Freshly fallen snow in Kansas City looks beautiful this time of year—a pure white blanket enveloping the metro and creating a winter wonderland. However, in just a day or two the streets and sidewalks can go from brilliant white to a dull gray as the snow mixes with road salt, dirt, and sand—ready to attach itself to your boots and find its way into your home.

Add a few kids and pets and your floor coverings can go from a little grimy to a lot gross in just a few days. But like slick roads and unexpected snow days, we Midwesterners know that the best way to make it through a melting patch is to plan ahead. The carpet and tile cleaning professionals at Brody’s Dry Professional Carpet Cleaning have a few tips that will help you enjoy the beauty of the snow and help you minimize ugly damage to your tile and carpet.

Think Outside-In

Start your wintry-weather game plan by keeping the main entrance to your home free of dirt and leaves, giving your porch, steps and walkway a good sweeping before an impending storm if possible. Not only will this keep extra dirt and debris from entering your home, it will provide a better surface for ice-melt or any other method you choose to use to keep your walkways safe for visitors.

The same is true for your garage, if you are lucky enough to have one during the winter months. If you keep your car in the driveway during the spring and summer, begin clearing a space for your car in the fall. You won’t have to trudge through the snow when you leave or return from your home, and you won’t have to make multiple trips outside to remove snow and ice from your car. Less trips through the sludge means less grime tracked into your home, and it’s much safer as well!

Make sure you’ve got the right tools to combat the slush before the first snowflake falls. Stock up on rock salt/ice melt solution for thaw-refreeze days, shovel away any snow you can once it stops snowing, and use a push-broom to sweep dirty slush out of the way. If you’ve got the means and the storage space, a snow-blower can be a great investment for our more common powder-type snowfalls. And offering to snow-blow your neighbors’ driveways is a great way to get on Santa’s nice list this year!

We Like Big Mats and We Cannot Lie

Those cute, rubber-backed holiday throw rugs you see in the home décor aisles this time of year are perfect for placing in front of your kitchen sink—they’re not created to remove snow, slush and dirt from boots and shoes. Invest in a tough, oversize bristle-brush type mat for your front door during the winter. Keeping as much of the mess outside is your best bet for keeping it off your carpets and tile.

Next, you should place a large, absorbent mat or rug directly inside your entryway to catch any moisture still left on your guests’ footwear. Ideally, this is the area where they will see the boot tray or shoe rack and be encouraged to remove their shoes. If your entryway is solid-surface, you will want to ensure that the mat has a waterproof backing that is skid-proof as well.

As a third line of defense, place extra throw rugs or runners in high-traffic areas around your home, such as the path from the entryway to the kitchen, or the kitchen to the family room. This will help trap any dirt that might have collected on the bottom of your guests pants or socks, or if someone forgets to remove their shoes.

To Remove or Not to Remove, That is the Question

Every homeowner has to make their own rules regarding wearing footwear in the home. Obviously, the more shoes tracking in slush, the more dirt and debris will eventually wind in your carpet. If possible, the people who live in the home should agree to a year-round “no shoes in the house” policy—it’s better for your carpet AND better for the overall heath of your home. Invest in a warm, comfortable pair of slippers for each adult and all children in the home. Place a boot tray or shoe rack at each entry of your home, so shoes can be taken off immediately.

Nervous about offending guests when asking them to remove their shoes? Place a shoe rack or boot tray inside the front entrance of your home where it will be seen by all who enter. If possible, have a place where guests can sit to remove shoes, if you don’t have a lot of space, you can keep a folding chair nearby.

As an extra-special touch, visit your local dollar store and stock up on warm, fuzzy socks or slippers and have a basket waiting inside your front door with a sign that encourages them to remove their muddy, wet footwear while giving them a cozy alternative as they enter your home. Most people will cheerfully comply with your request. A similar basket can also be placed at the entryway to collect fuzzy socks and slippers when guests head back out into the elements.

Wipe your Paws

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but they can be carpets biggest enemy in the winter. They are often excited when they come in from the cold, running through the house and shaking snow and slush on floors and furniture as they go. While you can’t expect them to sit patiently and allow you to thoroughly wash and dry their paws before gaining entry, you can plan ahead and keep your furry friends from doing permanent damage to your floors.

Containment of the slush is key. Place baby gates to block off the room where you let your dog outside. When they come back in, have mats at the door and towels ready to remove as much slush as possible before letting them into the other areas of the house. Or, if they go out through your garage, have a “clean up area” with supplies by the door into your home to keep as much of the mess outside as possible.

If your dog uses a doggie door, line as much of the area inside the door as you can with absorbent mats and towels, and change them out once they become wet. It might be a little more work, but it will pay off in the longevity of your carpet.

Keep it Clean

You’ll need to plan more time for vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping during the winter months. If you’ve got the time, great! If not, enlist professional help such as a regular housecleaning service to remove the dust, dirt and salt on a regular basis. Staying on top of grime and spot-cleaning stains will reduce the permanent effects of ground-in dirt which can permanently damage carpet fibers and create a “dingy” look that is irreversible. It’s important to invest in a good vacuum cleaner that can handle the job, like our SEBO vacuum cleaners.

If you’ve got kids and pets, or you tend to have a lot of guests in the winter, it’s also a good idea to schedule a professional cleaning at least once during the winter months, especially for high traffic areas like entryways, stairs, and family rooms. Tile cleaning is also important to remove dust and dirt particles before they wear down grout and tile. The professionals at Brody’s Dry Professional Carpet Cleaning have you covered, whether it’s getting your house looking great before a holiday party or cleaning up after a New Year’s Eve to remember. Carpet and tile are our specialty, as well as removing any spots, stains and odors left by pets. Give Jon or Blake a call today at at (816) 895-7000 or just click HERE to schedule your professional carpet or tile cleaning.