To remove shoes or not remove shoes, that is the question. The topic of shoes in the house is widely divided. Some see it as a sign of respect when entering someone’s home, while others consider it a nuisance. Recent studies have found that removing your shoes when entering the house is not just polite, it might be saving you or your host from harmful bacteria. Homes with young children who crawl around and have weaker immune systems should be particularly strict.
The Dirty Truth
A recent study conducted by the University of Arizona found that on average, shoes contain more than 421,000 different strains of bacteria. In particular, e. coli was detected on 27% of shoes. These bacteria also like to hang out and overstay their welcome. The study found that the transfer of bacteria from shoes to flooring (or whatever surface they come in contact with ranged from 90-99%.
If the idea of tracking bacteria into your home isn’t concerning enough, you may also have to worry about the toxins your shoes collect. The Battelle Memorial Institute warns against treating your lawn with chemicals that can easily find their way into your home. Additionally, a Baylor University study found that people living close to asphalt roads that were sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins that can be tracked inside by shoes.
How Does It Get There?
At this point you may be wondering how your shoes collect so many germs? You’re likely not walking through hazmat areas, but you would be surprised the number of organisms and unpleasant substances that are found on a normal street or sidewalk. Things like animal feces, spit and food garbage can be found anywhere.
While coming into contact with some level of bacteria is unavoidable, there are some particularly germ heavy areas you can look out for. Floors of public restrooms, for example, have been found to contain around two million bacteria per square inch!
What Can you Do to Keep your Home Germ Free?
The best way to prevent unwelcome bacteria from entering your home is to cut them off at the source. Ask guests to remove their shoes when they enter your house and remember to remove your own when you get home. Having a pair of cozy slippers by the door to slip on after a long day can be a good reminder to yourself.
Another line of defense is to remove the germs that collect on the bottom of your shoes. Try regularly washing them according to manufacturer instructions. You can also get an antimicrobial doormat for your home. The jury is still out of the effectiveness of these mats, but they claim to remove as much as 99% of the bacteria carried around on your shoes.
At the end of the day it is inevitable that germs will enter your home, whether they come in on your shoes or by some other means. To keep your home and family healthy, we recommend cleaning your floors regularly. Hard surface floors like wood and tile are easier to clean and disinfect. Organisms can live longer in carpet, allowing bacteria and mold to build up over time and making it harder to clean.
If you need help cleaning the wood, tile or carpeted floors in your home, call Aladdin. Our expert cleaning technicians will rid the floors of your home of any bacteria, dirt or toxins that have found their way in. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today.