Your shoes have been everywhere. From grimy subway floors to filthy sidewalks, your shoes are exposed to bacteria-ridden surfaces every day. When you wear your shoes inside your home, you're introducing millions of microbes that could be making you sick. Here are three cringe-worthy reasons why you should leave your shoes at the door.

1. Bacteria

bacteria

This is perhaps the most obvious reason why you shouldn't be wearing your shoes around your house. A 2016 study done at the University of Arizona explored the number of germs on shoes and found an average of 421,000 bacteria on the outside of shoes, from nine different strains of bacteria. Some of them include Escherichia coli, also known as E.Coli. This is found in fecal matter and can cause intestinal issues such as diarrhea and, in rare instances, meningitis. Another bacteria strain that was found was Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infections. Also amongst the stains was Serratia ficaria which can cause respiratory infections.

Your shoes are a magnet for these type of bacteria. Every day you walk in things such as bird droppings, dog feces, and germs on public bathroom floors, which are sources of E.Coli. In addition to this, other things that you walk in including gum, leaves, and dirt can encourage bacteria to grow. Therefore, bacteria can survive for days and weeks on your shoes. When you walk around your house with your shoes on, you track this bacteria onto your floors. It's even worse if you have carpet because bacteria can be trapped in the fibers. The same goes for putting your shoes on upholstered furniture or on your bed.

2. Toxins

shoes on grass

A study done by the Battelle Memorial Institute found that toxins from lawn treatment products can become stuck on your shoes and tracked in your house. In another study conducted at Baylor University, those who lived near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar had a higher risk of cancer. An even scarier finding was that the toxins settled inside the house in the form of dust. Additionally, rainwater oftentimes contains gasoline, antifreeze and other harmful chemicals that get on your shoes and are brought into your home. On a positive note, it would take long-term exposure to these toxins in order to get sick, so go ahead and breathe a little sigh of relief.

3. Dirt

dirty wood floor

Although dirt isn't harmful in nature, it can be a nuisance when it's tracked in your home. Specifically, if you have children who play or crawl on the floor, they could put their hands in their mouths and possibly ingest dirt. Ew! Also, excess dirt means that you probably spend more time cleaning. Keeping your shoes at the door not only keeps your children or grandchildren from playing in dirt, but it reduces the time you spend cleaning.

Possible Solutions?

The obvious solution to reducing bacteria, dirt and toxins in your home is to not wear your shoes in the house, but what about houseguests? If you get visitors frequently, you can have them cover their filthy shoes with disposable shoe covers. They are extremely affordable and will prevent the spread of nasty toxins and bacteria. For those of you who loathe being barefoot even in your own home, not to worry, just invest in a cozy pair of house shoes.

Benefits of Going Shoeless

Less Cleaning

As mentioned, wearing your shoes inside brings in dirt from outside. If you leave your shoes at the door, you will spend less time sweeping, mopping and vacuuming because there will be significantly less dirt on the floor.

Better Looking Floors

Shoes can wreak havoc on hardwood floors and carpet -- especially stiletto heels. The point of the heel scratches and dent the surface of wood floors and leave imprints in carpets. Additionally, shoes pick up tiny particles of grit that can wear on your floor and carpet over time.

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