By its very nature, a mudroom is a hotspot for dirt and grime. A holding area for mud-covered boots, damp raincoats, sporting equipment, and perhaps even a wet pet or two, it serves a multitude of (messy) purposes, so knowing how to clean it – and doing it regularly – is a top priority.
As the gateway between your home and the outdoors, mudrooms are often the first thing you see when you walk through the door. Unless you want guests making a run for it, you’ll want to ensure it looks clean, smells nice, and serves purpose as a well-organized entryway mudroom idea, too.
‘Before diving into cleaning your mudroom, it's important to consider a few things. First, take a look at the space and assess what needs to be done. Is there a lot of clutter that needs to be removed? Are there any stains or marks that need to be addressed? Once you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, you can start planning your cleaning strategy,' advises Penny Nicholas, cleaning expert and founder of online publication, Sparkling Penny.
Ready to get started? We’ve put together our top cleaning tips to help walk you through the process… remove muddy shoes first though, please, let’s not make things harder than they need to be!
How to clean a mudroom
A mop of the floors and a quick wipe down is an acceptable cleaning routine week to week, but you’ll need to schedule in occasional deep cleans if you want to prevent grime from building up. How often you do this depends on your lifestyle, but three or four times a year is usually sufficient.
‘A change in season is a sensible time to declutter a mudroom, which, if you’re doing it thoroughly, should involve removing everything from the space. Take the opportunity to give it a really good clean, tackling nooks and crannies areas usually covered up by coats, boots, bags and general entryway clutter,' says Millie Hurst, Solved section editor, Homes & Gardens.
Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. Millie has written about and tried out countless cleaning and organizing hacks in the six years since she became a journalist, and has worked in both London and New York.
1. Clean from top to bottom – literally
One of the best tips for successful spring cleaning in any room is to always work from the top down – the last thing you want is dirt and grime falling onto freshly-cleaned surfaces.
Start by using the long attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove any cobwebs from the ceiling, then work your way down, wiping light fittings, trims, coat hooks, window ledges, shelving and seating with a damp microfiber cloth, at Amazon – it’s more efficient at trapping dust than fluffy dusters and should remove any stray mud smears, too.
2. Wipe down walls and woodwork
High-traffic entryways are prone to looking a bit rough around the edges, but assuming you’ve used a durable paint finish, removing scuffs off doors and baseboards is safe enough to do.
You can use a soft-bristled brush and gentle cleaning solution, but a magic eraser makes lighter work. Use it for cleaning walls too, but test on an inconspicuous spot first as it can leave a faint mark if you rub too hard,' says Jennifer Ebert, editor at Homes & Gardens online.
Jen is the wditor of Homes & Gardens online. Before starting this position, she had completed various interior design courses at KLC Design School, as well as working across Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes and Country Homes & Interiors as an interiors writer.
3. Sanitize handles
Door handles in general are a breeding ground for bacteria, but even more so in a mudroom, which quite literally houses dirty things! Whizz over them with an antibacterial cloth, at Walmart, as often as you can remember (it helps to keep a pack handy, perhaps in a drawer or basket), and don’t forget to include those on any mudroom storage ideas, and do the light switches, too while you are at it.
4. Keep on top of pet paraphernalia
They may be cute, but our furry friends do pose a challenge when it comes to keeping a mudroom clean. Be sure to wash their bedding, blanket and toys regularly and wipe the floor around their bowls with a (pet-friendly) cleaning spray. Ideally, you’d have an area of the room sectioned off so you can give their paws a wipe and fur a brush before they walk through the house.
5. Clear out cabinets – and assign one for cleaning supplies
From coats and bags to sports equipment and pet bits, mudroom cabinets quickly become a catch-all for all kinds of clutter. Just because they’re behind closed doors doesn’t make them less in need of a clean though. Strip everything out and vacuum the shelves, getting right into the corners, then wipe down with a damp cloth.
Before putting things back, think about how you could make your cabinets work a bit harder to store your stuff – having homes for everything is the best way to keep a mudroom tidy, after all. Don’t forget to factor in a space for a few cleaning essentials, too – keeping on top of muddy paw prints and wet floors as they happen will make your routine clean a lot easier.
