Should You Wear Shoes Indoors?

Sep 16, 2019 | Common Health Questions, General Health, Home Maintenance

Have you ever stopped to think what kind of nasties are on the soles of your shoes?

A few weeks ago I set up an online poll for one of my Bum Gun lists.

To be honest, the results didn’t surprise me too much.

Most of the residents in western countries said they didn’t usually enforce a ban on wearing shoes in the house.

However, Asian households are on a strict “no-shoes-no-way” standpoint.

I remember growing up in England we used to always take off our shoes before going inside during the cold winter months. Your shoes would often be soaking wet. Probably covered in at least some mud.

Perhaps in the summer months, this was less of an issue.

But after visiting Thailand in the early 1990s, I’ve never worn shoes indoors again.

If you think about what’s on the pavement or sidewalk, I think it’s obvious you wouldn’t want to stand in someone’s spit or dog doo-doo, and then walk over your brand new carpet.

What Nasties Can Be On Shoe Soles?

Bird poop or dog poop can be all over grass without us knowing.

Do you walk across any grassland to get home?

Those long blades of grass could hide all sorts of nasty things.

So What Do The Research Facts Say About Wearing Shoes Indoors?

Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona, has studied various locations for bacteria. And in one study tested the soles of shoes for bacteria, he found that they can track all kinds of gross stuff inside your home.

“If you wear shoes for more than a month, 93 percent will have faecal bacteria on the bottom of them,” he told us. Dr. Gerba credited things like pet waste on the ground outside and splashes from the toilet on public restroom floors for this contamination.

“We found E. coli, too,” he added. The bacteria is usually harmless but some strains can make you sick, causing diarrhea or urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses.

In another study, E. coli was found on 27% of the shoes tested. Plus seven other types of bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infection, and Serratia ficaria, which can cause respiratory infections. (source

“And another recent study from the University of Houston found that 39 percent of shoe soles sampled were contaminated with the bacteria C. diff (Clostridium difficile). This can be a public health threat that is now resistant to a number of antibiotics.” (source)


Do You Think I’m Being Over Picky?

Do you have a good quality carpet in your lounge?

Do you have pets that could roll around in bacteria left from someone’s shoe sole?

Do you ever like to lie on the floor watching the TV or reading a book?

Of course, it is easy to mop a tiled floor.

But it ain’t so easy to clean that beautiful new carpet you just bought.

Or perhaps you’ve just had your carpets professionally cleaned.

Why would you risk your carpet getting all messed up by a disrespectful friend?


It’s super easy to ask every guest to take off their shoes.

You can even provide slippers for guests.

Why not save your house from any sorts of dirt and bacteria by politely asking all guests to take off their shoes?

I think it is unnecessary and potentially dangerous, especially if you have young children or pets crawling around.

Ok, you might say you clean the soles with a good wipe on the mat as you enter the house.

But do you know for sure all the bacteria is off your shoes?

Basically, when anyone wears shoes in your house, they are bringing with them anything they stepped on that day.

Do You Love Cleaning Your House?

Stupid question you might think.

But I bet you love the feeling of a clean home.

Cleaning the house is always hard work unless you live in a tiny apartment I guess.

So I think it makes perfect sense to restrict anything that can make your house dirty…

And that’s the soles of all shoes worn outside my friend.


Final Thoughts On Wearing Shoes Indoors…

Of course, changing habits you’ve had all your life is not easy.

I should know. I’ve talked to thousands of people over the last few years about their bathroom hygiene habits…

And for most people who have never visited Asia, the thought of using water to clean their intimate areas after using the toilet is a completely strange concept.

One American lady even said it was “Disgusting”!!

Ummdisgusting to clean your body after a messy poop?

Ok, ok, I know I won’t be able to free everyone from nasty toilet paper suffering…

But I hope you’ll take off your shoes when you enter someone else’s home.

That’s all I got for you today…

Greg Noland

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