Like me, you probably spend a lot of your time indoors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that you probably spend about 93% of your time inside. Even when we do spend time outside, that time can be contaminated by what we step in and on while walking around.
For example, you might be tracking in Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which causes explosive diarrhea and stomach pain. Plus, researchers at the University of Arizona found that it’s likely (96%) that you’ve got fecal bacteria on the bottom of your shoes. Even in the best-case scenario, you could be tracking cancer-causing toxins or endocrine-disrupting chemicals into your house.
When you consider what’s on the bottom of your shoes, it really is a sobering thought…so what should you know about wearing shoes in the house? What are the risks? What nasty substances are you really tracking inside on the soles of your shoes? What can you do about it to protect yourself and your family?
What Are You Tracking Inside On The Soles Of Your Shoes?
The real question may be what aren’t you tracking in from outside. Beyond the bacteria you already know about, you may be tracking in E. coli, which consistently causes problems related to foodborne illness. You could be tracking in bacteria that causes meningitis, the Klebsiella bacteria that leads to pneumonia, or even Serratia ficaria with its respiratory tract infections.
Of course, the list could go on and on, and what you track in may vary, depending on where you live and where you go when you’re walking around outside during the day. None of the possible contamination options are pleasant. So, if you’ve found that you’re more sick than usual this year, perhaps it has something to do with what you’re tracking inside on the bottom of your shoes.
Is Your Health At Risk From Outdoor Contamination?
Yes, your health is at risk. It can be even worse if you have a baby or young child who spends a lot of time crawling or rolling around on the floor. It’s also not unusual for family members to lay on the floor or sit on the floor; so they could also be affected by the bacteria and contamination tracked in when your family is wearing shoes in the house.
Of course, your shoes are not the only culprit. Your dog can bring in germs, as can your grocery bags, your hands, your purse, and so many other objects. But most other items you bring into the house don’t tend to have as regular and prolonged contact with bacteria and other contaminants on the ground.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Health?
It’s easy to protect your health. Just switch out your nasty, germ-ridden shoes for inside-only slip-ons or slippers when you walk in the front door. If you really want to kill all the germs and contamination, you can wash the bottom and sides of your shoes to kill 90% of the bacteria you’re tracking in.
If you do take off your shoes when you arrive home, don’t leave them outside in the rain, heat, or other elements. When you leave your shoes outside, you only serve to further exacerbate the problem by contributing to the growth of bacteria on your shoes.
How Can You Support Comfy Feet Indoors?
So, now we know the truth. With all the evidence of what you’re tracking into the house, now’s the time to also offer some solutions. After all, just because shoes are nasty doesn’t mean you want to walk around your house without your shoes on. It can be cold, uncomfortable, and dangerous, particularly if your children leave Legos and other small-pointed objects all over the floor. If wearing shoes in the house is a non-negotiable for you, here are some alternate options!
These PillowSlides are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They’re the perfect anti-slip slides for any conditions, but they’re also waterproof. They even help relieve foot and joint pain, which is why I love ‘em. Check out our review of PillowSlides and then look at these other ideas for supporting your shoe-less house. (Don’t forget to use code “MONET” at checkout for 15% OFF)
These slippers are the perfect solution when you don’t want to go barefoot indoors. You’ll love the faux fur trim and the soft, cozy chenille uppers. They come in a range of sizes, and they’re machine washable, so you can be sure they don’t get germy.
I love this minimalist shoe tower because it’s the perfect way to organize shoes without taking up a ton of space or creating the ultimate jumble of shoes in a bucket, chest, or basket. You can store 12-14 pairs of shoes. Since the tower ships as untreated wood, you can paint or stain it to match the look and feel of your space.
You can place this wooden bench outside on your porch or inside, so you and your guests can sit down to remove your shoes. It’s sturdy enough to hold up to regular use, but each bench is also one-of-a-kind with unique wood-grain characteristics. It’s a great addition to your indoor or outdoor space.
One of the hardest parts of keeping your home clean, disinfected, and SHOE-FREE is letting everyone who comes over know about your policy. Even if you’ve just started the house rule, you can easily let your visitors and friends know about your preference when you prominently hang this sign by the door.
Take a look at more mudroom ideas with our top picks for seats, hooks, mats, brushes, and more.
Are you for or against wearing shoes in the house? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.
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