Shoes on or off? When people come over and they ask that question, I don’t know what to say. All kinds of personal questions run rapidly through my brain. Do you have a foot fungus? Do your socks have a hole in them? Are you in desperate need of a pedicure? Do you have a toenail half hanging off?
But I am too much of a chicken to just come out and ask these questions, so I find myself saying the same thing—‘whatever you’re comfortable with.’ But the honest truth is I prefer shoes were not worn in my house, ever. Not just because of the awkward situations mentioned above, but because shoes track all manner of dirt, bacteria, and fecal matter into the home. (I know I said last week that I wasn’t going to mention feces anymore, but that was last week. This is this week, and yes, we are talking about feces again.)
If you wear your shoes for more than a month, 93 percent will have fecal matter on the bottom of them. How? Well, do you use a public toilet at work? Every time you flush, particle of human waste shoots up to six feet in the air and then settles on surface. That means you regularly step in fecal microbes.
Do you walk on sidewalks or in the street? That means animal waste has joined the fecal matter medley on the bottom of your shoes, not to mention other strains of bacteria, including E.coli. Think about it, if you have children crawling around the house, do you want them exposed to what you, your pets, or your guests track in?
Dirt and sand is also an issue. Sand is made up of tiny shards of glass that tear your carpet fibers, seriously compromising its lifespan. Dirt and sand can also make microscopic cuts in your hardwood floors, this damages the finish and creates areas where bacteria can collect.
So if you are like me and struggling with making your home a shoe-free zone, what should you do? Here are some ideas.
Give them a sign: Put a sign up at the entrance of your home, leaving no doubt in your guests’ mind what is expected. I looked on Pinterest for some ideas of how to say it politely. He are a couple of examples:
Stop dirt at the door: If you don’t like the idea of making a shoes-off policy, I recommend putting an antimicrobial doormat outside the front door in addition to an area rug just inside. Having your friends and family wipe their feet before coming in the home will greatly reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria tracked inside.
Stop dirt at the doggie door: There are also doggie doormats for our four-legged bacteria trackers. But let’s face it, cats and dogs normally don’t wipe their feet. So keep a damp cloth near the door your pet uses so you will be inclined to wipe their paws before they come in. Don’t forget to brush them regularly and vacuum—the floors and their favorite chair—often.
Become a clean freak: Regardless of your shoe policy preference, the best way to keep dirt and bacteria at bay is to regularly clean and disinfect the home. This is fecal matter/bacteria-busting 101. No matter what you decide—shoes on or off—make sure you vacuum, mop, dust, wipe, and disinfect regularly. This is the best defense against whatever comes into the house.
I personally am going to Nest Pretty and choose to do all of the above. In addition to the sign, the doormats, and cleaning regularly, I was thinking of leaving a basket of socks at the front door too when guests come over. People may be more inclined to get comfy if I offer them a little piggy cover up.
What do you do to keep your house shoe-free? Please share your ideas, I would love to hear them.
Become a kindred Nester