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Published on Mar 28, 2022
Have you ever thought about what you're dragging in on the bottom of your shoes when you get home after a long day?
It may be the last thing on your mind.
De-shoeing at the door, however, has major benefits for both your home and your health.
Most people already know that the primary benefit of taking footwear off at the front door is to avoid tracking dirt and contaminants into your home, but there is plenty more to it.
The bottoms of your shoes are responsible for bringing in pollutants such as dirt, oil, a host of bacteria, as well as pet hair and dander.
You certainly won't miss a footprint of mud on your dining room carpet, but much of what you bring in from the outside world can't be seen, to begin with. Over time, this can affect the cleanliness and health of your carpet.
This equates to more time spent vacuuming and cleaning floors, while also affecting the life of your carpet.
If you have already implemented a shoes-off policy in your home, you may be surprised to learn that bare feet aren't best for your floors. Here's why. Bare feet release body oils into the carpet, which more easily attracts dirt and bacteria. Wear socks, house shoes or slippers if you can.
It isn't just about carpet. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of hard floors in living spaces, but a shoes-off policy is just as important. You need to protect your tiles, vinyl or timber from scratches caused by any debris your shoes bring inside and bacteria build-up.
A University of Arizona study on the bacteria on the bottom of shoes found that they can track a myriad of germs into your home. Dr Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology and Environmental Sciences at the university told TODAY Home that results found that if you wear shoes for more than a month, 93% will have fecal bacteria on the bottom of them.
Gerba noted that this contamination was likely caused by things like pet waste on the ground outside and public restroom floors. He said during the interview...
"Shoes make microorganisms fairly mobile, and you're tracking that all around (the house),"
If you have a young family or people with allergies at home, limiting germs and pollen that can be brought in on the bottom of your shoes in the home is paramount.
The design of your shoes creates ideal places for bacteria to linger, which is why your shoes' home should be by the door, not on your carpet.
Interestingly, the 2021 Australia Talks Survey revealed that most Australians did not expect guests to take off their shoes before entering their home (29% agree, 55% disagree).
If you're one of that 29%, there are a few things you can do to ensure guests are leaving their footwear out front.
Have a shoe rack near the door, with a few pairs already stored. A considerate guest will get the hint.
A well-placed doormat with a polite request to remove shoes is a great idea. Here are some simple and quirky doormat options you can pick up from Zazzle.
Just ask. People won't mind; if anything, they'll appreciate that it means they don't have to ask you.
A shoes-off policy will make your floors and carpet so much easier to clean. Here's how to get everyone on board.
A shoe rack by the door can be a stylish, yet practical way to keep your home organised. Make a set of rules for everyone to follow to ensure the rack doesn't become an eyesore (because it's one of the first things people will see when they come over). At my house, for example, we have a shoe limit for everyone – no more than 3 pairs each on the rack at one time...
Leave slippers or socks near the door as a reminder to slip into something more comfortable.
If taking shoes off isn't an option, invest in a good quality abrasive mat for the door and ensure everyone is wiping their shoes a couple of times before coming in.
If you need to wear shoes for support or safety, get some cozy indoor shoes to pop on when you get home.