Winter is a time when we like to keep our homes warm and protect ourselves from the elements. But it’s also a time when we need to think about protecting our floors like carpets, hardwood floors etc. Rain, snow, dirt and salt can be a lethal combination that can create damage to floors, which is why it’s important to take certain preventative steps before and during the cold, winter months.

Always have thick outside mats at every entry points

It is important to remove excess water, snow, dirt and salt from the shoes before entering your home. And the obvious place to start is outside. Place a sturdy, robust mat at every entrance, as they will provide the first layer of protection for the flooring inside. A thick, absorbent mat will trap the worst of moisture, dirt, salt and mildew before it is brought inside.

Place thick welcome mats or doormats inside the house too

No matter how well your family members and guests wipe their feet before they enter your home, bringing some moisture, dirt and salt into your home will sometimes be unavoidable. It is therefore a good idea to place welcome mats or doormats at every exterior door including the front door, garage door and patio. Place a shoe rack or some type of shoe stand near each mat, so people are never forced to walk over your floors with dirty shoes on. And don’t allow damp mats to fester inside your home, as they will start to smell and potentially causing more problems than they solve.

Invest in a rubber mat for drying

Investing in a large rubber mat with sides and raised treads inside the mat is a good way to prevent causing puddles that come from melted snow of  boots and shoes. The shoes should go on these mats until they are dry. If the mats come with raised sides, it’s even better as these sides will contain the melted snow from spreading and you can even put a towel inside these mat for easy cleaning. Once the shoes are dry, you can bring them inside or place them in shoe closets or shoe racks.

Consider your pets specially dogs

Dogs can bring in snow, mud and dirt from outside, so put dog booties on their paws which not only protects them from elements and keeps them warm but also protects your floors. Wipe your dog’s feet before bringing them in. Clean your floors immediately when your dog’s paws leave a mark.

Always vacuum hardwood floors before mopping

If you notice mud, dirt or salt on your hardwood floors, you will probably would think of mopping. However, mopping over dirt or salt from snow could grind particles into the wood and cause permanent damage. If you see snow, water and dirt onto your wood floor, wait for it to dry, vacuum the area first before you start to clean with a mop.

Protect the finish of your hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are treated with special sealants and resins to protect them from scratching and water damage. But the salts used for melting snow and ice can wear away these coatings leaving the wood underneath vulnerable to damage. A mild solution of water and vinegar can be used to neutralize the alkalinity of melting salts and stop the damage of hardwood protective coatings before it starts. We always recommend that you should check with your floor’s manufacturer before applying any treatments.

Through a proper combination of prevention and maintenance, your carpets and hardwood floors will last long and protected in winters.