We all know that preparedness is key for staying safe in the snow outdoors. But did you know the same principle should apply to snow-proofing the inside of your home?
In winter, the effect of snow on your floor is understandably overlooked. After all, keeping warm and safe outside is most important. However, it is worth thinking about how the snow can damage your floors as often it can be difficult to undo.
The main issue with bringing snow inside is what it carries with it. It’s likely that any snow stuck to your shoes is mixed with road salt. Road salt, or rock salt, is what is spread on pathways and roads to melt ice. This helps reduce slip and keeps us safe, but the corrosive nature of road salt means that it can harm your floors.
This is because road salt can wear down flooring finishes, particularly of hardwood floors. Constant exposure to salts can even wear away waterproof layers of laminate floors. This makes your surfaces more susceptible to stains and moisture damage.
If you start to notice a white residue on your floor, this is likely to be road salt. Here is what to do about it.
We’ve touted the benefits of doormats as preventive measures for limiting cleaning time. But doormats are also the best way to minimise damage caused by snow inside your home.
A rugged outdoor mat that will hold up to the elements is important for scraping excess snow from your footwear. Something that is textured and features brushy design will work well to dislodge debris stuck in shoe tread.
On the inside, a fine fabric doormat should be used to wipe up smaller bits of dirt and absorb moisture. Be sure to keep an eye on how soaked the mat gets and swap it before if gets so damp that it causes damage to the floor underneath it.
Encourage people to take their shoes off and leave them by the front door. During winter it is also a good idea to keep a boot tray in your entryway that can catch any melted snow. This way you can shake off the tray or pour out the water rather than having to mop.
Even the best prevention won’t guarantee you a snow-free interior. When it happens, the best thing to do is to clean it up right away. If you let the puddles air-dry, you’ll be leaving your floors exposed to the corrosive agents longer.
Before you wipe up the mess, be sure to pick up any big pieces of snow and dirt. You don’t want to inadvertently scratch your floors with anything lodged in a piece of ice. Next, use a high absorbing cloth such as a microfiber cloth to wipe up the moisture. Microfiber is made of very fine fibers that trap debris (like salt) rather than spreading it around. Continue to wipe until your floor is dry.
Finish with a quick spray and wipe of floor cleaner to ensure that any dirt or grime left behind doesn’t stain. Using natural, chemical-free cleaners are important for winter indoor air-quality as we shut our homes up from the elements. It is especially important to use non-toxic products on the floor if you have any small children or pets in the home.