Have you ever been a guest at someone’s home and they kindly ask you to remove your shoes before entering? It might seem like a hassle, and you may think of them as a “neat freak.” However, there’s a good chance their request goes far beyond a fear of dirt on their carpet—even though that’s a good enough reason.
As it turns out, there could be far worse things on the bottom of your shoes than dirt. That’s why you should never wear shoes at your guest’s home and especially not your own. After you read this, you will be ditching your shoes at the door every time!
In 2016, University of Arizona professors conducted a two-week study with a brand new pair of shoes. They discovered 440,000 units of bacteria had connected to the bottom of the shoes in that time frame. The research team also found nine different types of bacteria on people’s shoes they selected at random. One of those bacteria sources is E. coli, which can cause intestinal issues, diarrhea and meningitis. Even more alarming, the bacteria and viruses they discovered could survive better on shoe soles than in toilets!
Meanwhile, if you have any soil or plant matter on your shoes as well, that could help the bacteria and viruses continue to live in your carpet. Even regular vacuuming won’t save you from those.
Any pair of shoes that have been on grass, could have weed killer or fertilizer on them. I’ve written previously about the dangers of these toxic substances. City dwellers who walk mostly on concrete could have antifreeze, motor oil or gasoline on their soles. If you then walk through the house with your shoes on, you plant those chemicals wherever you step. That means everyone in your home could be at risk of breathing harmful toxins on a daily basis.
Good Old-Fashioned Dirt
By “dirt,” we usually mean soil, though soil itself contains all kinds of organic and inorganic substances. That said, dirt isn’t as harmful as the viruses and bacteria described above. However, it can still pose a danger. If you have young children who play on the floor, they are prone to put their hands in the mouths or the toys that have been on the floor on their mouths, according to University of Arizona microbiologist and professor Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D.
Aside from the health hazards, dirt is simply a pain to clean up. Our homes get messy enough from things beyond our control, so why not limit additional dirt when we can?
Floor Surface Damage
From a purely cosmetic point of view, not wearing shoes in the house will help extend your floor’s life. Carpets and hardwood floors will wear down over time and wearing shoes only speeds up the inevitable. When shoe particles transfer to carpets or floors, a substance is created that can grind down the carpet. If something like a nail gets caught in your sole, it can tear or stain your carpet. High heels can leave imprints on hardwood floors.
Make the Best Choice!
Not wearing shoes in the house really comes down to health. Isn’t it worth it to slip off your shoes when you get inside to not have illness-inducing bacteria and viruses, dangerous chemicals and grimy dirt all over your home? It sounds like an easy choice. Some people, like those with arthritis or joint issues, must wear shoes for their health. If that is your case, or you’re accustomed to wearing shoes indoors, opt for a pair of slippers or shoes that you ONLY wear inside your home.
Please feel free to contact me to schedule a telemedicine consultation or office consultation at our Integrative Medical Center in Metamora, Indiana. I will be glad to help you.
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