By David Benjamin
Have you ever been to someone’s home and they have all the shoes by the front door outside of the house?
I have known several friends mostly from Eastern and/or Asian families who do this. I always found it interesting personally considering growing up not many of my friends and family kept their shoes outside. Most people I know take their shoes off at the door but some people choose to wear shoes in their home.
Why would you wear shoes in your home? It’s beyond me! It’s more comfortable to be barefoot and it’s better to develop foot and angle strength also.
Some new information I discovered today is worth sharing, however.
The University of Houston did a study and found that 39% of shoes contained bacteria C. diff (otherwise known as Clostridium difficile), this is a public health threat that is now also resistant to a number of antibiotics.
It has been shown that C. diff infections can cause multiple health conditions such as diarrhea that can also progress to colon inflammation and further serious health problems, especially if it doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment effectively.
In another study done by the University of Arizona, nine different forms of bacteria were found on the bottom of shoes.
Good Morning America also did a test — and found that the bottom of shoes were dirtier than toilet seats, believe it or not!
Furthermore, Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona did a test with a brand new pair of shoes and found that within just two weeks of wearing a new shoe 440,000 units of bacteria were found on the shoe. An astonishing 27% of that total bacteria were potentially deadly E Coli. Klebsiella pneumonia was also found, which can lead to and cause pneumonia and wound and bloodstream infections and another type of infection called Serratia ficaria, which can lead to infection of the respiratory tract.
“Shoes are contaminated from diverse sources, and we are regularly contaminating our doorsteps by shoes,” said study author M. Jahangir Alam, Ph.D.
Only 4 out of 10 people have Clostridium difficile this on their shoes, but there are plenty of other types of bacteria that
There are many different types of bacteria that get into your home from your shoe.
For example, most public restroom floors contain around 2 million bacteria per square inch (interestingly the average toilet seat only contains about 50 per square inch, up to 300 for the home and up to 1,000 for public seats).
These are two very good reasons to avoid wearing shoes in your home at all. If you have young kids who crawl around on the floor all day (whether 2 years old or 4 years old) it’s even more important to not wear your shoes inside your home. Children 2 and under should NOT be playing on floors that shoes have been walked on. It is best to leave your shoes outside the home if you have a one or two-year-old child.
What’s interesting is that many countries like the ones mentioned earlier leave their shoes completely outside their home with the door closed so you cannot even see them in the home. A great idea is to leave them at the front door or in the garage by the door to avoid bringing any unwanted bacteria or germs inside.
What’s worse is that many of us will be barefoot in our homes (especially during the summer time) and to wear your shoes in your home even just once can bring thousands of new types of potentially harmful bacteria inside. Do your best to make taking your shoes off a habit and a tradition, to make sure they stay outside for health and safety reasons.
Not only do shoes contain bacteria but they also contain germs, chemicals and oil or petroleum by-products.
The bottom of your shoes are full of plenty of chemicals and pathogens that you do not want to spread all over your home then walk barefoot on later.
It’s uncommon in Western countries such as America and Canada for guests to ask to remove your shoes at the door but many cultures around the world prioritize this simple step. It will help keep those germs and bacteria out, as well as bacteria C. diff which can be more dangerous.
Taking your shoes off at the door is a sign of respect for your home and the home of guests. In many religious traditions shoes are removed for prayer and entering the home.
Let’s recap, what’s on the bottom of your shoes? Fecal matter, multiple forms of bacteria causing fecal matter as well as infections and inflammation of the colon, germs, chemicals, petroleum and much more.
With that in mind, it may be time to rethink the infamous “five second rule” about eating food off the ground, and our own decisions to wear our shoes inside at times when there’s no good reason to do so.
This article was originally published in summer 2015.