Do you take off your shoes when you enter your house? Or, do you wear them everywhere, even on carpeted areas? Well, besides having cleaner floors, there are actual health reasons why you should take your shoes off when you are inside your house. It all comes down to germs and bacteria.
Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes Inside Your House
Most of us take off our shoes when we get home if they are visibly dirty. If they’re not, well… it likely depends on the house rules you grew up with. Well, besides not having to mop and vacuum so often, wearing your shoes in the house or not can impact your health. This is because they track germs and bacteria into your house, which then get on surfaces wherever you go. (1)
Think about it: You are walking around outside all day. While yes, you can avoid certain “large” items – like a pile of dog poop on the sidewalk, there are plenty of other things that you can’t necessarily see or avoid. Bird droppings, public bathroom floors, and who knows what else.
“If you wear shoes for more than a month, 93 percent will have fecal bacteria on the bottom of them,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona. “We found E. coli, too,”
Take Off Your Shoes At The Door
The number one way to prevent bacteria from entering your home in this way is to take off your shoes at the door. This is especially important if you have babies, young children, or elderly family members. Babies and children tend to crawl around on the floor more while playing and often put items – fingers, toys, you name it – in their mouths. If you’re wearing outdoor shoes around inside, you’re putting them and their less-developed immune systems at risk. The elderly also have typically weaker immune systems and therefore more caution should also be taken around them. (2)
Always Be Disinfecting
Even if you don’t wear them inside, it is still a good idea to disinfect them, at least occasionally. There are a number of ways you can clean your shoes. As a bonus, they will look nicer, too.
- Soap and Water: Soap and water does a great job at removing dirt and particles, and the germs that go along with them. As a bonus, you can also remove your shoes’ insoles and clean those off, too.
- Bleach: This method is only to be used on the inside of your shoes or on white shoes. As always with bleach, you can ruin the color otherwise. A simple bleach and water mixture will do the trick.
- Washing Machine: Tossing your sneakers in the washing machine is one of the most effective ways to disinfect your shoes. Put them in as you would regular clothing and wash on cold. The washing machine can remove up to 99% of the bacteria on the outside of your shoes.
- Antibacterial Doormat: You can purchase antibacterial doormats. Many of these brands say that with just a couple of wipes, you can remove up to 90% of the bacteria and debris on the bottom of your shoes.
While having an antibacterial doormat and cleaning them every once in a while is helpful, still, the most effective way is simply to take off your shoes before entering the house. If you really don’t want to go barefoot, get a pair of slippers or indoor shoes and keep them at the door. This way, you can remove your outdoor shoes and slip into your indoor ones – germs and bacteria-free.