9 Tips for Keeping Your Floors Clean at the Cabin


When I’m at the cabin, I love spending a lot of time out in nature.  But what I don’t love, is the dirt that gets tracked in constantly.  That’s the thing about nature, it’s not all that clean.

Keeping cabin floors clean is really important.  A lot of cabins have hardwood and having dirt, sand, and gravel on the floor wears out hardwood really fast.  And if you have carpet or rugs, packing dirt into those will wear them out well before their time.  But keeping your cabin floor clean doesn’t have to be hard.  I’m going to give you 8 tips that will make cleaning your cabin floors and keeping them clean a very small chore.  The principle behind these tips is that a little bit of prevention will make your job way easier!

Get a heavy, rough outdoor rug for each entrance

Like most things, it’s way easier to prevent the undesirable situation than it is to fix it.  Or in this case, to clean it up.  That’s why I like to start by working to keep the floors from getting dirty in the first place.

The first line of defense is the entrances to your cabin.  At each entrance, on the outside, place a heavy rug with tall, coarse fibers.  I recommend one like this one on Amazon.  There are many designs and manufacturers.  This one in just an example.

These types of rugs are made for the outdoors and they’re really good for wiping your feet before ever going into the cabin.  They don’t get all the dirt off, but they help a ton with mud and a lot of the dirt your shoes are tracking when you come in from the great outdoors.

Heavy rugs like these with tall, coarse fibers are great for getting a lot of dirt off of shoes before people come into the house.

Get a rug for the entryway that’s big enough for taking shoes on and off

Your next line of defense is the indoor rug.  People aren’t going to take their shoes off outside in most cases, so you need a rug that you can take outside and shake out on occasion that sits right in the entryway.

I suggest getting a rug that’s large enough that multiple people can step in, sit down, and take their shoes off without leaving the rug.  The easier and more comfortable we make it to take off shoes, the less push-back you’ll get from kids and family members.

This rug shouldn’t be anything fancy.  Get something fairly durable that you can shake out or vacuum fairly often.  If we do this right, this is the only place you’ll have to vacuum frequently.  The rest of the cabin should stay pretty clean, at least from the dirt brought in by foot traffic.  We’ll talk about other dust a little later.

Keep a bench or chair near the front door

Again, this goes back to making it as easy as possible to take off and put on shoes right at the door.

Get a little bench that a couple people could use at the same time to sit down and put on and take off their shoes.  If you place this in the entryway, as close as you can to the door, you’ll get a lot less dirt tracked throughout your cabin.

Place simple shoe storage by the door

Once you get people to take their shoes off right by the door they’re going to need a place to put their shoes.  And nobody likes a pile of shoes right by the front door.  Sure, you could put them in a closet somewhere, but then you end up digging through a closet for your shoes every time you want to go outside.  It’s inconvenient, so what’ll happen is people will just keep wearing their shoes when they go inside.  Your rugs will help reduce the dirt, but you’ll still get dust tracked all over the place.

That’s why I recommend some convenient shoe storage right by the front door.

I like to use something that does both shoe storage and acts as a bench like this bench over on Amazon.  That said, I’m a DIYer and have an almost unlimited source of lumber and a mill so I’ll be building something like this myself in the coming months.  Once it’s done I’ll post a picture here.  But if you like to be able to order furniture have just assemble it following some instructions, then a product like this one will work well for you.  There are tons of options on Amazon in all price ranges.

I would pick something the matches the style at your cabin and fits in your budget.

I like the idea of combining shoe storage and a nice bench or putting on and taking off shoes. There are tons of varieties. Some have doors that cover the shoes if that’s something you want.

Put soft rugs in large, uncarpeted living spaces

Again, the more convenient it is to not wear shoes in the cabin, the more likely people will be to follow that rule.

If you have carpet throughout the cabin, then you can move on to the next step.  But a lot of cabins are built with hardwood or tile floors throughout.  So in areas of the highest traffic, where people spend the most time, lay down some area rugs that are comfortable to walk on.  Otherwise, people will want to wear shoes just to have a cushion on the bottom of their feet.

The alternative to this, of course, is to keep a pair of indoor sandals or slippers for each family member so that they can put those slippers on when they come inside.  Still, rugs will be more convenient and be less likely to discourage people from taking off their shoes when indoors.

Get shoes that slip on and off easily for quick trips outside

No matter what you do to make it convenient to leave shoes at the door, it’s never convenient when need to make a quick trip outside to have to put on socks and shoes and get them all laced up.

I know, that’s really lazy of me to say.  But we all know it’s usually true.

So if you’re likely to need to make quick trips outside, especially at night when we’re typically the laziest, keep a pair of slip-on outdoor shoes handy.  If you need to run out for some more firewood, or if the bathroom at your cabin is an outhouse, it’ll make it a lot easier to run outside for a quick jaunt, come back in, and take off your shoes.

Put an Air Filter in the main living area

Okay, so we’ve talked about preventing people from tracking dirt throughout the cabin.  But what about dust?

There tends to be a fair amount of dust in the air up at our cabin, and no amount of rugs is going to keep that dust from getting inside and settling on the ground.

If your cabin is at a location with fairly dusty conditions, I recommend you get a simple air filter that you can run in the main living area.  An air filter will help pull a lot of that dust out of the area.  That’ll minimize how much time you have to spend vacuuming and sweeping.  Something like this air filter on Amazon will do the trick.  Again, there are various styles and manufacturers and this isn’t an extensive review of any of them.

I recommend you pick one that won’t pull a lot of electricity if you’re off-grid though because for these to be effective they need to run pretty much constantly while you’re at the cabin.

Get a vacuum you can use on all your floors

I’ve learned that I prefer vacuuming to sweeping any day.  Sweeping puts some of the dust right back into the air which makes me feel like I have to sweep again as soon as I finish.

Get a vacuum with adjustable height that is capable of vacuuming hard floors.  That way when you do need to clean the floors, the job is quick and effective.  I’d get a decent vacuum, nothing fancy, that’s not too bulky that you can just store at the cabin all the time.

Get a swiffer or something like it to pick up remaining dust

We all know that vacuums won’t pick up all the dust.  Just like brooms, some will get left behind.  For a quick and easy cleanup, I recommend getting a swiffer or similar product that acts as a dry mop to pick up dust.  Run your swiffer over the floor every few days while you’re at the cabin and if you’re doing all the rest, your floors should stay clean.  That is except for spills from the dinner table.  Taking off your shoes won’t help that.

That’s why you still need a regular broom and dust pan.  At least for the big stuff.  And by keeping your floors clean, you’ll be able to walk around the cabin comfortably without wearing out the floors excessively fast.

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