Why you need to leave your shoes at the door

Much of the dirt and dust in our homes is trekked in on our shoes. Here’s why you should consider going shoeless indoors.

Ever spent hours meticulously cleaning your floors at home, only to have the kids trek in grass and dirt after sport?

Frustrating for sure, and that’s only the dirt you can see.

Dirt contributes to the dust load in our homes, and about two thirds of the dust in our home comes from outside — including what we bring it in on the bottom of our shoes.

So, do we need to leave our shoes at the front door?

Here are three good reasons you should:

You won’t trek dog poo inside

A US study investigated the germs that collect on our shoes found bacteria such as E. coli (that causes intestinal and urinary tract infections) on the outside of 27 per cent of shoes.

“The common occurrence (96 per cent) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with faecal matter, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal faecal material outdoors,” University of Arizona microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba said in the report.

“Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria.”

You’ll improve the air quality in your home

Leaving your shoes at the front door can also improve the air quality in your home.

“Recent research from Finland looked at indoor air quality in schools and how taking shoes off on entry to the classroom and walking in socks to the classroom might influence the amount of dust and particles indoors,” Dr Cameron Jones, a microbiologist in Melbourne, says.

“The results showed the sooner shoes were taken off immediately on entry to the building, the lower the levels of dust in the classroom which meant better indoor air quality.”

You reduce the risk of diarrhoea

“Predominantly our shoes bring in microbes that grow on soil and water and that are found on surfaces or plant matter that we walk on or in,” Dr Jones says.

One of the worst is Clostridium difficile bacteria that cause diarrhea and their spores can remain in your home environment for weeks or even years — and shoes are a main way in which C. difficile enters our home.

So what should you wear on your feet at home?

“If we follow the Finnish research, it’s best to take shoes off as soon as you enter your home and to walk in socks,” Dr Jones says.

“Or take your shoes off at the front door and change into shoes that you only use indoors.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.