A well-designed mudroom should be laid out like an airlock on a space station. Except instead of keeping the space station from venting the atmosphere, it prevents dirt, grime, water, and random outdoor filth from tracking into your home.
Of course, simply having a mudroom is not enough to keep grime from invading the interior of your home. You need to make sure that all your grime-loving family members have the tools and storage spaces necessary to keep filthy items in the mudroom, without the risk of them ever setting foot on your clean carpets or staining your furniture.
If you live in fear of a random mudroom invasion, then you might want to add a few of the following features to act as the first line of defense against filth.
Provide Cubbies & Lockers
The trick to keeping your family from bringing the great outdoors indoors is to make sure that everyone has a place to keep their soiled items. This might come in the form of personalized cubbies with coat hooks to give everyone their own space, or oversized gym lockers to help keep everything trapped away. They’re especially handy if you have athletes in the family.
Provide Laundry Facilities
In a perfect world, your mudroom would have a washing machine in it. It doesn’t have to be your primary home washing machine. It could just be an old, repurposed washing machine with a plumbed water line and drain. Even if you can’t possibly work a washing machine into your family’s mudroom, a simple laundry hamper with a waterproof liner will do.
This gives your family members a place to put their dirty items without the risk of them tracking into the rest of your home. You can also separate out these loads from the rest of your everyday clothes to keep from dulling your whites or staining your colored fabrics.
Provide Multiple Shoe & Boot Trays
Boot trays and shoe liners are a great way to keep boots in a dedicated spot. Not only do they remind family members to take their boots off as soon as they get in the room, but it restricts the ability of water, mud, and melting snow to migrate across the floor. This further keeps bare feet from picking them up and tracking them into the rest of the house.
Though experienced mudroom owners will tell you that a single boot tray will turn into a swampy mess in no time. Especially in the winter and spring. Having multiple boot trays in your mudroom lets you use one while you clean and dry the other.
A Spray-Off Station
If you have indoor-outdoor pets, then you know the kind of mess they can bring in with them. Even if all your human family members are diligent about cleaning up in the mudroom before coming into the house, chances are good that Fido will make a break for it covered in mud from head to toe, without a moment’s thought.
Creating a spray-off station with a large floor drain lets you wash off your dog and give them a good wipe down with towels before they get a chance to track grime into the rest of the house. This could be as simple as installing a modest shower stall, with a handheld water line. If you plumb hot water to it, the humans in the family might even be able to use it as a functional shower to wash the mess off themselves.
A Hook For Everything & Everything In Its Place
Hooks certainly come in handy in a mudroom. They’re a place for key chains and lanyards, not to mention scarves and other lightweight items that you want to keep close at hand.
Heavy-duty hooks can be installed directly into studs or drywall anchors to hang up coats, backpacks, and snow pants. Just remember to give young kids lower hooks to hang up their own jackets and backpacks.
Take A Seat
A simple bench in a mudroom or entryway will go a long way toward giving family members a place to sit down when they need to take off or put on shoes. You can put a bench of two near those boot trays we talked about earlier to help confine the footwear mess to one part of the mudroom or entryway.
If possible, try to prioritize a bench with some sort of flip-top lid. Then you can use the interior for storage.
Provide A Boot & Glove Drying Station
It’s happened to every parent, where you check your kid’s boots or mittens and you’re shocked by an odor that smells like someone tried disinfecting an elephant with a wheel of blue cheese. Then you just know they are going to put their hand back into that wet glove the next day, only to pull it out at snack time, and you hope they remember to wash up before they touch that apple. Not to mention wet boots that linger all night, just waiting to soak their brand new socks with bacterial moisture the next morning, just as the school bus is pulling up.
This is not the sort of thing you need to keep you up at night! Especially, when there’s an easy fix like putting a boot and gloves drying station in your mudroom. They drive forced air through simple tubes to dry out Thinsulate and interior padding in gloves and boot liners. Not only do they dry the interior, but they also prevent odor-causing bacteria from saturating your kid’s boots and mittens.
A Floor Mat At The Door
Keeping a floor mat near the door to your house’s proper interior is sort of the last line of defense. It’s designed to hopefully catch anything that might be sticking to the bottom of someone’s feet right before they set foot on your nice, clean carpets.
Just keep in mind that even the best floor mat is still going to absorb a lot of grime. So, it’s wise to have two of them, that you can rotate and clean as needed.