Katherine Crofton/DW Staff – Stop and think about all the places you walked today. Was a public bathroom one of them? If so, I’ve got bad news. Public bathroom floors contain about 2 million bacteria per square inch. For some perspective, toilet seats only contain about 50.
The soles of your shoes seem even nastier when you consider that every day, we walk where thousands of other people have walked.
Who knows where they’ve been. They could’ve just spent a day on a farm. And believe me, you do not want the sort of filth that lives in the mud on a farm to be following you around.
What sort of filth is it?
Common bacteria found on shoes include e.coli, c.diff (causes bad diarrhea or colon inflammation if not treated), meningitis, and plenty of other species. In other words, not the sort of stuff you’d let your baby roll around in or put in their mouth. And yet, that’s exactly what happens when you don’t take your shoes off in your home.
Researchers found that more than 90% of the bacteria you wear on your shoes will transfer to tile floors in your home. Carpeting is even worse.
There are many cultures where, unlike in the U.S., taking off your shoes before entering a home is not only common but expected.
I worked in South Korea for over four years as an English teacher at a public school and observed special areas right inside Korean apartments that are set lower than the rest of the home. These areas are for people entering your home to kick off their shoes. We need to adopt this tradition here in America. We need to take off our shoes before we enter our homes for some very important reasons, ones that go even beyond bacteria.
There Are Toxins, Too!
There are a ton of toxins from the outside environment that can be easily be brought into the home via shoes. A government-funded study found that pesticides like weed killers that are applied to lawns can be tracked into your home on your shoes up to a week after the chemicals have been applied.
What does the study recommend to avoid this? Removing your shoes, of course.
Another reason to ditch the sneakers at the door – it damages your floor!
All the dirt brought in with your shoes gets ground into your flooring, causing wear and tear.
So if you want your flooring to last, it is best to keep your shoes by the door. You can also clean less often because no one will be tracking all that dirt and/or sand in.
Walking Barefoot Helps Your Foot Health
Believe it or not, walking around barefoot at home is good for your feet. In fact, when the weather permits, I only wear sandals outside so I can get them off faster when I get home. There is nothing like walking around your home in bare feet.
Also, children who go habitually without shoes have stronger feet, more flexible feet, are less likely to suffer flat feet, and develop fewer podiatric deformities.