for kids is to make drying off as easy as possible, and to help kids be independent if they’re old enough.
• Invest in outerwear that can be removed easily upon entry, such as galoshes, ponchos, and
weather-proof coats that kids can take off themselves and put away neatly.
• Provide plenty of space and hooks at kid-level so they aren’t fighting for space for their things or bunching wet items up. If you have multiple children, you might want to designate certain hooks for each child to reduce squabbles.
• A rack for foot gear will also give kids a clear sense of where to put their winter foot wear so it can dry out before the next trip outside.
• Provide plenty of towels for kids to use to dry off. Just like the hooks, it might even be helpful to provide specific towels for each child.
• Show kids how to stomp debris off their feet on mats, and to shake out wet clothing before coming inside.
Long live your floors!