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Please leave your shoes at the door: keeping the house cleaner and healthier between cleanings

June 6, 2011

How do your floors get dirty? People and pets track in “stuff” from outside.

How can you keep your floors from getting dirty? Please leave your shoes at the door.

Remember those old houses with the huge bench just inside the front door? Or a New England house with a mud room for dropping boots and shoes and coats in the winter. That’s more than just a weather accommodation…it should become a regular practice in your home!

Just think of where your shoes have been all day

  • in a shared bathroom at work or school or the gym…where you are likely to pick up E. coli according to a recent study by a University of Arizona microbiologist
  • on the school hallway…with those of 500 other kids
  • around the office and on the elevator…with everyone else you work with
  • at the lunch shop…where stuff comes in from outside and food is dropped constantly
  • on the sidewalk or street…do you really want to go there?

The simple practice of leaving your shoes at the door…wherever you are most likely to enter your home…and switching out for some comfy socks or indoor-only flip-flops can help to keep out or keep to a low volume a variety of germs that are commonly found on the soles of your shoes,  namely E. coli which is picked up in shared or public bathrooms or in areas where animals play.

Dr. Philip Tierno, who has appeared on the Today Show and in other venues on this very topic (germs in your home), strongly endorses this practice: “The street is a repository for a sorts of really disgusting things, and when you step in them while walking, your shoes accumulate those things…and bring them into your home.”

He also recommends some home improvement and maintenance choices that can help you keep germs at bay in your home:

  • hard floors with area rugs—because they are easier than wall-to-wall carpet to disinfect
  • sanitize carpets weekly and vacuum with a HEPA filter-equipped machine
  • clean floors regularly with disinfectant—green products should contain thymol, the only green ingredient strong enough to disinfect, or use steam vapor cleaning (on carpets too!)
  • clean up food and drink spills immediately

In addition to keeping new or more germs from invading your home, you also may gain the added benefit of helping to de-clutter your home. How many times have you tripped over someone’s shoes (maybe your own)? Especially if you have little people, whose shoes are often lost, designating this routine gets them into a quick habit and then makes it much easier to cart and organize the shoe closet (if you choose to take that step).

Also, if you adopt a no-shoe policy in your home, consider what alternatives you have for footwear to prevent chills and slipping accidents. Fuzzy socks or slipper with grips are great for kids or perhaps a nice pair of rubber soled moccasins for others. And ask yourself how your new no-shoe policy affects guests in your home as well, both casually and formally. Will you insist on no shoes when you host a dinner party or have your child’s friends over for a birthday party or sleepover?



Health and Wellness Blog

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