A sanitizing station provides a handy checkpoint that can help stop the spread of germs in your home. Learn how to set up your entryway to keep your family safe and healthy.
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Schools are a prime place for the spread of viruses and bacteria, and as kids return from school and activities this fall, it's important to take precautions to avoid tracking these germs into the rest of your home. Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and cold and flu season picks up, adding a few extra barriers against germs can help protect your family's health. One way to do that is by setting up a sanitizing station just inside your entryway.

Ideally, this area will include everything you need to ditch germs when you arrive home, including disinfecting products, handy storage for masks, an area to kick off shoes, and more. Not just practical for kids, this solution also offers a convenient way to clean up after returning from work or a grocery store run. Use these ideas to create your own entryway sanitizing station at home and stop germs at the door.

minimalist entryway with bench, baskets and hooks
Credit: John Granen

1. Choose your point of entry.

If your home has multiple points of entry, such as both a front and side door, identify one that makes the most sense for everyday entry. The best spot for your back-to-school sanitizing station might not be the same as your normal preferred entrance. If one door provides more storage space or closer access to a sink, for example, that could be the best choice. This area should have enough room to store a few sanitizing essentials as well as surfaces or hooks to catch backpacks, lunch bags, and other essentials.

2. Provide sanitizing and disinfecting products.

Establish a handy way to clean up as soon as you get home. If your chosen entry opens into a laundry room with a utility sink, for example, plan to have kids wash hands immediately upon return. Otherwise, provide hand sanitizer in an easily accessible spot, such as on a wall-mounted shelf or inside a caddy of cleaning products on an entryway bench. Choose a touchless hand sanitizer dispenser ($60, Bed Bath & Beyond) to help curb the spread of germs further. If desired, keep a container of disinfecting wipes close by so you can easily sanitize your phone, keys, doorknob, light switch, and other high-touch areas.

3. Create a cleaning system for masks.

Many schools continue to require masks this fall. Set up a system that helps your family remember face masks when you leave and safely deal with used masks once you get back home. First, mount a set of hooks or utilize self-adhesive hooks ($6, Target) right inside the door where you can hang clean ready-to-wear masks. If possible, position the hooks within your line of sight (or at kid-height) to make it less likely you'll forget to mask up on your way out. For dirty masks, place a small basket near the door. This makes it easy to take worn masks directly to the laundry, so you can dump the basket's contents directly into the washing machine and return the basket to the entry.

4. Designate a shoe drop zone.

Designate a spot to kick off shoes when you get home so you don't track germs and dirt throughout the house. Place a plastic boot tray ($10, The Container Store) or a machine-washable shoe mat ($20, Bed Bath & Beyond) near the door to gather footwear. Whichever shoe solution you choose, make sure it's easy to clean, either by wiping down the surface or tossing it into the laundry.

An entryway sanitizing station provides the supplies you need for safe comings and goings amid the back-to-school season, and you can customize it any way you like. Use these ideas as a starting point to outfit your entryway and set yourself up for a healthier home.

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