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TIPS & ADVICE

Kick Off Your Shoes at the Door for a Cleaner Home

Leave dirt, bacteria and toxic residue outside.

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boots on a hard wood floor near a floor mat
Photo: Mark Wragg / Istock

By Selene Aparicio

On a normal day you might walk on a grungy sidewalk, take your dog to the park, step on an icky piece of gum and maybe visit a public restroom. No matter your daily activities, everyday when you go home, the grime and dirt from these different places come in through the door with you on the bottom of your shoes. This could easily be prevented by initiating a "shoes-off" policy in your home.

The soles of your shoes are not only carrying dirt and small rocks, but they are also responsible for bringing in pesticides, lead and other pollutants from lawns, roads and other surfaces that can contaminate your indoor air.

According to a study conducted by Rockport shoe company and the University of Arizona, the outside of a regular pair of shoes, after 14 days wear, accommodates a whole host of bacteria, including E. coli. By taking off your shoes at the door regularly, 70% of the dirt that carries those germs and toxins can be avoided.

Of course, a "shoes-off" policy implies a messy pile of shoes near the door or the extra effort of putting your shoes away the minute you get home. Instead, consider installing a shoe rack near the door and leaving a pair of slippers that you can wear around the house to avoid cold feet.

There are many up-sides to making your home a "shoes-off" zone: Reducing your indoor air pollution and a cleaner home top the list. You can also make it a mental exercise, leaving your daily problems and stress at the door, alongside your shoes.

Curious about actually cleaning those soiled shoes? Good Housekeeping has tips for simple shoe-cleaning solutions you can make at home.


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