Many cultures have the tradition of removing your shoes before entering a home and other indoor spaces. While this can help with wear and tear on your flooring, it can also help to minimize the amount of time you spend sweeping, mopping or vacuuming. It also turns out there are some excellent practical and health reasons for doing this.
- You won’t track in dirt. If you’ve been working outside, leave your shoes at the door. You won’t track in dirt and dust on your carpet and floors.
- Save wear and tear on your flooring. High heels can actually create dents in your vinyl or cork flooring. According to Carolyn Forte of the Cleaning Lab at Good Housekeeping Institute they can also scratch your hardwood floors over time.
- Don’t track in toxins. This study by Battelle Memorial Research Group found that chemicals used within a week of treating lawns and grass areas are easily tracked in your home. This also includes the dust and particles from recently paved or re-sealed asphalt roads and driveways.
- Don’t track in bacteria. Rockport shoes asked 10 people to walk around in shoes for two weeks and then sent them off for analyzing at the University of Arizona. They analyzed the outside of the shoes and found them to be covered in an assortment of nasty bacteria (including E. coli) and fecal material. The results: Coliforms were detected outside of the shoes on 96% of the shoes. E. coli was detected on 7 out of 10 sets of shoes.
- Carpets hold in dirt, bacteria and toxins better than hard surfaces. Let’s be honest dirt, dust and grime just show up better on hard surface. It’s much easier for them to hide in carpet fibers. If you have babies, toddlers or young children in your house, they spend a lot of time crawling and playing on the floor. According to Dr. Jonathan Sexton, research specialist at the University of Arizona, “Carpet in the home is a perfect environment for microbes to survive.”
- Worsened Air Quality. Individuals with moderate to severe health problems can have aggravated symptoms by the additional dust, dirt and pollen that shoes can carry into the house.
A few solutions:
Consider placing door mats on both sides of your door. One to wipe your feet on. One to stand on while you remove your shoes.
Have a shoe/ boot tray by your door. Dirty shoes go in the tray, not on your floor.
Have a set of clean indoor only shoes by your entry door.
If your shoes are washable, such as sneakers, wash them in your washing machine. The University of Arizona study found that washing the shoes (used in their study) reduced the amount of bacteria on the shoes by 90% or more.