I am currently finishing up a large house on a hillside in Portola Valley, California. Naturally, we have timed this project perfectly for the onslaught of the rainy season. The clay in the local turf, so excellent for the grapes that become chardonnay and merlot, also makes world-class mud. Even the most strenuous attempts to scrape and stamp the stuff loose are futile.
To keep the mud at bay, I made the boot cleaners shown in the drawing. I placed them at all the main points of entry to the house. The base is a 3/4-in. thick piece of plywood. The scrapers are the brushes from push brooms.
The bristles of the upside-down brushes have been trimmed a bit to stiffen them. Now they can really dig into the nooks and crannies of a boot sole.
The side-mounted brushes get the mud off the sides of a boot. We placed them just far enough apart to allow a “kick fit.” You have to kick hard to squeeze your foot in. The technique is to kick hard at the brooms for about 30 seconds per boot.
By the way, as an improvement to our original design, we have since bolted a piece of steel angle to the platform for scraping off major chunks before kicking the brooms.
These setups work really well, but we’ve also come across commercially available boot cleaners. We weren’t impressed. They are smaller, with inferior bristles that started to disintegrate practically from the first use. They cost about the same as our sitebuilt versions: $54 vs. four $17 brooms.
Gregg Roos, San Francisco, CA