10 Tips to Keep Mud Out of the House During Rainy Weather
Most folks in Southern California spend more time praying for rain than preparing for it.
Because of this, we usually find ourselves running around looking for old towels to use on wet paws and chasing muddy children down the hall when we get any sort of significant precipitation.
It just is not something we have to think about on a regular basis and, therefore, we usually are not ready when it happens.
Most years might only have a few days where we are wiping paws and removing muddy shoes to try to keep our floors clean, but El Niño comes around every two to seven years promising wetter weather and muddier messes.
So if we prepare for the muddy aftermath of rainstorms with El Niño in mind, we will be more than ready to keep mud out of the house during one of our regular rainy seasons.
Here are 10 must-do tips to help you keep mud out of your house when the next storm passes through.
1. Designate just one or two entrances for muddy feet and paws.
The first step in keeping mud out of your house during wet weather is to limit the number of places where it can be tracked inside.
The most-used door leading to your backyard is probably your best bet, but you may be able to train your pets and family members to use a side door if it is a better option.
It is best to choose an entrance that leads into a room that does not have carpet or any furniture that a dog or child might jump on before you can get them out of their wet clothes and wipe the mud off of their feet.
A garage, laundry room, mud room or kitchen usually works best and is far more likely to have a floor that is easy to clean.
2. Use your mud room, or create one.
If you already have a mud room in your home, you are way ahead of the game.
The whole purpose of this room is to provide a space between the oh-so-dirty outside world and the indoor living spaces in your home.
This single feature will likely do more to keep dirt and mud out of your home than any other mud-reducing solution.
If you are at all concerned about mud being tracked into your home during rainy weather, you definitely need a mud room — or at least a mud area.
If you do not currently have one, it is time to make one.
Any spot without carpet at an exterior entrance will do, but it is usually most convenient if it is located in a garage or laundry room that has a handy door to your backyard or side yard.
It is also quite convenient to locate it near your laundry room or the laundry area in your garage so that everyone can drop off their wet or dirty clothing without carrying it through the house.
A covered front porch is also a great spot for an open-air mud room where people can remove wet or muddy shoes and clothing before entering the house.
3. Use a mat-and-rug system at every entrance.
If your goal is to keep mud out of the house, every entrance needs a mat on the outside and a rug on the inside.
Of course, not just any mat will do; it needs to be a bristly or rubber mat that will trap or scrape off mud as your pets, family members and guests walk on it.
A large mat that is difficult to avoid is best, but you can also use multiple mats if you are not able to find one large enough to suit this purpose.
Something more like a runner leading up to your door is generally most effective.
Just inside each of your doors, you should have a washable rug.
While it might be tempting to purchase nicer rugs that are more attractive, it is most likely not worth the expense.
These rugs are going to be doing a lot of work and spending a lot of time being tumbled around in your washer and dryer, so the smarter choice is to go for something sturdy and functional that you will not mind ruining.
Old throw rugs that have seen better days work well for this, as do old bathroom rugs.
If you do not have any old rugs laying around, pick up some inexpensive but durable options at discount retailers to get you through the rainy months.
There are even specially designed doormats made specifically to soak up water and mud from pups who have been out to play after rain.
Once we go back to our typically dry Southern California weather, you can put the pretty rugs by your doors again.
4. Teach your dogs and children to stay on the rugs.
Once you have your mat-and-rug system in place, the next step is to teach your children and dogs to stop on the rug and stay there until you have had time to remove muddy shoes or wipe muddy paws.
5. Keep muddy shoes off of your floors.
A boot tray is a simple, inexpensive solution for muddy boots and shoes and can be placed on a porch or in your mud room by the door.
A shoe rack is another option — and one that is used more often — however, this solution may work better when it is not raining, since a shoe rack is generally more difficult to clean than a boot tray that can simply be hosed off.
It is a good idea to make your house a no-shoe zone regardless of the weather.
This helps to keep mud outside when it’s raining, but even when the sun is out, this helps keep dirt, pesticides and other unsavory elements from being tracked into your home.
If you want to go a step farther, you can keep a basket of slippers just inside the door for use by your family members and guests once they have taken their shoes off outside.
