I’ve had a strict no shoes in the house policy for at least a year now. And while yes, I believe shoes are great and serve a wonderful purpose, I don’t think they have any business being worn inside. While this is the norm in most eastern cultures, if you live in the States and ask someone to take their shoes off at the door you’re often met with uncertainty…not to mention a questioning glance and a quick roll of the eyes.
It’s actually beyond me why anyone would even consider wearing shoes inside. Not only is it simply comfier to go barefoot or wear socks, but get this. Your shoes are tracking in more germs, bacteria, and nasty things than you’re probably aware of. When I found out what we track in from the outside world when we leave our shoes on, ours came off (and stayed off) inside immediately.
Think about this. You wear your shoes everywhere outside, and along the way you’re picking up a host of different bacteria. It’s true. A study conducted at the University of Arizona gathered the germs and bacteria from footwear…and what they found was shocking. Results of this study found 421,000 different elements of bacteria on people’s shoes.
The big one? E. coli. This pathogenic organism can cause extreme intestinal issues and wreak havoc on your stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common side effects of E. coli and can cause some serious health damage. Other dangerous strains of bacteria that are found on shoes included Klebsiella pneumonia, a bacterium that can get into the lungs and cause pneumonia. It’s also responsible for causing bloodstream and wound infections.
We’re literally exposed to thousands of different toxins daily, and some of these are being tracked into the house when you decide to leave your shoes on. The EPA found it’s possible (and very likely) that wearing your shoes inside can bring in some unhealthy herbicides that have no business being in your home. 2,4-D, a very common weed killer, was the big one and was found to be easily tracked into the house…even a week after coming in contact with your shoes. That walk in the park might not seem so nice after all considering exposure to 2,4-D can cause immediate problems such as skin rashes and intestinal problems.
Sometimes, because we can’t see these disgusting things, it’s easy to not give them a second thought. Think about it like this. When we’re outside we’re walking over a lot of things we don’t even think about. Dirt, dust, dog poop, bird droppings, and spit are only a few of the revolting things found in the great outdoors that end up on our shoes. Why, I ask, would you EVER want to bring any of this into your home?
If you’ve got young children, making sure the shoes come off before coming in the house is vital. Kids that are crawling around on the floor all day will come directly in contact with all the bacteria, toxins, dirt, and grime that’s on your shoes. NEVER let your kids play on the floor that’s been trampled on by people’s shoes. It’s so easy for them to pick up these germs and end up getting sick. If leaving your shoes off in the house can prevent this, there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t stay at the door.
There are seriously so many benefits to not wearing your shoes in the house. Not only will it keep your house free of all the grossness we track in from outside, but your house will stay so much cleaner! Stick a basket by the front door, and it will soon become a habit for everyone to slip off their shoes the moment they’re inside. You might even want to think about buying slippers to keep by the front door. Offer these to guests when they come over, and they’ll appreciate taking off their shoes more. Shoe covers are also available if for some reason guests insist shoes absolutely must stay on.
While we might not be used to doing it here in America, there are so many countries where taking your shoes off is the norm. Travel to most places around the world (especially in the east) and you’ll find you’re expected to remove your shoes before entering the home.
Aside from all the dirt and bacteria, taking your shoes off is really good for your feet! Not only do kids who go without shoes have less cases of flat feet, they end up having stronger feet with fewer problems later in life! And when you go sans shoes, you also stimulate all the pressure points on the bottom of your feet, something the Chinese have known about and been doing for thousands of years!
Our homes are our sanctuaries. They are where we spend most of our time and make the memories that will last a lifetime. Taking your shoes off at the door is a sign of respect for your sacred dwelling…and the people you love that live inside.