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5 Reasons to Pay Attention to Your Doormat

The following post is from Katie of Kitchen Stewardship:

source: CGPGrey
  1. Pesticides
  2. Fertilizer
  3. Rock salt with nasty chemicals
  4. Dog poop
  5. Oil and gasoline

Even though we have a strict “shoes off at the door” policy at our house, it’s so easy to compromise.

Those quick trips back in the house when you skip the shoes off in favor of efficiency can quickly invite environmental toxins into your home. Besides that, the trouble in my house is that people walk across the doormat constantly in their bare feet or socks, which pretty much negates the fact that the shoes came off in the first place and tracks the unknown throughout the house.

Once the floor has been contaminated, every sock that walks across it could pick up some pesticides or get fresh with the fertilizer. Where do those socks go?

  • Tucked up under me on the couch, where my 2-year-old sets her cracker down and then finishes it.
  • In the crib with the blankets, dollies, and thumb suckers at naptime.
  • On the living room floor where the pretend tea party is set up.
  • Under the covers in everyone’s bed, sometimes when our feet are just too cold to take the socks off.

Whether you have kids who play on the floor and put everything in their mouths, or you’re an adult who might occasionally wear your socks to bed, you need a doormat and some rules about it to keep “the yuck” out of your life.

Get a Doormat

source: Daisy Girl

One of the baby steps I realized I needed to take to make my home a more eco-conscious place was to purchase a doormat for our garage door entry. Wiping your feet on a doormat ensures that the chemicals from the outside world are less likely to enter the rest of my house, because most of them are at least caught up in the mat.

I’ll be the last person to tell you that your home needs to be spotless and germ-free, bleached to sterile oblivion and vacuumed every day. In fact, I’m much less worried about the biological, biodegradable, germy issues than I am the toxic chemicals. I wouldn’t use chemical pesticides on my garden, but I can’t keep them out of my house if we’re going to venture outside our yard.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Chemicals

source: Greencolander

You know the signs that pop up every summer in the corner of your neighbor’s lawn: “Keep children and pets off the grass until completely dry”?

Those signs petrify me.

All that tells me is that there are toxic chemicals on that lawn, and whether or not the company thinks it’s fine for my kids to walk on the grass after the stuff is dry, I don’t really care. I remember when my parents used to get the lawn sprayed, and we couldn’t play on it for three days.

Surely the fertilizers and pesticides are different now, but a poison is a poison. I don’t really want it on my shoes wet OR dry. I cringe and want to cry when we’re out for a walk and I have to step on little pellets that someone has just spread all over their lawn, or the kind of rock salt that is blue with unknown toxins. I know it comes in my door. I know it gets on my doormat. And therein lies the problem.

My Doormat is a Highway

My house is set up such that the garage door entry, where 80% of the entering happens, is a true thoroughfare. Not only do we have to step off the mat just to fit everyone in the house and get those poisonous shoes off, but it lies in the path of the only way to get to the basement; closes the fun, circuitous route from kitchen to living room that all kids love to run around; and practically encroaches on our dinner table, at least once you take two steps from the door to the shoe shelf.

source: Kitchen Stewardship

We call it “the yuck” at our house.

The yuck is the outside filth on the doormat. I think I say, “Stay out of the yuck!” twenty times a day. I am trying to train my kids to keep boots and shoes on the doormat until they are taken off, and then somehow to avoid walking over the doormat in their sock feet. With the arrangement of our house, it’s nearly impossible, but I at least hope to raise their consciousness (and my husband’s) about the contamination that can happen from the outside world on the bottoms of our shoes.

If you don’t have a doormat, I encourage you to get one, and to make some rules about playing and walking on it. You can’t have a green house if you let the rest of the world’s toxins onto your carpet and into your beds.

How do you keep the poison of the world off your carpet? Does it really matter?

Katie Kimball is a mom of two who spends a ton of time in the kitchen making real food with whole ingredients and then blogs about her successes and failures at Kitchen Stewardship. She believes everything in life is a gift from God and should be taken care of wisely.