The humble doormat is an essential frontline of defense in the seemingly never ending quest to keep your home clean and sanitary.
Your doormat captures all of the dirt, dust, mud, water, allergens, germs, and grime that might otherwise make their way inside, and keeps them trapped outdoors and away from your clean floors.
Over time, though, a doormat that has accumulated too much dirt and dust can become less effective, allowing more allergens and germs to be tracked in on shoes or boots. With a few simple tricks and tips, however, you can get your dirty doormats back into fighting shape, ready to take on the challenge of keeping the great outdoors outside.
Here are five go-to tricks for cleaning your dirty doormats:
1.) Choose The Right Mat
Doormats come in a variety of types and sizes. For outdoor mats, you have a choice between rubber, woven fibers like seagrass, outdoor-friendly woods such as teak, strong renewable fibers like bamboo, or coconut fibers, known as coir. Coir mats are the most common outdoor mat — yes, the typical “Welcome” mat you’re picturing is usually made of coconut husks!
Coir mats have a number of advantages. Unlike rubber mats, they do not become brittle or crack when exposed to below-freezing temperatures (like we see all the time in Chicago), and they are abrasive enough to brush dirt and debris from shoes and paws. They tend to be more durable and abrasive than woven mats, making them ideally suited for use in all weather.
Coconut husk doormats are also more sustainable and eco-friendly. Coconut trees don’t have to be cut in order to harvest their fruits, reducing their footprint and ensuring sustainability of materials. The natural oils in coconut are naturally resistant to mold and mildew. The woven material is also completely biodegradable when the doormat has reached the end of its useful life.
Whatever mat you choose, ensure that it is wide enough to cover your whole doorway and to stand on with both feet simultaneously — this will help you make sure that the mat is easy to use every time you come inside.
2.) Shake, Shake, Shake
Outdoor doormats, like anything left to the elements, collect airborne dust, grass, and pollen even without heavy foot traffic. If you live in a wet climate, wet leaves or mud may become ground into the fibers of the mat over time – and in the winter, snow and road salt can become ground into the fibers.
To keep dirt and debris from building up, the first step in cleaning your mats ought to be to give them a vigorous shake. If you can, hang the doormats over a clothesline or railing and use a broom to beat them. This can dislodge large debris and dust that may have become trapped in the mat’s fibers. Try to choose a dry day, or place the mats out of the rain for a few hours before shaking them out, to allow any particles or dirt to dry out and be more easily dislodged.
After shaking or beating the mat, sprinkle the mat with baking soda, allow the baking soda to sit for 10 or 15 minutes, and vacuum with a handheld vacuum or vacuum attachment to deodorize the mat and remove any remaining debris.
3.) Give Your Doormat A Scrub
While shaking and vacuuming your mat will be enough for regular day-to-day maintenance, there will be times it will need a deeper cleaning. For this process, a hose, stiff-bristled scrub brush, and baking soda will be helpful.
Sprinkle the mat with baking soda and add some water to create a paste. Using the scrub brush, work the paste into the doormat’s fibers. For more stubborn stains, add some dishwashing liquid and use the scrub brush to work up a lather. Allow the mat to sit for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse and hang up, set on an angle, or lay flat to dry.
An all-natural and nontoxic pantry staple, baking soda acts as a natural barrier to mold and odors, and scrubbing the mat will dislodge more deeply embedded debris. Just make sure that the mat is completely dry before replacing it to avoid mold or moisture building up underneath.
4.) Under Pressure
You can use a portable pressure washer or pressurized garden hose nozzle to pressure wash most outdoor doormats. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and test a small area to ensure that pressure washing is safe, and then blast away.
Pressure washing can be a quick, satisfying way to remove debris, dirt, and stains, making your outdoor doormats look as bright and fresh as the day you brought them home.
5.) Protect Your Doormat Between Cleanings
To keep your doormat from collecting bacteria or viruses that might be tracked indoors, apply your favorite eco-friendly antibacterial or antimicrobial spray between cleanings. While a spray won’t prevent all bacteria, mold, or mildew, it can help to kill germs and keep your doormat clean and sanitized.
Because of their heavy-duty job, doormats won’t last forever. Keep an eye on your mat for signs of wear and tear, and replace mats that are fraying or crumbling. After all, the last thing you want is a doormat that becomes a source of debris in your home.
Ready for a Cleaning With a Conscience?
Keeping your doormats clean is one of the first steps you can take towards a clean and environmentally friendly home — literally! Want to put your best foot forward? Here at Sweeping Dimensions, one of our primary goals is to make cleaning less stressful for our clients — and more healthy and sustainable for our environment. That’s why we make a point of always having sustainable and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions on hand and ready to use.
We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk about all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a more sustainable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a greener world, the better off all of us will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, or making a green switch in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch — I am always happy to talk shop! At SDCS, we are sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Want to set up a green cleaning for your Chicago home? Don’t hesitate to reach out for your FREE service estimate!
Looking to exchange ideas on your favorite eco-friendly cleansers, or share how you’re going to focus on sustainability this year? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via email or on social media to let us know your thoughts.