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Cleaning Up the Messes of Winter

The cold, wet weather of winter also means, cold wet messes in your home. Every time you, a family member, or your pets come in from the winter streets and sidewalks, you are also dragging in whatever snow, sleet, salt or slush that may be present into your home as well. Luckily, this article from Enviro Maids, has tips on how handle those winter messes being brought into your home.

How to Handle Winter Messes

Snow, sleet, and ice not only make for slick road conditions, they can also cause quite the mess inside your home. Floors and carpetsHow to Handle Winter Messes, January 2015 usually take a beating this time of year largely due to family members walking through the house in snow-covered boots and tracking in rock salt and other melting materials. As we get ready to tackle another long New England winter, we’ll share our tips on how to keep the winter elements outdoors where they belong and out of your home.

Stop Moisture and Muck at the Door

While a “Welcome” mat is a great way to greet visitors and adds a warm touch to your home, you’ll want to store yours away during the winter months and replace it with one that’s more utilitarian. Look for rugs with firm bristles that guests can use to scrape the salt, dirt, pebbles, and grime from the soles of their shoes. Rugs made from coir — a natural fiber extracted from the husk of coconuts — is a popular material used in outdoor rugs and is an eco-friendly option. Once you have your heavy duty outdoor rug in place, you’ll want to add a super-absorbent rug in the entryway of your home. Look for ones made from cotton and microfiber to soak up any moisture.

Shoes Off, Slippers On

Get family members into the habit of taking their shoes and boots off immediately upon entering the home. Place a rubber-backed absorbent mat or a metal boot tray in your mud room or foyer where kids can deposit their footwear. The mat and tray help to collect any moisture that melts off footwear, avoiding a messy puddle on your floors. Have a basket or bin handy to keep everyone’s slippers within reach. What about house guests? Unless you’re very close to the person paying you a visit, you may feel awkward asking them to remove their shoes. In addition to the outdoor and indoor mat, on nasty weather days, lay a walking mat in the main entrance way. This extra-long, narrow mat (usually 10 feet long) extends into your home helping to remove any remaining residue.

Wet Outerwear

What kid doesn’t enjoy frolicking in the snow, especially when they’re treated to a day off from school? Between snowball fights, snowman building, and making snow angels, your young one’s jacket, pants, and clothing will likely get wet. Have a coat rack or hooks where each child can hang their coat, scarf, and gloves up to dry. If they have an easily accessible place to put their wet gear, they’ll less likely be tempted to drop them on the floor or on furniture.

Keep a Mop Handy

As much as you try to avoid tracking in snow, dirt, and moisture into your home, accidents are bound to happen. In addition to creating a slipping hazard, slick spots on your floor can damage certain types of flooring materials. Hardwood floors are especially vulnerable to winter damage. According to the, water and hardwood shouldn’t ever mix. Water that’s left for long periods of time can cause damage to hardwood floors, including warping and staining. Keep a mop handy so you can quickly remove any excess moisture from your floors. Another enemy of wood flooring is rock salt and sand. Rock salt is the mineral form of sodium chloride and when left on wood can leave spots and a white film on the surface. In addition, the abrasive texture of salt can cause tiny scratches in the wood finish. Vacuum or carefully sweep any salt, sand, or other winter debris immediately and wipe with a damp cloth to remove any traces of residue.

Clear Walkways and Steps

Before entertaining guests at your home, be sure to clear the walkway and steps of as much snow and ice as possible. Doing so will help create a safe surface for them to walk on, as well as help to keep the amount of slush and moisture they track into your home to a minimum.