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During winter and spring, lot's of grit and dirt gets tracked into the house on boots/shoes. People remove their footwear when entering, but the dirt still gets tracked in on socks over the course of a week or two. How can I minimize the amount of dirt that gets tracked around the house once people get inside?

I'm particularly interested in special floor mats or similar solutions.

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At that time of year, focus on the cleaning the "front hall" or "mudroom" - the place where people come in and remove their shoes - much more often than the rest of the house. Dirt from the shoes of one person can easily get onto the sock (or bare foot) of that same person, or someone else who comes through the hall later. This is especially likely if people go in and out of that hall area all the time, not just on their way in and out of the home.

A few moments spent sweeping or vacuuming the front hall every day during the muddy (or dusty, or grass-clippingsy) season may enable you to vacuum the entire rest of the house far less often. Consider keeping the broom or vacuum in that area so it's easy for anyone to do a quick cleanup. Also consider ways to reduce the requirement for people to go in and out of that area - for example we keep the reusable produce bags in the front hall closet, and when we use the last of a vegetable we put the bag away there, meaning we have to go through the potentially dirty area to do so. If you have a similar setup, see if you can move something that is stored in the dirty area to a cleaner area, at least during the dirty season.

As well, set things up so that people do not have to come in far to get their shoes on or off. Without a bench by the front door, people may walk to the stairs to sit and take their shoes off. This creates a larger dirty area. Also, provide a "boot tray" for people to put their dirty shoes on. Whatever dirt falls off the shoes may be confined there and in any event, people are less likely to walk across a boot tray than across empty floor. An area rug by the door can keep the dirt localized. I even know people who have sort of straw mat things that the dirt is supposed to fall through. This involves lifting them up and sweeping under them which frankly seems like too much work to me, but I include it for completeness.

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You said people entering your house remove their footwear, but still carry dirt on their socks - you may try giving them a pair of shoes to use in-house only.

This way even if they have dirt on socks, it will remain captured inside the shoe. Once the person stops using them, you can wash them in the washing machine. Look for shoes made of cloth or some other washable material (I've seen this kind is often used around Europe - also have them at home and you can easily wash them and they are really cheap to buy).

Take note, some people consider that the practice of giving your guests shoes is rude.

  • I don't think the dirt is on the socks to begin with, but is picked up from the floor where the shoes are removed and then carried further in. In-house slippers would have the same problem. – Kate Gregory Apr 20 '15 at 15:38

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