Snow, salt, dirt, mud, grit, lawn pesticides, and whatever is trapped in your pet's paws--yuck. This time of year brings messy weather with it, and that messy weather shows up inside your home as well as outside, on your floors, in your rugs and carpeting, and in the air. Since 30-40% of home contaminants ride in on your shoes, reducing the contaminants tracked in can help keep your family stay healthy and your home stay clean.
Start with putting an effective doormat system in place, which can significantly reduce what winds up on your floors. Although any mat will help, a progression of mats works best. The first mat should be a scraper mat, often made of wood slats, placed outside your entry door. Just inside the door, place an absorbent mat to capture more grime and moisture. If you have the space, a finishing mat to get the last dregs and dry shoes is a good idea.
An excellent post-mat step is to ask everyone to remove their shoes. Even after being scraped, shoes carry bacteria, and do indeed transfer it to your floors. (For guests who might be squeamish about removing shoes, keep a bag of clean slippers or socks with non-skid soles on hand.) However, if your house looks like mine, that means a messy pile of shoes in the kitchen. Maybe a shoe rack will work for you, or you can make your own shoe storage container.
Of course, reducing your use of lawn pesticides and corrosive snow removal materials is important as well, both for your family's health and for your pet's health.
Dirt is out and clean is in with a few easy-to-implement steps.
By Beth Lovejoy, on behalf of the Summit Environmental Commission