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Here is why you shouldn’t wear shoes inside your home

Do you give wearing shoes inside your home a second thought? For most the answer is no, however recent studies have revealed that maybe you really should take them off before walking into your home. 

A recent study done by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. Now we are all aware that there is good bacteria and bad bacteria, and coliforms - a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water, which is universally present in feces - were detected on the bottoms of 96% of shoes. It is safe to say these aren’t the good kind of bacteria.



Furthermore, E.coli was detected on 27% of the shoes, along with seven other kinds of bacteria including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infection, and Serratia ficaria, which can cause respiratory infections.

We might be walking on what we think are clean surfaces but foot traffic in say an office can still track in trace amounts of bacteria from wherever people came.

“We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E coli,” says Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona.

Researchers then wanted to know about the transfer of bacteria from shoes to uncontaminated home floors. They discovered that the transfer of bacteria from shoes to home floors ranged from 90% to 99%.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona commented, “The common occurrence (96%) 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. 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.”

Public restroom floors have been found to contain around two million bacteria per square inch, though the average toilet seat contains only about 50 per square inch.

A University of Houston study found that 39% of shoes contained bacteria C. diff (Clostridium difficile), which is a public health threat resistant to a number of antibiotics. This bacteria can cause multiple health conditions, including diarrhea.

However threats are not just limited to bacteria, it is quite possible to track toxins into your home. For example, if you had treated your lawn with a chemical solution. In addition a study from Baylor University also found that people who live near asphalt roads which has been sealed with coal tar have an increased risk for cancer due to toxins that has been tracked into the house. 
Dr. Reynolds commented, “Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.” However, though she cautions about the dangers of kinds of toxins, you would most likely have to be exposed many times over the course of your life in order to get sick.

For the most part, cleaning your home’s floors and carpets with an disinfecting carpet cleaner such as a steam cleaner is a start. The study also found that washing your shoes with detergent in the washing machine reduced the presence of bacteria by 90% or more.

If this doesn’t seem like enough, the best way to keep your house clean is to ensure you leave your shoes at the door whenever possible. 




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