One of our older posts titled “Shoes transmit disease, leave them by the door” has been getting a lot of attention lately. Citing a 2008 a study, we wrote:
Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, joined forces with shoemaker Rockport to study what types of microorganisms are transported by footwear. Ten people were given a brand new pair of shoes to use for two weeks before having them tested for bacteria.
After two weeks, more than 420,000 units of bacteria were found on the outside of the test shoes. Of that bacteria, 27% were deadly E. Coli virus. Also detected was Klebsiella pneumonia, which can cause pneumonia and wound and bloodstream infections and Serratia ficaria, which can lead to infection of the respiratory tract.
“The common occurrence (96 percent) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors,” said Gerba. “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.”
Even more disturbing to moms of little ones – 90 to 99% of bacteria found on the exterior of the shoes was transmitted to hard tile and carpet.
Recently, I have become more aware of the power of shoes to transmit viruses when a friend’s puppy contracted parvo. We also have puppies that have yet to get their booster shots, and thus are not protected. The vet recommended we put on different shoes that have never been worn when we enter the puppy kennel and keep the pups isolated from where our regular shoes have been.
From a month to year, so many viruses that affect humans and pets live a long time on surfaces. Even if you are not stepping in blood, fecal matter, or other bodily fluids, you could be stepping where someone else that has stepped into these substances tread before your or where they were cleaned up but not with chemicals that kill viruses. Yikes, it’s enough to make anyone super paranoid.
You don’t have to become germophobic. You just need to leave your shoes at the door. Keep them in one place. Don’t track those viruses and bacteria into your home, especially when you have little crawling babies or young children that spend a lot of time on the floor.
I also find taking off ones shoes as a sign of respect when entering someone’s home. My parents’ generation like to leave their shoes on in the house, and I admit my floors are not always the cleanest, but my mom has gotten in the habit of just brining a pair of new flip flops when she visits. It’s the same idea of having house shoes or house slippers that do not go outside.
Keep the shoes off in the house. It’s simple and will keep your family healthier and your house cleaner.