Why We Have a “No Shoes” Rule In Our House (and You Should Too)

no shoes rule at home

Do you take your shoes off at the front door? If you answered no, then you are most likely bringing in all types of germs and bacteria into your house. A study done by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. That’s a lot of bacteria!

The biggest culprits were the following: Escherichia coli (E. Coli), which can cause intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, which can cause infections in wounds and bloodstream, and can cause pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare infection that can make its way into your respiratory tract and wounds.

The University of Houston also did a study that showed how 39 percent of shoes contained the bacteria Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is resistant to antibiotics and a lot of times leads to complications in hospital patients.

So where does this bacteria come from? Mostly from the feces we walk on left behind by birds, dogs, and humans (from public restrooms…OMG…gross). 96 percent “of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors.  Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona.

But bacteria isn’t the only thing your shoes can bring into your house. Chemicals and toxins like pesticides can also make their way into your home from the chemicals that are found on lawns. Other chemicals include coal tar from asphalt roads and gasoline from rainwater. If you have pets or children at home, they are the ones who are at greater risk of exposure since they are the ones who are crawling and laying on the floor.

shoe boxThe best way to keep your family safe from harmful chemicals and dangerous bacteria inside your house is by washing shoes with detergent in a washing machine. Researchers from University of Arizona said that the washing machine can remove up to 90 percent of the bacteria or more from your shoes. Washing your floors and carpets can also remove dangerous bacteria. And of course, the most obvious way to keep your loved ones safe at home is to take off your shoes like we do in our house!

It’s little changes like this that can make a big difference… here’s to a clean and safe home! xoxo