Do you know what’s on the bottom of your shoes? Just think of all the places you go to during the course of the day; the public restroom, the gas station, the park where people walk their dogs, or the hospital. Your shoe soles can have millions of bacteria on them. An interesting study at University of Alabama found that bacteria lives way longer on shoes than most other places! And that these scary organisms can easily transfer onto all the floors in your home!
Before I found out about all these harmful things I used to leave my shoes on just before I went out and especially when I brought groceries into the house. Now I make sure I take my shoes off at the entry way and never wear them in the kitchen or bedrooms, which are the most important areas.
Wearing shoes in the house tracks in all kinds of chemical, pollutants and hazard materials which get carried throughout your home, and remain in your carpeting and on your flooring. They are continuously released into the air and absorbed through your skin.
Now that I’m expecting a baby, I’ve become even more cautious about not wearing shoes in the house and remind my family to take theirs off at the door too. It’s especially important with little kids around who may be crawling or playing on the floor.
4 Reasons You Shouldn’t be Wearing Shoes in the House
1. You’re Bringing in Toxins!
When you wear your shoes in your house, you can easily track in all kinds of toxins. We walk on all kinds of harmful chemicals and toxins when were out and about, such as at the gas station.
One study from Baylor University discovered that when someone walked on an asphalt road that was sealed with coal tar, particles of toxic coal tar were found in their home. They were also found to have increased risk of cancer due to the toxins in coal tar being brought in to the home from their shoes. Scary!
Chemicals such as gasoline, oil, pesticides, lead and even fecal matter were found dispersed on floor surfaces in homes from shoes as well.
2. Bringing in Bacteria that Can Make You Sick!
Besides chemicals being tracked in to your home from wearing shoes in the house, several studies have found that all kinds of bacteria can also be carried in by your shoes and not the good kind.
A study from the University of Arizona found that an average shoe contains over 421,000 different types of bacteria. Fecal material was also present on over 96% of shoes test. Yuck!
C. Diff. and E. Coli are harmful types of bacteria commonly found on the bottom of your shoes. A microbiologist from the University of Arizona stated that most likely the E. Coli is picked up on our shoes from walking on bird poop, dog poop, or from walking in public restrooms.
So…how much of the bacteria you pick up on your shoes actually gets tracked into your home to your kitchen floor or living room floor? The same study found that 95-99% of the bacteria on your shoes is transferred to your floors and remains on the floor surface. That is a lot more than I was expecting!
3. Can Reduce Indoor Air Quality
When these toxins both chemicals and bacteria get carried throughout your home, they easily remain in the carpeting and on your floor surfaces. These chemicals and pollutants can continuously be released throughout your home into the air reducing the indoor air quality.
I have carpet in about half my house and besides vacuuming, I haven’t done much deep cleaning or had it steamed in a long time, so a lot of the chemicals from people’s shoes are probably still in the carpet. One reason I don’t have my floors professionally cleaned is mostly because I also don’t want to have toxic chemicals sprayed for cleaning either. It’s easier to clean tile and wood floors with natural ingredients to remove germs and bacteria.
4. Harmful for Babies and Children
All of these toxins and bacteria being carried throughout your home that remain in the carpet are a concern for babies and children. Babies and children who crawl, roll or play on the floor are in closer proximity to all these harmful chemicals that remain in the carpet and on the floor. Young children are also more likely to continually touch the floor when crawling or playing and then put their hands in their mouth. One study found that babies under 2 years old put their hands in their mouth nearly 80 times each hour. So, if you have young children, it is especially important to stop wearing shoes in the house and take them off at the door.
What You Should Do:
It would be best to remove your shoes at the door and have a specific place to store them. You can store them in a breeze way or entry way.
The study by the University of Arizona, found that it is also helpful to wash your shoes in a washing machine to remove the harmful chemicals and bacteria. They found that washing them removed about 90% of bacteria.
But, the best and safest option is to just take your shoes off at the door, even if you’re running back in to grab on thing.