Shop

5 ways to stop dirt in its tracks

Image courtesy J & M Home Fashions LLC.
Image courtesy J & M Home Fashions LLC.

It’s your home’s dirty little secret:¬†much of the¬†grime in your house comes from outside, trekked in on shoes that don‚Äôt appear to be either muddy or dirty.

Fortunately, a bit of smart planning can keep those messes from ever getting inside. We run down the top five ways to stop dirt at the door.

1. Choose the right doormats

Ideally, your house¬†should¬†have doormats at every entrance and exit. The mats should be as wide as the door’s width, and long enough to cover the length of a typical stride – that way, people¬†will¬†walk over¬†the mats as they cross the threshold, depositing dirt into¬†them¬†as they go.

When selecting an outdoor mat, choose a durable material like rubber that can withstand the elements. If your area is prone to wet conditions, consider installing an outdoor wire rack to scrape off mud.

Indoor mats come in a variety of materials; look for mats that can be easily cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or shaken clean outside. Clean your mats at least once a week.

2. Keep pets from bringing their messes inside

Let’s face it: dogs and cats¬†are less than diligent about wiping off their paws before coming inside, which is why you need to be ready to clean up after them. Keep a rag or towel handy near¬†the door to wipe off dirt, water¬†and mud.¬†Brush your pet’s coat¬†regularly to keep hair from accumulating indoors. Most importantly, do these things outside – there’s no sense unleashing tumbleweed-sized hairballs in your home.

3. Use floor mats indoors

Use indoor floor mats to catch dirt in high traffic areas like the fridge, the kitchen sink, the toilet and the bathtub. Be sure to choose non-slip mats to keep your dirt-catchers from becoming tripping hazards.

4. Prevent dirt from traveling through your house

Open doors and windows are an invitation for all kinds of particulate matter to occupy your home. Keep screens on windows and doors leading outside. Keep doors inside closed. You can also install door sweeps to keep dirt and debris from sneaking under entranceways.

5. Keep outdoor shoes outside

It can be tempting to hop outside in your loafers to grab the paper, but be sure to take off those shoes¬†(or at least¬†wipe¬†off the soles)¬†before you walk around the house.¬†If your home doesn’t have a mud room,¬†consider designating¬†a garage, closet or shoe cubbie¬†as¬†the place to put outdoor footwear. If it was worn on your feet outside, it should stay outside.

 

Cleaning up after your dog or cat

9.16dog-sittingFor millions of dog and cat owners, Fido and Fluffy aren’t just pets – they’re part of the family. But as much as we love our four-legged friends, they sure can make a mess of things: shedding fur, tracking mud and dirt into the house, and occasionally having an accident on that freshly-cleaned carpet. That’s why we’ve put together some simple tips to help make your pet clean-up easier and more effective.   Prevention While it’s impossible to stop some pets from shedding, there are a few tricks you can use to keep pet hair from¬†rolling freely across your home like tumbleweeds in a Western movie. Brushing your cat or dog regularly will help to minimize shedding, which makes your job easier. You can also limit the areas where your pets travel, by keeping closet doors closed.¬†This will¬†greatly reduce the time you spend cleaning up after your pet. Hairy Business Regular vacuuming will help the minimize the¬†spread of pet hair and pet odor. For best results, use a vacuum with HEPA filters and motorized brushes on your carpet.¬†You can also use¬†your vacuum hose to clean furniture and pet beds. If pet smells have¬†seeped into your¬†carpet, sprinkle some baking soda on the carpet and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before vacuuming. Don’t forget a pet owner’s best friend: the lint roller!¬†Keep one of these handy to quickly clean up pet hair on clothes and furniture. Oops, I did it again! Speed is your friend when it comes to cleaning up after¬†your pet’s accidents. Start by blotting the affected area with a dry towel (never scrub a wet stain; this will only push the stain deeper into the carpet). Keep changing towels and continue soaking up the stain until the area is dry. For more stubborn stains, mix up a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar into a spray bottle.¬†Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for five minutes, then blot the area¬†dry the area with some clean towels. Finally, cover the area in baking soda and let it¬†sit for a few minutes. The baking soda will soak up any leftover moisture, and will also help neutralize the smell. Vacuum up the baking soda once you’re done. If you have hardwood flooring, linoleum or tile,¬†cleaning up accidents can be a little easier. Just make sure to use an antibacterial product, which will help disinfect the area and neutralize potential odors.