Interior

8 Easy Tricks for Dirty Paws on Clean Floors

Discover the best ways to prevent or clean up dirty paw prints on the floors in your home.
Deirdre Mundorf Avatar
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Rainy days call for staying inside and snuggling up under a blanket on the couch. Unless you’re a dog, that is. Whether it is rainy or sunny, dogs need to get outside to take care of their business and get some exercise. Even if your dog doesn’t mind getting a bit wet, we’re guessing you don’t appreciate the dirt and mud that they track all over your freshly cleaned floors. Fortunately, there are a few small changes you can make that will help you keep their dirty paws from wreaking havoc all over your home.

1. Purchase Outdoor or Indoor Footwear for Your Dog

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You wear boots or shoes outside to keep your feet clean and mud free. Why can’t your dog do the same? Purchasing a pair of dog booties that your pup can wear when it is rainy or muddy outside can keep their feet from getting wet and dirty. Once you come back inside, simply remove the booties before giving them free reign of the house again.

Another option is to try indoor footwear, like this pair of dog socks at Amazon, to make sure that they’re not tracking anything from outside in and all over your home. If your dog has never worn any type of footwear, just be prepared. It may take them some time to get used to having anything on their feet. And, depending on their personality, they may not be very open to the idea of letting you even try to put shoes or socks on them.

RELATED: The Best Dog Houses for Pets of All Sizes

2. Consider Grass Alternatives For Your Yard

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Keeping your dog out of the mud on grass is near impossible. Grass can hold a lot of water and remain muddy, even for several days after it has rained. During the winter and early spring, the conditions can be even muddier with more patches of dead or dormant grass. If you’re looking for a solution that will let your dog enjoy running around outside without you having to worry about mud and dirt getting tracked in, you might want to consider artificial turf. Unlike natural grass, artificial turf drains water much more quickly and doesn’t get muddy or form puddles. You won’t have to worry about mowing in the summer or dealing with dead or dying patches in the winter, either.

RELATED: 5 Things to Know Before Installing a Pet Door

3. Keep your Dog’s Toenails and Paw Hair Trimmed

iStock-1404348373 dirty paw tricks Veterinarian specialist holding puppy labrador dog, process of cutting dog claw nails of a small breed dog with a nail clipper
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Believe it or not, keeping your dog’s feet well-groomed can actually cut back on how much mud and other debris they track in. If your dog’s nails are too long, it will provide more space on their paws for mud to accumulate around the nails. Similarly, if they have a lot of hair between their pads, it will also offer another space where mud can cling to. Keeping their nails and paw hair trimmed will also make it easier to clean their paws after they come in from outside.

RELATED: 15 DIY Dog House Ideas for Your Furry Friend

4. Set Up a Cleaning Station Inside the Door

iStock-1392292046 dirty paw tricks An adult woman's hands wash a large dog's paw in a metal bowl. The front paw of a Rottweiler dog
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Even when you take preventative measures, it is still likely that your dogs are going to have some mud or dirt on their paws when they come into the house. If you have a station by the door with everything you’ll need to get their paws clean before they can walk all over your floors, it can be a real lifesaver. Set up a small table or basket with some baby wipes or a cup of water and some soft cloths, a spray bottle of water, and some clean towels (for laying out on the floor as you work and for drying their paws after they’re clean).

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5. Use Floor Mats Strategically

Amazon dirty paw tricks shammy rug mat wiping down dog
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If you don’t already have a doormat right inside your door, now is a good time to get one. Just as doormats help prevent dirt from getting tracked in on shoes, they’ll also help remove some of the mud and debris from your dog’s feet as they enter the home. While any doormat will collect some debris, there are products specifically designed for use in homes with dogs. These doormats feature multiple fibers specially designed to grab dirt from shoes and paws. This shammy rug by Dirty Dog was a favorite in our editors’ roundup of go-to dog products.

RELATED: 15 Things Every Pet Owner Needs for a Clean House

6. Use Gates to Block off Rooms

Amazon dirty paw tricks Safety 1st Easy Install Tall and Wide Gate
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You can also consider using a dog gate, like the Safety 1st Easy Install Tall & Wide Gate—a top pick in our guide to the best dog gates—to keep your dogs out of specific rooms in your home. Consider setting the gate up at the end of your entryway or blocking the stairs so you can open it once you’re confident that your dog’s feet are no longer wet or muddy.

RELATED: Returning to the Office? These 11 Tips and Treats Will Keep Your Pets Happy While They’re On Their Own

7. Let Muddy Prints Dry on Carpet before Vacuuming

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If mud does get tracked onto the rugs or carpet in your home, your first instinct will likely be to clean it up right away. However, this isn’t going to be the most effective approach. If you let the mud dry, it will be much easier to vacuum it up. Trying to clean the muddy prints before they dry will just cause the mud to smear, leaving a bigger mess for you—or a carpet cleaning company—to deal with.

8. Use a Floor Spin Mop for Hard Floors

Amazon dirty paw tricks Bissel SpinWave cordless pet mop
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The Bissell SpinWave—our experts’ top pick in our guide to the best floor scrubbers—can help you tackle muddy messes on the hard floors in your home. The rotating mop pads work to get rid of mud, dirt, and other messes on sealed hard floors, such as hardwood, linoleum, and tile. Press the trigger to control the amount of cleaning spray that is released based on how much of a mess you’re mopping up.