Winter is here. And, so is the snow. While it looks beautiful when it’s fresh-fallen and white, we all know how dreary it seems when the ice builds up and the snow turns black along the roads and driveways. And, guess what? The same is happening to your floors.

Yes, that’s right. All of the snow and ice is being dragged into your house, as are all of the removal chemicals and compounds. Salt, sand, and other de-icing materials can wreak havoc on your hardwood and carpets. So, what do you do?

Start Outside

If you don’t want everything getting into your house, then start by removing snow, ice and mud from your sidewalks, driveway and front porch. The simplest thing to do—in the long run, that is—is to start shoveling as soon as the snow stops falling. The longer it sits, the more likely it will stick to the surface. Of course, shoveling is not always what you want to do at 5:30am, when it’s still dark and negative temps outside. So, keep some de-icing materials on hand. Salt and sand are the obvious choices, but people recommend everything from bird seed to coffee grinds. Everything has its pros and cons, so research what works for you. Just remember, whatever goes down outside, will most likely make its way into your house.

Moving In

The first step in your house, both literally and figuratively, is right inside your door. Make sure you have clean doormats inside every door. The doormats work in two ways: first, they allow people to wipe their shoes (and preferably offer a place to remove them) and; second, they keep the moisture and grime off the floors. The best mats have a rubber or plastic bottom which prevents the elements from seeping through. Keep a few extras on hand so you can rotate them when they get dirty.


Dawn Fiscella, owner of Immaculate Clean, also suggests adding a few, inexpensive mats and runners to other high-traffic areas. Hallways and frequent walkways can be protected with anything from a decorative runner to a plastic mat that you throw down on the worst weather days. Of course, as Fiscella notes, these things can come in handy during the wet and muddy spring months as well. They may really be worth the investment.

Keeping the Floors Clean

Inevitably, despite the shoveling and doormats, stuff is going to make its way to your floors. Especially, when you have a dog and kids running in an out from playing in the snow. So, here are a few tips for keeping these areas from being totally destroyed this winter:

Hardwood and Other Hard Surfaces

  1. Sweep floors regularly to prevent abrasive elements from scratching them.
  2. Use regular cleaning products (we suggest Mr. Clean Professional Floor Cleaner) with a little added elbow grease.
  3. Wipe spots up immediately and use a soft rag directly on the spot before doing an overall clean.


  1. Vacuum regularly, just like with the hard floors. Not only does it pick up dirt, but the vacuum will also suction up some of the moisture.
  2. If mud gets on the carpet, let it dry. Break it up with something hard and then vacuum up the leftover debris.
  3. If a spot remains, follow the instructions from What’s Hiding in Your Carpet on spot removal.