If you have kids, dogs, or both, cleaning up around the house can become a more challenging task when your little ones or your furry friends track mud into the house. Not only can dried mud be difficult and time-consuming to clean, but it can also be loaded with pesticides and other pollutants. Mud also carries a threat to the surface and finish of your flooring. With all that in mind, rather than working hard to clean up mud after it’s entered your home, the best cleaning strategy is to keep mud from entering the house in the first place.

Finding the perfect doormat

Most people don’t put too much thought into their doormat, but a really good one can make a difference in keeping mud out of the house (and yes, there are really good doormats out there). The mat should be long enough so that you can walk across it with both feet before entering the house, and wide enough as the door. You can vacuum or shake the mats when they get too dirty.

muddy feet

Keep dirty shoes at the door

After a day spent in the great outdoors, kids (and adults) can end up with muddy footwear. Having the right doormat to wipe your feet will help keep mud and dirt outside. Just inside your front door, make it easy for guests and family members to remove their shoes. Keep a shoe rack or tray near the door, and possibly a few slippers as well, so everyone can easily transition from outdoor to indoor footwear. It’s also a good idea to have a small bench or seat near the door so that anyone who needs to sit while putting on or taking off his or her shoes will have a spot.

Dealing with dirty paws

Dogs don’t wear removable shoes, unless forced into them by their owners. That being the case, dog paws can get muddy after they roam around parks and lawns, and they’ll need wiping before they can enter the house. The best defence for muddy paws is to place a mat outside every door of your home, and an easy-to-wash rug inside each entrance. Use the outdoor mat to get the bulk of the dirt off your pet’s paws and the rug as a backup to get what may have been missed outside.

It’s also a good idea to keep a container of towels near the door so you can give your dog a wipe down when they come inside. You might consider keeping a bucket of water near the door as well so you can dip your dog’s paws before drying them off with a towel. There are also several pre-moistened pet wipes on the market, and they can come in handy when you need to quickly give your dog’s paws a cleaning after a messy walk.

It may be difficult at first to get your dog to sit still while you give their paws a cleaning, but if you get into a cleaning routine with your dog every time you return home, he or she will get used to the process. If you need to sweeten the deal, keep a few dog treats ready near the door so you can reward your dog for cooperating with the wipe-down.

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