Let’s face it. Winter can be a very messy time of year. Between mud, slush, snow, sand and salt being tracked into the house and getting all over your vehicle it can be a cleaning nightmare. But if you take some basic preventative steps you can extend the life of your car carpets, and even your sidewalks.
Start with your car. You need to get to work, and to get the kids to school or the bus stop. Even when the roads have been cleared sand and salt are getting on the car. This will eventually cause rust which can reduce the life of the car and even endanger you and your children in the case of an accident. One simple step to keeping the car’s exterior relatively clean on a daily basis is to kick loose all the slush that builds up in your wheel wells. This will keep it from building up to the point of coming in contact with the tires and also improves the overall appearance. When you have a thaw, take the car to be washed, and make sure that you include the undercarriage. This will remove the caked on sand, salt, mud slush and the like that has been building up.
Back at the house you have many of the same concerns. None of those things are good for your rug, tile, hard wood floors, and so on. A good first step is to get a boot scraper. These sit outside by your doors. You use them to scrape most of the built up mud from your shoes or boots. There are many sources for boot scrapers, most big box stores carry them, and some shoe stores will have them as well. Since they have been around for centuries you can find decorative ones at antique stores and flea markets if you want to have a more traditional looking one. As soon as you’re inside get those shoes off! Even though you’ve scraped them there will still be some residue on the bottoms and sides. Have a place everyone is expected to put their shoes beside the door. If you have an area to use as a “mud room” great, if not get a rubber mat to keep outdoor shoes and boots on. Come spring give you’ll not need to rent a steam cleaner to get out all of the mud and sand from your rugs.
Concrete is solid, but it will break down over time. Anyone who’s lived in an older house or neighborhood has seen cracked and broken sidewalks. Winters can be rough on sidewalks, but it is possible to seal them. If you use salt on yours this may be a good idea for you. These sealants are meant to keep the salt water (aka brine) from penetrating the concrete. But that means that the salt has to go somewhere, most likely flowing into your yard. This can damage or kill your grass. So, seal your walks, but don’t use salt on them. Shovel them instead and save your yard. If you follow all these steps you will have an easier time cleaning come spring.