How to Protect Your Floors From Salt This Winter

How to Protect Your Floors From Salt This Winter

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No matter how hard you try, if you live in a cold, snowy climate, keeping your floors clean in the winter can seem like a full-time job. While salt may come in handy for keeping your sidewalk, walkways and driveway clear of snow and ice, salt can wreak havoc on your floors. Here are some simple ways for dealing with salt on wood floors.

Place Mats Inside and Out

Doormats are a necessity, both inside your doorway and just outside the door as well. A good, sturdy mat placed right outside your door works as the first line of defense for keeping salt, sand and mud out of your home. Place one right outside the door and encourage family and other guests to wipe their shoes and boots off before coming inside. A second mat, just inside your door, works as the second chance to get all of the gunk off of winter footwear. A heated outdoor mat that melts the snow and ice is a good pick.

Use a Boot Tray

A boot tray is an easy, inexpensive addition that makes a big difference in the amount of salt, dirt, slush and snow that gets tracked across your floors. Place one or more in your entryway or mudroom and place your shoes and boots on it and allow the tray to collect all that salt and slush. Have slippers, cozy socks or inside-only shoes nearby to slip on after removing outside boots and shoes.

For a DIY boot tray, try gluing river rocks or leftover wine corks to a baking sheet or wooden tray.

Vacuum and Sweep Regularly

Since salt can scratch hardwood floors, sweep or vacuum often during the winter months. When vacuuming, be sure the vacuum’s wheels don’t scratch. Also, flooring experts recommend careful use of ‘Swiffer’ type dusters because grains of salt and grit can get trapped under the head of the duster. Then, those trapped grains can scratch the surface of your floors as you dust them.

Spot Clean

If not cleaned up right away, salt can cause stains and discoloration on your floors. If you notice salt on your floor, a little vinegar and water solution and a soft cloth should be all you need to clean it up.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.