How to Clean Mud off Carpet (and Every Other Kind of Floor)

muddy footprints on floor

Muddy footprints on carpet, muddy pawprints across wood floors, muddy puddles on vinyl. During certain times of the year in Wisconsin, mud and floors go hand-in-hand (and so do the steps for cleaning a muddy floor listed below). Unfortunately, that’s a fact, but one that can be prevented—or at least the amount of mud on floors minimized.

Ways to Prevent Mud on Carpet

Mats and rugs are a great way to keep mud off carpets—and every other kind of floor. The best way to keep mud off inside floors is to place mats outside every door (including doors that lead to the garage). Mats are more than just a way to improve the look of your home. These elements of home décor are an easy way for guests to clean the mud and debris off their shoes.

Rugs should also be added inside exterior doors and in high-traffic areas, such as hallways and foyers. For a custom look, visit a local flooring store to order a customized bound rug. For practical purposes, interior rugs are an easy way to catch any mud that is tracked in on shoes and paws. When two-legged guests enter, ask them to remove their shoes before entering. For the four-legged variety (cats and dogs!), train them to stop inside the door on the rug so the mud can be wiped off their paws. This effort can seem impossible—especially with cats—but it is the best way to prevent trails of muddy paw prints across the house.

The purpose of rugs is to catch mud, gravel, and other debris once it is tracked in. To stop the flow of this floor-damaging debris at the rug, vacuum rugs at least once a week. Rugs in high-traffic areas, such as in mudrooms and foyers, should vacuumed daily. (Use these tips for choosing a vacuum that won’t damage floors.)

When prevention isn’t enough, and someone (two- or four- legged) has tracked mud across the carpets, follow these carpet-cleaning steps.

Carpet Cleaning Steps

  1. Let the mud dry.
  2. Vacuum to remove as much mud as possible.
  3. Apply a carpet cleaner that has been tested on the carpet to clean off the remaining mud. (Choose your carpet cleaner carefully. Some cleaners can discolor the flooring and void the warranty. Ask a local flooring professional for a list of carpet manufacturer-approved cleaners.)
  4. Blot the carpet to clean the mud out of the carpet. Avoid any hard scrubbing; this can damage carpet fibers. Continue until the mud stain is gone.
  5. Blot the carpet dry.
  6. Schedule a carpet cleaning every year to remove dirt and other debris deep in the carpet.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning Steps

  1. Let the mud dry.
  2. Vacuum and sweep to remove as much mud as possible.
  3. Apply a hardwood cleaner that is manufactured-approved to avoid voiding the warranty.
  4. Mop the mud up.
  5. Do not leave any puddles on the floor. Standing water can damage the floor.
  6. If a deep cleaning is needed, contact a local flooring pro.
  7. Never use a steam cleaner! (Read here to find out why steam cleaners should not be used on wood floors.)

Tile Floor Cleaning Steps

  1. Let the mud dry.
  2. Vacuum and sweep to remove as much mud as possible.
  3. Use a small brush and manufactured-approved cleaner to scrub mud off of grout.
  4. Apply a manufactured-approved cleaner to avoid voiding the warranty.
  5. Mop the floor.

Vinyl Floor Cleaning Steps

  1. Let the mud dry.
  2. Vacuum and sweep to remove as much mud as possible.
  3. Apply a manufactured-approved cleaner to avoid voiding the warranty.
  4. Mop the floor.

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