It is also a good idea to have shoes that you keep by the door that are only used for working in the yard or garden or that are only used for playing outside.
Designating shoes strictly for gardening or outside play is a great way to ensure that they are not worn inside and to keep mud out of the house.
One more idea that goes with this tip is to invest in a pair of dog booties to put on your dogs when they go outside to use the restroom during or after inclement weather.
6. Keep towels by the door.
Keep a basket of clean towels in your mud room or by your designated entrance.
This will ensure that a towel is always handy when you need to dry off a wet child or wipe muddy paws.
If it is muddy paws you are dealing with, you will also want to make it a habit to keep your dogs outside or in the mud room or garage until they do their inevitable shake to get some of that water and mud off of their coats.
Once they shake off the excess, it will be easier to use the towels just inside the door to dry their coat or wipe their paws.
7. Invest in drying options for clothes and shoes.
If wet shoes are an issue in your house, invest in a boot dryer that can be conveniently placed in your mud room, laundry room or entry.
These inexpensive gadgets help shoes and boots dry much faster and will help remind your family members that those wet shoes should not be brought into the house.
A drying rack is also a good idea to have on hand.
While these are usually used to dry clean clothes after they come out of the washer, they can also be used for wet clothes and towels that are waiting for their turn in the washer.
This will keep wet, muddy clothes away from your other laundry and will help keep your laundry hamper from smelling like mildew from wet contents.
8. Cover your porches and patios.
Covering your porches and patios is a good idea, in general, since it enhances these outdoor living spaces and makes them more functional.
For practical purposes during the rainy season, a covered porch or patio is the perfect place to take off muddy shoes and wet clothes before entering the house.
When it is raining, it is much harder to convince someone to stand in the downpour while they take off their shoes, but if they have protection from the elements while they are still outside, they will have no excuse for not taking the time to remove muddy shoes and clothes before coming inside.
9. Install gutters near doorways.
Gutters are a simple solution that makes your entryways more inviting and helps keep your family members and guests a bit dryer.
Even if it is only raining lightly, the water coming off of your roof at the edge of your porch or over your door may be significant.
This can force your guests to walk through a waterfall to get to your door, and it can create puddles and muddy areas near the entrances to your home.
By installing gutters, you can divert this downpour and guide it to a more suitable location, such as down a rain chain into a garden bed or into a rain barrel for later use.
10. Install good ground covers.
Good ground covers make your outdoor entertaining areas more functional, more inviting and easier to use for more of the year.
They are a particularly important part of your overall landscape design if you are trying to keep mud out of your home.
After all, there would be no mud to track in if proper ground covers are in place to ensure that there is no mud.
Most of the mud that is tracked from your yard into your house is either going to originate in bare patches of dirt or in a natural grass lawn.
Therefore, if you limit these two surfaces, you will limit the amount of mud your children or pets can find to play in or walk through in your yard.
It is particularly important that you limit mud in areas where your children or pets play, in your pets’ favorite bathroom spots and in any areas that are near entrances to your home.
A covered patio is the best — but usually also the most expensive option — for ensuring there is no bare dirt near doors.
This option provides an outdoor living area that can be used throughout the year and is a great investment for homeowners who have the budget to allow this type of home improvement.
Not only will this provide dirt-free areas near the entrances to your home, but it will also provide dirt-free, comfortable areas where you, your family and your guests can enjoy time in your backyard during or after rain.
If you are considering this solution, you should consider slip-resistant paving stones to make your patio even more suitable for use after rain.
Natural grass can be a nightmare during and after rain, and if you have children, pets or guests who walk through the grass and into your home, you may end up with both mud and wet blades of grass tracked all over your floors.
An easy solution to this problem is to replace some or all of your natural grass lawns with artificial turf.
Synthetic grass offers the same lush, green look and feel, but this option allows your lawn to be completely mud free.
As an added bonus, replacing your natural grass with manufactured grass means no more mowing, watering, fertilizing, weeding, edging and aerating as well.
Another ground cover option to consider is gravel, which is a great choice that also allows for proper drainage without puddles or muddy patches.
What tricks do you employ to keep mud out of the house?