Cleaning up when the kids bring the outside in

Active kids are happy kids, but all those outdoor summer adventures can take their toll on parents when the muddy shoes come trudging in. Here's how to protect your home from dirty footprints.

It happens to us all: you take a moment to admire your gleaming, just-mopped floor, only for one of your little darlings to burst in from playing in the park, tracking muddy footprints all over the house. But you don't have to stop their summer fun outside or spend your life cleaning up after them. Take a few simple steps and you'll be able to cut down on the mess and get your sparkling floors back.

1. Put mats and rugs at every entrance

Messy footprints can come from any direction, whether the kids have been playing in the back garden or running around in the park. Make sure you're prepared with outdoor and indoor mats to pick up the worst of the crud.

Look for mats that are as wide as the doorway and long enough for a typical stride, so no one will miss them. For the doorstep, pick a mat that's tough enough to stand up the weather outside (rubber or coconut fibres are good choices). And for your hallway, go for something that's thin enough so it doesn't block the door in a dark shade that hides the dirt.

2. Store muddy shoes at the front door

Isn't it always the way? No matter how hard you try, you can't get all the mud off your shoes using the doormat, but as soon as they touch a cream carpet, it comes right off. The only solution is to leave dirty shoes at the door.

Make it easy on everyone by keeping a shoe rack in the hall and having somewhere they can sit to pull off mucky boots. Then there's no excuse for wearing shoes in the house and your cleaning regime just got that bit easier.

3. Keep mucky paws off your floors

Some members of the family might take a little more housetraining than others. If you've got pets, you'll want to tackle their dirty paws before they get too far into the house.

Train them to sit at the mat (you might need to offer a few treats while they learn the new rules) and keep an old towel near the door for wiping off mucky pups as soon as you get home.

Once a week, take them outside to give them a good brushing - it'll reduce the amount of hair they leave around the house too.

4. Make mopping a breeze with Flash

However hard you try to keep dirt outside, with a busy family traipsing up and down your floors, they're still going to need a once-over to keep them shining.

Luckily, Flash Multi Surface Concentrated Cleaner makes mopping easy with a perfectly balanced formula that targets dirt, breaks down grease and dissolves stains for a sparkling finish.

For a perfect technique, just make sure you wring it out well - dirt clings to a damp mop. Start at the far end of the room and move backwards to the entrance so you've always got a dry spot to stand on.

5. Get slippers for everyone

Getting used to a shoe-free home with be that much easier if the family have got something comfy to slip into when they get in. Pick up a comfortable, cosy pair of slippers for everyone and keep them right by the door, so it's easy to change from their outside shoes.

The kids and your other half will soon find they prefer putting their feet up wearing something soft and snug, so you won't have to badger them to take off their shoes.

How do you make sure dirt stops in its tracks at the front door? Share your ideas in the comments.