Master Slushy Boots Season
Crisp, cool air. Fluffy, falling snowflakes. And gross, slushy shoes that turn doorways, foyers, and mudrooms into dirty, wet messes. Yuck.
Here’s how to keep your entryway as pure as the driven … well, you know.
Spring for a New Mat
First things first—you need to swap your old muddy welcome mat for a bright and cheery new one. It’s a low-cost, fun way to brighten up your entryway, and it serves as a constant reminder to thoroughly wipe your feet. “Your best defense against outdoor dirt and grime coming inside is a well-placed mat outside and inside each door to the house,” says author and cleaning expert Debbie Sardone. Most of the dirt and slush will wipe off at the doors before tracking through the house.” If your family traffics in truly serious dirt, however, spring for Rubco’s boot scraper. While it’s not exactly cute, it will rid shoes of winter’s worst.
Lose the Shoes
“For slushy shoe season, I would recommend doing the same as I recommend in all seasons: remove shoes at the door or entryway,” says Sabrina Fierman, vice-president of premier NYC cleaning firm New York’s Little Elves. And although the temptation to just kick off your icky boots is pretty strong, a handsome boot tray will keep your floors clean and give your boots time to dry out, says cleaning and organizational expert Janine Adams. Good ones trap dirt and moisture, and have lips that keep water from seeping out. Just make sure you’re not stashing more boots than your tray can hold, Adams says. “Wet boots piled atop wet just creates a mess—and you’ll be defeating the purpose.”
Repurpose a Dish Rack
If you don’t have a boot tray handy, don’t sweat it. Any tray covered with absorbent cloth will do the trick. Or, be resourceful and use an old dish-drying rack. Simply place it on top of a microfiber mat or towel to catch the drips and dirt. Bonus: It’s easy to wash. Keep a few cloths on hand and switch out weekly (or after a particularly bad weather day).
Wipe On, Wipe Off
Mats and trays take care of dirty soles, but not boot uppers—which frequently suffer salt sprays and muddy splashes. Keep wet wipes and a roll of paper towels to remove dirt before it dries and flakes all over your space. “Don’t move boots inside until you’ve cleaned them,” says Barbara Reich, owner of Resourceful Consultants.
Rack and Roll
Tall boots are notoriously hard to store. They tend to dominate shoe racks, frequently flop over, and just create a mess wherever they go. Honey-Can-Do’s brilliant boot rack magically squeezes six pairs in the space of three, and it keeps them straight to boot (pun intended) so they have room to dry out while securely in place.
Slip Into Something More Comfortable
“Prevention is always easier than the clean up,” Sardone says. Keep house slippers near the front door so that friends and family can slip off their shoes and slip into something cozy, instead of tracking the slush in. If a basket of booties isn’t your thing, a microfiber mat on the inside of your doorway also provides a soft, absorbent welcome for cold, bare feet.
Mop to It
If washing your floors is a once-a-week thing, consider making it an everyday occurrence. “Creating a habit of a quick daily mopping of the entryway will also keep that space looking good. If you do it daily—especially if you use a boot tray—it should take very little time and effort,” Adams says. Plus, it’s hard to justify making a mess when you’ve just spent time making your floor shine.
Of course, the most important thing is this: if you want to master winter’s inevitable mess, you need to come up with a system and stick to it. When you come in from the cold to a fresh, clean, and cozy home, you’ll be glad you gave slush the boot.