Outdoor Mats Protect your Home from Dirt and Toxins

Natural fiber outdoor entry mats (without waterproof backings) like coir coconut fiber, jute and textured rubber are excellent at removing dirt and debris from shoes and boots.

outdoor matsOutdoor mats are a blessing for the home! Properly sized doormats both outside your doors and inside your doors are critically important for keeping water, dirt, mud, sand, and other debris (from sidewalk and street yuck!) from entering your home. Especially sand tracked around on your wood, stone, or pergo floors is really damaging.

An obvious way to keep dirt outside where it belongs is to require that everybody remove his or her shoes at the door 😀 But, sometimes this is just not feasible, and maybe not something you want to fight about with your husband, wife, and kids. You’ve got to pick your battles! If you can, just get them to take a few seconds and wipe their shoes on those doormats. I promise it will make a huge difference for your floors and household surfaces.

Come on, the topic of doormats seems pretty boring, but I know you would rather spend less time cleaning up and more time relaxing and enjoying your family, home, and garden.

So, How to Choose the Best Outdoor Mats?

Doormat Size

The bigger, the better! As long as it fits the space and allows the door to open and close, the mat cannot be too big. Inside your door 4 – 6 foot long mats can almost make up for people who can’t stop and wipe their feet.

Outdoor Mat Material

Vinyl is a popular material because of its low price, durability, varying design, and ease of cleaning. Vinyl is a great material for multipurpose mats and it can be used in many places such as in front of doors, on decks and patios, and around swimming pools. Vinyl can also be manufactured to be mold and mildew resistant which is great for damp areas. Vinyl mats are also great for use around fountains, container ponds, and other damp areas. That being said . . . Vinyl is not a sustainable product! It is created from petrol. It outgases V.O.C.s for years. We are increasingly surrounded by vinyl in our everyday lives. Wallpaper, drapes, flooring, fencing, it’s everywhere!

So consider Natural Fiber Mats such as Coir, Jute, and Rubber

outdoor doormat

Natural fiber outdoor entry mats (without waterproof backings) like coir coconut fiber, jute and textured rubber are excellent at removing dirt and debris from shoes and boots. Natural coir and jute mats have vertical fibers that scrape off dirt from bottoms, treads and sides of shoes before it has a chance to get in your house and onto your floors and carpets, and eventually into your air.

The folks at makeanentrance.com make a great point to consider when choosing an outdoor mat:

An open backing is required to allow moisture to run away, PVC backed mats left outside will not dry out properly which will result in a bubbling effect and reduced lifespan of your mat.

Also, the results over time will be stains on stone surfaces (especially bluestone) and warping of wood. If you get rubber mats, make sure they are water permeable.

Rubber mats are excellent for withstanding the elements such as temperature extremes, rain, harsh sunlight, and snow, making them the most durable kind of outdoor mat your could find!

Indoor Mats

To be as useful as possible, indoor doormats should be relatively thin, of tight woven water absorbent material. They should have a PVC barriers to protect your floor, rug or carpeting. The knap should be short and stiff so that it pulls dirt off the shoes, and lightweight material means it will dry faster. Don’t leave this indoor mat unattended, if it gets wet, you need to find a place to allow it to dry in-between uses.

The mudroom, if you have one, can have 2 or 3 mats inside the door. One for wiping the bottom of shoes, and another one that is waterproof, with a lip, for wet and snow covered boots and shoes, and another for shoes that aren’t wet, but aren’t to be stored in a cubby or basket.

Once you upgrade your door mats, you will notice a cleaner home, guaranteed.


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Julia has been practicing green cleaning for several years as the owner of As You Like It Home Cleaning and organic gardening for almost 20 years running Julia Houriet Custom Gardening. She studied landscape design at Radcliffe Seminars in Cambridge Massachusetts. Her expertise is gleaned from education and years of experience.

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