6. Sort out shoes
Storing footwear in designated baskets and bins makes shoe organization a lot easier to maintain (and stops mud being trudged through the house) but it does mean those baskets and bins get pretty dirty, pretty quickly. Shaking loose debris out and giving them a quick wipe should keep them – and your shoes – in better condition.
‘Consider getting a shoe organizer with removable trays. It's a real game-changer for keeping muddy footwear in check. If you've got kids, nominate someone in your family to be the mudroom captain for daily clean-ups. It's a small task, but it makes a big difference,' says Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president of Chicago-based cleaning company Service Master.
Whilst you’re at it, you might want to consider cleaning the shoes themselves. Spritz them with deodorizer as a finishing touch to keep your mudroom smelling sweet, rather than of feet!
7. Choose naturally nice scents
Damp coats have a lingering smell which isn’t all that pleasant. As does damp dog, for that matter. Not to mention dirty washing (if yours doubles up as a laundry room), stinky trainers, open bags of pet food… the list goes on. Good drying techniques and regular cleaning should keep these at bay, but if you notice odors lingering, there’s no harm in countering with some better-smelling fragrances.
Synthetic air fresheners tend to contain chemicals that aren’t great for our health, so try making your own reed diffuser and use Cliganic Organic Jojoba Oil from Amazon to fill it. Try leaving your door open during the warmer months to let fresh air in and keep your ventilation system (if you have one) clean to prevent dust, dirt, and mold from circulating.
8. De-dust your door mats
There’s no point vacuuming if you haven’t shaken out and cleaned your door mats – as soon as someone comes in from outside, all residue dust will simply fly out.
‘I've found that using washable rugs near entry points is a game-changer. These rugs effectively trap dirt and mud, and when they get dirty, I can simply toss them in the washing machine. It's a small effort that yields significant results,' says cleaning expert Michael Gottron, found of OC-based cleaning company Germicidal Maids.
9. Finish with the floor
The last thing on your list is to vacuum and mop the floors. One of the best cleaning tips for allergy sufferers is to invest in a HEPA vacuum.
‘These models are designed to capture and trap harmful allergens like dust mites, pollen and pet hair, rather than releasing it back into the room like other vacuums do. By the time you’ve finished, the air itself is cleaner – as well as your floors!’ says Penny.
Featuring a whole-machine HEPA filtration system, the Dyson V8 at Amazon is a great option to consider, and the filter is washable, too.
‘If you haven’t got one already, install a durable type of floor that is easy to clean, such as ceramic tile or vinyl. Consider placing a rug or mat at the entrance of your mudroom to catch dirt or debris before it enters the space. A boot scraper positioned outside can also help minimize vacuuming and mopping sessions going forwards,' she adds.
How do I keep my mudroom clean in the winter?
There’s no doubt about it, a mudroom requires more upkeep at certain times of the year. While the list of chores generally remains the same, the frequency of how often you do them will likely increase during the winter months. The main areas to focus on are surfaces and floors. Deal with dirt and stains straight away, rather than leaving it until your scheduled clean – it’s likely to build pretty quickly and you don’t want to trudge it through the house.
You might also want to introduce a few ‘helpers’ to keep on top of things; a washable door rug, a shoe storage tray and a shoe scraper can make a big difference to how much dirt actually makes its way into the room, while a sensible organization system (think hooks, shelving and modular storage) that keeps coats organized and winter clothing up off the floor will ensure any that does steers clear of your stuff.
While it’s tempting to write it off as the ‘dirty’ room, cleaning a mudroom on a regular basis really is well worth the effort. As well as making for a nicer, more inviting space in itself, a clean, tidy, and well-organized mudroom has a positive effect on the rest of your home, too.
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For 10 years, Tara King worked as a Content Editor in the magazine industry, before leaving to become freelance, covering interior design, wellbeing, craft and homemaking. As well as writing for Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, Tara’s keen eye for styling combined with a passion for creating a happy – and functional – family home has led to a series of organization and cleaning features for H&G.
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