If you are still wearing shoes inside your house, it's about time you give up that seriously vile habit
After many years in Ireland, I am pretty much as culturally assimilated as one can get at this stage.
I get the cultural Father Ted references. I semi-watch Tubridy on Friday nights, and I answer a lot of things with "Ah, sure it's grand." But, there are still a few areas where I completely retain my Scandinavian-ness. Like; I don't get why you would put milk into tea. I'm amazed there are still schools in existence that segregate girls and boys (in 2020!) and I cannot for the life of me understand what would possess people to wear shoes inside their homes.
And not just now in these coronavirus times. In freaking general. It's disgusting. You need to give it up.
Just think about it. Shoes. That you have just walked around the city streets in. Where dogs do their business and drunk people puke on the weekends. Shoes that have just stepped in spit and dirt and possibly even poop and blood and spilt food and all sorts. And then you walk inside, to where you on the weekends patter around in your bare feet. Where your children play and where your baby crawls around on the floor. Yuck.
And one thing is if you "only" wear your shoes downstairs, but I have been in homes here where people actually wear their shoes all the way up to their bedrooms. Stepping all that lovely grime and bacteria and dirt deep into the carpets. Lovely. Oh; and you know the restaurant toilet you popped into when you were out for lunch? Chances are VAST that the floor in there was covered in fecal particles. That are now in your carpet. Sounds nice?
In Scandinavia, NO ONE goes into their home (or someone else's home) with shoes on. It is considered seriously gross and also rude. And if you think I am being all dramatic and crazy about this (like, NO ONE comes into my house with shoes on – the shoe racks are over there, thank you very much!), don't worry, there is plenty of science available to back up the fact that shoes in the house is all sorts of disgusting.
In the US, a study was recently performed at the University of Arizona, where microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba handed ten people a pair of brand new shoes and asked them to use the shoes for two weeks before having them tested for bacteria. What he wanted to find out, was what types of microorganisms are actually transported by footwear.
The results – shocker – were all sorts of disturbing. After the 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. Let me repeat that: Deadly. E.Coli. Bacteria.
And it didn't end there. 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. Have children who constantly get coughs and colds? How about losing the shoes, no?
This is what Gerba had to say of his findings:
“The common occurrence (96 percent) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with faecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal faecal material outdoors,” said Gerba. In other words: Your shoes are full of OTHER PEOPLE'S POOP. How lovely.
“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,” explains the professor.
Even more disturbing to mums of little ones – 90 to 99% of bacteria found on the exterior of the shoes was transmitted to hard tile and carpet. Oh, and it is not over yet: "Any germs picked up by bare feet, knees and hands will then be transported to the crib at naptime." Niiiice.
And if you are not convinced yet (how can you NOT be?!), here are two more really good reasons why you need to ditch the shoes inside:
Toxins: A recent study by Batelle Memorial Institute found that toxins from treating your lawn can easily be tracked into the house, whilst another study from Baylor University found that people who live near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins. The toxins, they found, settled inside the house as dust particles. Those particles can be brought in on your shoes.
Dirt: Dirt isn't it itself harmful, of course, but keeping it to a minimum is a good idea, according to experts, especially if you have a baby or toddler who plays on the floor frequently. Children will often put their hands in their mouths, or put toys, that have been on the floor, in their mouths, and so every bit of dirt on the floor might potentially end up in your child.
Now, if only there was a simple way of eliminating all this grossness.... Oh, I know; how about LEAVING YOUR SHOES BY THE DOOR?!
And if you aren’t comfortable asking your babysitter or guests or mother-in-law to walk around in their bare feet or socks, there are many cute house slippers you can buy and keep in a basket beside your door. Bonus? You will also have to mop your floors less frequently, so it's a win-win.
Now; do YOU still wear shoes inside? And would you think twice about it having read some of these facts? Join in the conversation with us on Twitter at @Herfamilydotie
(Feature image via The Fox and She/Instagram)