Stop Dirt at Your Doorstep

Want to clean less? These simple tips help prevent dirt from entering your home in the first place.

Quick: Name three things you wish you could do more often.

We're guessing "clean my house" didn't make the cut, even for the most diehard neatniks among you.

Follow these tips from the experts to help keep dirt and dust out of your home. Think about it: Less time cleaning means more time for those top three to-dos on your list—finally!

Get Mat Happy

Put a mat on both the inside and outside of every exterior door, says Donna Smallin Kuper of Unclutter.com and author of Cleaning Plain and Simple. You'll give everyone two opportunities to remember to wipe their feet, while effectively doubling the passive sole-cleaning of those who forget.

Sock It to 'Em

Keep a shoe-free home, recommends Mary Findley, founder of Go Clean natural cleaning supplies (goclean.com) and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning. When you think of all the grime and chemicals that you walk through daily, it makes sense. "Don't track these things into your home, then treat your entire carpet like a really expensive welcome mat," Findley says. A fine alternative: Keep a pair of dedicated indoor-only shoes by the entry you use most.

Pet Patrol

Have pets? They drag in their share of dirt, too. Findley recommends keeping a small handheld vacuum near the door to suction off paws and fur post-walk. Regular brushings help, too.

Clean Sweep

The dust that often collects on your porch, stoop, and walkway blows right into your home each time you open the door or nearby windows. Limit the flow by sweeping these areas regularly.

Screen Swipe

"Most of the dust coming in through your windows does so because of dust on screens," Findley says. To combat this, she recommends regular quick-cleans. Run over them with a brush-vacuum or microfiber dustcloth, then wipe them down with a cloth soaked in multipurpose cleaner. Or, try a rubber dry sponge, which Findley says does the trick perfectly on its own. "It takes less than a minute and eliminates a majority of the dirt coming in through windows," she says.

Seal the Deal

If you feel a wee breeze sneaking in through closed windows and doors, there could be more than just air blowing in. Break out the caulk and the weather stripping to the seal them tight. You'll save on energy costs, too.

Fine Filter

To keep dust and dirt at bay, Smallin recommends changing your furnace/AC filter regularly. This could mean as often as monthly, depending on the type of filter you use and your home environment. If you have pets, open the windows a lot, or run your heat or air frequently, for example, you'll want to change the filter more often.

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1 Comment

  1. I love not allowing shoes inside. But sometimes it's a pain to put shoes on to just take something to the trash. So maybe having a pair of shoes that can be slipped on real quick for quick outside chores is a good idea too. :)
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    1. We've always been a household of "Please remove shoes at the door". I keep a pair of flip-flops by the front door to slip on and off when checking the mail, sweeping the front porch, and take out the trash.


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