What if we told you that your shoes could be undoing all of your hard work? Many cultures are already aware of this potential danger, and so it is customary to remove your shoes when entering a home. Here in the U.S.? Not so much. But, perhaps you might change your mind and start a new tradition once you read why you might not want to wear shoes inside the house.
5 Reasons Not to Wear Shoes in the House
Shoes Bring in Germs
All of the germs you encounter on a given day could be found on your shoes. While you sanitize your hands, people rarely sanitize their shoes. This means that when you walk through your home, you are bringing those germs to your floors. The University of Arizona did a study and found that over the course of two weeks, researchers discovered 440,000 units of bacteria on a single pair of shoes! You don’t definitely don’t want that in your home!
Of course, you can always opt to just continually clean your floors. A good carpet cleaner or hardwood cleaner will help eliminate that bacteria you just tracked in, but might it be easier to just not bring it in?
Shoes Bring in Toxins
When wearing your shoes out and about you can walk through a variety of toxins. This can include things like cleaning sprays, pest treatment, and even lawn chemicals. Traipsing through these items in shoes protects your feet from these harmful chemicals. But when you then walk through your home with those same shoes on, you could be tracking these harmful toxins across the floors. This can become a bigger issue when you have babies crawling on floors, pets lying down on them, or even when you choose to walk barefoot through your home.
Shoes Bring in Biological Matter
When you are in public, you are trusting that the floors are cleaned well. While this would be fantastic, it is not always the case. In fact, your shoes come in contact with multiple types of the biological matter when you are out in public. Your shoes can have fecal matter, urine, and a variety of other bodily secretions without you being aware.
The “ew factor” of biological matter remaining on your shoes as you come home after a long day is a bit discouraging. As a reminder, you usually know when you accidentally step in dog poop, and usually wash it off, but we’re talking about the microscopic levels of biological matter. This is the stuff you can’t see and are unknowingly bringing home.
You can even clean the soles of your shoes from time to time. A good all-purpose cleaner on a rag giving the bottom of your shoes a good rub down is an excellent practice.
Shoes Can Damage Your Floors
Another downside of having shoes on in the house is the potential damage to floors. The constant back and forth of shoes can scrape up tile/wood floors. It can also damage the fibers in the carpet. Add to that any dirt you might track in or a piece of rock stuck in the bottom of your shoes and you could be looking at potential damage that is difficult to repair. This is just yet another good reason to avoid bringing damaging shoes into the home.
Shoes Track in Mess
While this is a more obvious reason, it’s always good to point out that shoes can track in regular dirt and mud from outside. This means the floors you just cleaned will need a fresh cleaning. The more frequently you go in and out of your home in shoes, the more time you will be spending cleaning floors. By removing shoes when entering the home, you are removing the potential of tracking that dirt through your home. This simple change can allow you more time for other things by keeping your floors cleaner.
You can always opt to distinguish between “outdoor” shoes and “indoor” shoes. If you have a pair of comfortable slippers or “indoor only” shoes to keep on hand to switch to when you arrive home, you can eliminate these potential dangers.
How Do You Switch to an Outdoor Shoe-Free Household?
If you are accustomed to walking through your home in shoes, this could be an adjustment. It will be a complete change to the way you and your family have behaved. It may even be a difficult adjustment to remember in the beginning. However, we have some simple ways that you can start to eliminate outdoor shoes in the house in a practical way. Check out these tips for a shoe-free household so that you can start making changes even now.
- Have a shoe station - It can help to have a spot near the doors where shoes will be stored. You can use a shoe rack, bins, or even a small tub to store shoes. The goal is to start putting shoes in this location when you first get home. Pick what will work for your home and for the space you have. Some people set up what is similar to a “mud room” where their outdoor shoes are stored, complete with a bench seat to allow for easy on and off of shoes.
If you are the type of person who has way too many shoes to store near the doorway, use this station as a transition area, where you simply store an indoor pair of socks or slippers. When you get home, take off your outdoor shoes, put on the slippers, and then transport your outdoor shoes to the shoe rack in your closet, avoiding tracking the dirt and toxins across your clean floors.
- Spray down your shoes when you get home - As stated earlier, you can use a safe all-purpose cleaner to spray down shoes before storing them in your home. This will help to minimize the toxins, and germs tracked in from the outside. (This may not remove everything. A sealed container might be a good option after spraying them down.)
- Make it a family rule - When adjusting to a new routine, it is important that everyone is following the same rules. Many younger children will learn from your example. If you make it a part of the routine everyone in the family is part of, you are more likely to successfully stop shoe-wearing in the house. If everyone stops at the door to remove shoes, it will become the new normal for your household.
- Have a spot outside for messy shoes - Do your shoes or your children’s shoes get muddy and messy fairly easily? Having an outdoor bin that closes and seals can be a great option for these shoes. Instead of bringing the mess into the home, store these in a sealed container on the porch or near the door inside.
- Ask guests politely to remove shoes - Many times guests will feel awkward removing their shoes in someone’s home. This can be for a variety of reasons. It helps to politely ask them to remove them at the door. If they are unwilling to remove their shoes at the door, using an all-purpose spray on the bottoms of their shoes can help to neutralize some of the germs/bacteria they may track into your home. If you are having a get-together or even a party, you can make it a fun part of the invite by asking guests to bring a pair of “indoor” shoes with them.
- Give yourself grace - Adjusting to a new change can be a lot. You may not become a shoeless house overnight. It may take you time to adjust to a new way of doing things. Don’t be afraid of forgetting. Give yourself grace and keep trying to make better choices for the health of your home.