You may be one of those people who cringe at the thought of having to remove your shoes at the door, but you’ll probably change the way you think after reading the following six reasons to take your shoes off before entering the house. After all, you just never know what kinds of germs will hop on your feet when you walk in grocery stores where spilled food rots on the floor, in public restrooms, on sidewalks where dogs defecate, or in work places where toxic chemicals are splashed and spilled.
Why It’s A Good Idea To Take Off Your Shoes Before Going In Your House
- Shoe Soles Are Dirtier Than Toilet Seats: It might sound unbelievable, but the bottom of your shoes contain more bacteria than an average toilet seat. According to Jonathan Sexton, a research assistant at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, toilet seats generally have about 1,000 bacteria or less, while the soles of shoes typically play hosts to millions. And speaking of bathrooms, public restroom floors have been found to contain over 2 million bacteria per square inch, and you can bet a lot of that ends up on your shoes every time you go “powder your nose.”
- Feces Are Present On Almost 100% Of Shoes: Walking around your house in shoes could just as well be the same as wiping poop all over your floors. The reason? A University of Houston study found that coliforms, which are universally present in feces, are found on 96% of shoe soles. What’s more, 39% contain C.diff, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes diarrhea, and 27% contain E. coli.
- Bacteria Lives On Shoes Longer Than Almost Anywhere Else: After thorough researching, the University of Arizona found that bacteria live a very long time on shoes — longer than in most other places. They speculate the reason is because there is a continuous build up of new bacteria that feeds the growth of the existing bacteria.
- Wearing Your Shoes Inside Could Increase Your Risk For Cancer: A Baylor University study found that people who live near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins, as the substance is found on sidewalks and other walkways due to rainwater transfer. Meanwhile, another study done by the Battelle Memorial Institute found that lawn care chemicals can also be transferred to walkways via rain, meaning your shoes can pick up dangerous lawn care toxins regardless of whether or not you walk directly on the grass or other chemically treated areas. And another chemical that gets transferred to sidewalks via rain water and other various ways that then ends up on the bottom of your shoes: automobile gasoline.
- There’s A 90% Chance Whatever Is On Your Shoes Will Transfer To The Floor Of Your House: Numerous tests have shown that bacteria, fungus and viruses present on the bottom of your shoes don’t wear off the more you walk. Those suckers cling to shoe soles for dear life and eventually end up on the tile, wood and carpet floors of your house. In fact, U of A scientists found that whatever is on the bottom of your shoes will end up on your floor 90% of the time. And if you have carpet, that number is actually 99%.
- Despite What You Think About Building Up Your Immunity, You’re Wrong When It Comes To Shoe Bacteria: Sure, exposure to some types of bacteria is actually a good thing as it builds up the body’s immunity and makes you stronger. However, most of the bacteria present on shoes is from fecal matter, and the truth is that most of it can be pretty harmful to your health. Therefore, medical experts advise that this be one place you skip purposeful exposure to help “boost your immunity.” So there, suckers!
What You Can Do To Reverse The Damage
If you’ve been wearing shoes inside your house, don't panic. Your floors might be teeming cesspools of dirt, germs, feces, bacteria and more, but not all hope is lost.
The first thing you should do is to start removing your shoes at the entrance of your house. It’s a tough habit to get into, so design experts suggest creating a friendly entry space either right outside your door or just inside your front door if you’re pressed on space. Set up a bench where you can easily sit to put on and remove your shoes, and include some shoe storage shelves where you can place your footwear for safekeeping and to keep them out of the way. You’ll also want to encourage guests to remove their shoes. One way to help enforce the rule is to hang a “Please remove your shoes” sign near your entryway.
You may also want to consider deep cleaning your wood, tile and carpet floors with a disinfecting steam cleaner. This will give you a clean slate and keep your floors safe, provided you stick to removing your shoes before entering your house each and every time.