The shoes-on-or-off debate rages on, with shelter magazines that are on newsstands literally right now still having interior designers and professional cleaners weigh in on whether or not we should wear shoes indoors. However, if you read these articles, you will learn that every single professional who has been asked to give an opinion on this topic agrees that the best way to minimize dirt inside your home is to use a high-quality doormat both outside and inside of every exterior door. Today, we're going to talk about what a good doormat can do to make your home cleaner, and easier to keep clean, than ever before!
For some families, a strict no-shoes-indoors policy is cultural and isn't up for debate. For some families, consideration for crawling babies or an immunocompromised person means that removing shoes at the door is a matter of health. For many years in my own family, we always wore shoes indoors to protect ourselves from the considerable filth tracked in by three retired racing Greyhounds and a clowder of rescued cats who darted into the garden at every opportunity. You have to do whatever is right for your family, whether it is cultural or practical. However, allowing shoes to be worn in the house or not, home keeping experts all say that doormats outside every exterior door are essential to leaving outdoor dirt outdoors.
A coir door mat is perfect for outside of exterior doors, as the brush-like texture removes leaves, mud and other big bits from the soles of shoes as one comes into the house. However, for optimum dirt-catching, a high-quality, durable, and extremely absorbent door mat inside each exterior door is equally important. Would you scrape the plates after dinner and consider them clean? No, you wouldn't. So, while a good coir mat will scrape or brush off shoes, stepping onto a strong, absorbent textured door mat inside the door will make sure one's shoes are as clean and dry as possible. Measure your space and get the largest one your doorway will accommodate. A generously sized door mat just inside the door makes sure that each shoe is wiped as cleanly as possible; the entryway in my older home is more of a vestibule than a foyer, so I position our inside door mat lengthwise to the door, ensuring that everyone takes a couple of steps on it. Considering doormats in this way means that either way you choose to run your home, shoes on or off, you have minimized the dirt and debris carried in on shoes and boots.
As mentioned above, I believe that coir is the ideal material for a door mat outside an exterior door. The function can't be matched, wet or dried mud, leaves, grass clippings, etc., can all be brushed off the soles of shoes on a good stout coir mat. I generally pick up my coir mats and give them an old-fashioned shaking every couple of weeks, to make sure they stay at least clean enough to do their job. I also replace my coir mats every few seasons, as I like the entry to my home to look as fresh and inviting as possible. Well-made coir doormats last a while, but worn-out, flat coir can hardly do its job properly. If you don't care for coir (and some people don't!), look for a thirsty, textured door mat that will allow people to scrape their shoes against something before they walk into your home. Also, a little tip from me to you: Your exterior door mat is the perfect spot for a monogram or personalization! It really gives the entry to your home that little something extra that your family will appreciate and guests will remember.
Inside the door is different. Now that we are talking about your home's interior, we know that you will want to consider your decor as well as the functionality of the door mat. Luckily, you can find hardworking, commercial grade mats in a wide variety of colors and patterns. There is sure to be an appropriate neutral as well as a texture or pattern you like readily available from an e-tailer you trust, such as Lands' End. Selecting a door mat that has a high-quality rubber backing to keep your flooring dry is imperative to protecting your home, and it offers the added safety feature of preventing slipping and skidding on the mat. You can certainly add a water-proof or skid-proof rug pad under any door mat if you feel it needs one, but selecting a mat that fulfills its office properly is just. . . easier!
Lastly, make sure that you can clean the door mats you keep just inside your doors. Mud or worse may get on them occasionally, besides just the everyday dirt and dust they are there to collect, so select something washable! Whether that means you can throw your mats in the washing machine or hit them with the garden hose is immaterial. As long as there is an easy way to clean your interior mats, you can ensure the freshness and cleanliness of your home.
If you consider upgrading your door mats, or perhaps adding the interior door mat we suggest, we really believe that, shoes on or off, you will see a marked difference in your home's cleanliness. Rather than fight the dirt and debris indoors, simply keep it from entering your home in the first place. Consider the function, style, and washability of each door mat you use; let them work hard, so you can clean less.