Country homes once had a “mudroom” where farmers left soiled duds and washed up before entering the main house. Now, it’s likely wherever your family drops their stuff. (Photo by Andrew McCaul)

Winter’s slush and spring’s rain can really wear out your entryway’s welcome. Nearly 85 percent of the outdoor dirt and debris on shoes rubs off during the first four steps into your home. Read on for Good Housekeeping’s best advice on how to ditch the dirt (and keep it out!) and create a clutter-free space.

Get a doormat — stat!

A good one soaks up water, scrapes off dirt and is itself easy to clean. Good Housekeeping Research Institute favorite Water Trapper from Orvis ($29 and up, has all of those areas covered.

GHRI tip: To deep-clean, vacuum the top of the mat, then flip it and go over the back. It’ll floor you how much more dirt comes out.

Resist the urge to clean mud right away

Find a muddy trail? Don’t wipe or mop it up right away. Instead, let it dry. The reason: Dirt is simple to sweep up, whereas mud smears all over.

Once the mud is dry …

OK, now clean it up. But leave the mop in the closet and the sponge by the sink. Our smartcuts:

  • Vacuum the dry clumps, or whisk them up with a brush and dustpan.
  • Spritz a little all-purpose cleaner on a damp paper towel and wipe away smears on walls or floors (no rinsing needed).
  • Tackle tough stains on surfaces. Combat road-salt streaks with some vinegar on a towel (paper or otherwise). Zap red-clay-based marks with a foam eraser, like Mr. Clean’s.

Be cleaner — and greener — by repurposing:

A natural-bristled scrub brush: It makes a cheaper (and less cutesy) alternative to a hedgehog boot brush. Hang one on the doorknob or a hook nearby, and use to sweep mud and debris from the sides and soles of shoes before you even set foot in the house.

Old towels: Keep some handy for drying off the dog or soaking up puddles.

A tray or baking pan: Anything with low sides works well to corral wet shoes and keep drips from pooling on the floor. Line it with absorbent cork ( for instructions).

Kick Out Clutter

… by not letting the entryway become a dump. How to manage it:

  • Kids’ stuff: Put out a laundry basket for each child to stow shoes, sports gear and/or a schoolbag.
  • Paper piles: Move the recycling bin or even your paper shredder into the mudroom. It’ll let you dispose of junk mail right away, before it lands on your countertop — and puts it one step closer to the curb.

When making the seasonal switch …

Wash coats, hats, etc. Keep solo gloves for now — you never know when a mate might turn up.


How to Store Mudroom Items

Wet things can mildew. Let your storage breathe.

TYPE: Drying Racks

PURPOSE: A conveniently located rack will (hopefully) keep wet clothes from becoming a soggy heap on the floor.

WHAT TO CHOOSE: Choose a collapsible laundry drying rack that you can store in the closet, or install an accordion rack on the wall.

TYPE: Storage Bins

PURPOSE: On the closet floor or tucked on a shelf, open-topped bins keep gloves and hats from getting lost.

WHAT TO CHOOSE: Woven, mesh or canvas won’t trap moisture like solid wood, plastic or metal might. Survey the styles on for inspiration.

TYPE: Wall Hooks

PURPOSE: The old standby of mudroom organization, hooks make great homes for coats, keys, umbrellas, dog leashes and more.

WHAT TO CHOOSE: Command Hooks by 3M (prices vary, are an easy-to-position, no-hole pick.

Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


An ice cream container may have “personals” in its name (Blue Bunny), or a ready-to-heat soup may come in its own bowl (Annie Chun’s), but that doesn’t mean either one can be enjoyed by you alone — at least, if you want to keep calories in line. Good Housekeeping Research Institute’s nutrition department found a grocery cart’s worth of foods packaged to appear to be single servings, but which actually were listed on the label as serving two, three or an improbable two and a half. Our advice: Check serving sizes before you buy. Even a box of Barnum’s Animals Crackers, with its dandy handle for toting, contains two servings.


Cat & Jack Girls’ Star Studded Skinny Jeans, sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide and online at from September 2017 through November 2017 for about $18.
The metal stars can detach, posing a laceration hazard. Consumers should immediately stop wearing the recalled jeans and return them to any Target store for a full refund. Target at 800-440-0680 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST daily, or online at Click on “Recalls” at the bottom of the page, then on “Clothing” for more information, or the “Product Recalls” tab on Target’s Facebook page.

Subaru 2009-2013 Legacy, Forester, Tribeca, WRX and Outback vehicles, and 2009-2011 Impreza
These vehicles are equipped with certain air-bag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air-bag modules used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger frontal air bag, these inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling. An explosion of an inflator within the passenger frontal air bag module may result in sharp metal fragments striking the front seat passenger, driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death. Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front passenger air bag inflator for free. Owners may contact Subaru customer service at 800-782-2783. Subaru’s number for this recall is TKA-18.

© Hearst Communications Inc.; Distributed by King Features Syndicate


GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: De-muck your mudroom–