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A walk-off mat is a simple tool created to help a building or home stay clean and improve the indoor air quality. This carpeted, rubber-backed surface that is situated just inside the entrance of buildings or just outside a home is a seemingly ordinary object. However, a walk-off mat is crucial in preventing excess dirt and grime build up, which release more particles into the air. For a walk-off mat to reach its full efficacy it is best to have a coarse, ribbed surface or plush carpeting that will absorb the particles.  An indoor, commercial mat should be at least ten feet in length or two steps on each foot. It should also have a rubber backing with a half inch “nose” around the perimeter to create a non-skid surface that firmly holds to the floor. An outdoor mat should be thicker to withstand the harsher environment and larger debris.

According to the Green Guard Environmental Institute, “The air in our homes, schools and offices can be 2 to 5 times more polluted, and in some cases 100 times more polluted, than outdoor air,” and people spend most of their time indoors, where they are exposed to particles in the air that are potentially hazardous to their health.  A walk-off mat can help reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, increasing the quality of the environment in which we spend the majority of our time.

The use of walk off mats is an essential factor in any building’s cleaning program to enhance the air quality within the space and the effectiveness of the cleaning process. Essentially, the carpeted surface allows for a few steps of traction to wipe off unwanted substances before your feet actually touch the floor’s surface. Increased air quality in a building can lead to an increase in productivity, attendance, and less fatigue. Therefore, employees in office buildings, students in school, and medical professionals in hospitals and research facilities achieve more overall personal success within their organizations.

Walk-off mats can take the form of doormats outside your front door as well. The opportunity for people to wipe their feet before they enter your home gives your carpet a break from having to absorb all of the extra filth tracked in by your family and guests. Repeatedly grinding in too much dirt can damage your carpet’s fibers, which may be irreparable. Beyond less carpet maintenance or replacement, an exterior doormat can add to keeping your family healthier because of the decrease of pollutants in your home.

During this time of year, it is important to be on the lookout for more filth from mud and leaves entering the building, especially in high traffic areas. Another upside to walk-off mats is drying shoes when they have been in the rain or snow to prevent slip and falls as people enter the building, or to prevent growth of mold in your carpet.

So, with a little effort and careful planning, you can “walk-off” a lot of incoming dirt, lowering the amount of work needed to clean as well as the time it takes to get the job done!