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What is a Mud Room?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A mud room or mudroom is an area built into some houses to act as a barrier between the outdoors and indoors. Especially in regions with wet, muddy winters, this type of small, specialized room can be a useful addition as it helps to keep the house clean. In addition, it constitutes a clear boundary between indoors and out, which can be a useful reminder for animals and exuberant members of the household.

Generally, a mud room has easily cleaned floors made in materials like tile, concrete, or linoleum. In extreme cases, one may even have a drain in the floor to make sluicing the floor very easy. A well designed room also has ample hooks and racks for damp, wet clothing, as well as racks or cubbies for shoes. In addition, benches for people to sit on while they remove their shoes are not uncommon. All of these measures are designed to encourage people to remove sodden or dirty layers before entering the house.

Generally, these areas are not the primary entrances of homes, since they tend to be informal in nature. A side or backyard door usually leads into the room, and family members may be encouraged to use it while guests are welcomed through the front door. Often, the washer and dryer are also tucked in, for the sake of convenience. A mud room that doubles as a laundry room is handy, since wet baskets of clothing do not need to be carried through the house to outdoor clotheslines, and soiled or wet clothing can be immediately dumped into a washer without being tracked through the house.

In addition to being useful in inclement weather, this type of area is also very handy for households with animals, such as horses. Soiled clothing can be removed there so that scents and dirt are not tracked into the house, while animals such as farm dogs may be encouraged to wait in the room while their owners take care of business in the house. For animals who are allowed into the house, it's a good staging area for washing off dirty paws and bodies.

Since a mud room bridges the space between indoors and outdoors, a household without one can often easily add it, as it simply requires building an addition onto a home, rather than doing extensive structural work inside the home itself. It's generally a good idea for homeowners to work with contractors when installing additions to their homes, to ensure that the room conforms with local building codes. Economy-minded home owners could work with a contractor to draw up the plans and do the basic framing, and finish up the room on their own.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By tinagleisner — On Dec 01, 2013

Mudrooms are a great invention for parents, collecting all the clutter that kids would otherwise scatter around the house. They also making it easier for everyone to get out the door on time in the morning.

Another function that more family mudrooms are filling is one of a family communication center, with a calendar, cubbies for papers, bulletin board and more.

By anon345248 — On Aug 17, 2013

The opening area from the back of our home that opens to the laundry room serves as both a mud room (at the back door, complete with a wood box for muddy/wet boots. Outside, there's a roller with bristles of sorts that rolls and removes any packed mud from the bottom of boots). Wet clothes go into a special hamper where they end up in the washer later in the night and are set on a timer to start the washer about 9 a.m. with all the settings ready such as stains, pre-wash, sanitary, double rinse, etc., and all the supplies in the cups that pull out from a drawer and has an area for HE detergent in powder or liquid, pre-wash cleaner, bleach cup and softener so when it starts, everything is ready.

The other side of the laundry room serves a wet room of sorts as the other door opens to the wet room where the hydrotherapy spa sits. Bathing suits go in the water and through an express wash and spin while spare suits are run through the sanitary cycle and all are hung to dry before they're stored away in a cabinet with extra bath sheets and head towels (smaller towels like used in salons to towel dry hair).

By lighth0se33 — On Feb 16, 2013

@kylee07drg – My mud room shelves have several hooks along the bottom of them. I think I actually use the hooks more than the shelves!

I have a swimming pool in my back yard, and I like being able to change out of my wet swimsuit in the mud room. I also have a sink in there, so I can rinse the chlorine out of the suit before wrapping it up in a towel to wring it out and hanging it up to air dry.

I also hang up my beach towels and flip-flops. They all contain moisture, and even though they aren't as wet as my swimsuit, they still need to be hung up to air out.

By healthy4life — On Feb 16, 2013

Wicker is a great choice for mud room furniture. It has all those holes in it to let air circulate, so if you get the chairs or benches wet, you don't have to worry about mildew.

I even have wicker shelves in my mud room. I don't want to take any chances with mildew, because it smells so bad and you have to use bleach to get rid of it.

By Oceana — On Feb 15, 2013

I wish my house had a mud room! I rent a small home, and I can't complain, because the rent is cheap.

My garage is my mud room, I suppose. That's where I leave my muddy shoes and raincoat. Since the door shuts to the outside, I don't have to worry about dogs dragging them off.

Still, it would be so nice to have a room inside to serve as a little break between the outdoors and indoors. I would much rather take off my shoes and coat in the warm house than in the cold garage.

By kylee07drg — On Feb 15, 2013

I saw a magazine article on mud room organization that had plenty of photos and suggestions on how to best arrange things. Just adding a few cubbyholes or shelves with hooks on the bottom can free up so much space and give you so many opportunities to stow things away.

By anon198422 — On Jul 19, 2011

We live in the midwest on a real dairy farm. Besides the kitchen, the mudroom is most necessary! This is where muck boots go, farm clothing, hats, all dirty things, pet foods, the washer and dryer, etc.! It's the room we walk into first. No fancy entryway for us.

By anon131840 — On Dec 04, 2010

I hope more people would read this article to find out what a mud room really is. Some people have a misunderstanding of what it is and thinks a backyard entry to the kitchen is considered a mud room.

By anon121402 — On Oct 24, 2010

60 years old and heard the term "mud" room twice in a weeks time and never heard it before. Weird! I live on the west coast, might have something to do with it. I often hear strange things that originate on the East coast.

By cmsmith10 — On Jul 04, 2010

The house that we bought had a mudroom in it. At first, I thought it was useless. Now, it is essential. There are so many reasons to have a mud room. It is great for storing your seasonal items, garden tools, dog/cat food, laundry detergent, etc. I also keep my kids’ baseball uniforms and recreation equipment in there. I have a rack where hats or keys can be hung. When the kids get out of the pool, they dry off in there before tracking all in my carpet! The uses are endless.

By eastwest — On Apr 06, 2008

A mud room is an excellent place to put a dog door. If you can put down some sort of mat or towel so that the dogs' muddy paws don't track mud into the rest of the house, then it can just be contained in the mud room. This is particularly ideal if the mud room is not in an area of the house that guests will usually see.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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