The very gross reason you should never wear shoes indoors

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  • *orders slippers pronto*

    Hands up who traipses into the house in the evening, heading to the kitchen to put your groceries in the fridge, or to the bedroom to drop of your bag, perhaps chatting to flatmates/other half in the lounge on the way – all the while wearing shoes?

    Yep, many of us actually don’t take our shoes off as soon as we open the door, and we really, really should. Because as you might have guessed, they are chock full of bacteria (and while we’re on the subject, you might want to avoid supermarket trolleys and gym equipment too).

    When you think about it, you’re walking all day around and on the street, where dogs do their business, people throw away gum, cigarette butts and so on.

    Bacteria on shoes

    A study by the University of Arizona found that there is on average 421,000 bacteria on your shoes, with nine different strains of bacteria. These include E coli, which can cause intestinal infections, diarrhoea and even meningitis in certain cases, Serratia ficaria, which causes respiratory infections, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infections.

    Now obviously, you’ll only get these in extreme cases, but it makes you shudder, doesn’t it?

    Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., says, ‘We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E coli. The unique thing about the shoe environment is that other things you walk on like leaves and debris, can serve as food for the bacteria and help them grow.’

    Toxins on shoes

    And in case that wasn’t enough to make your skin crawl, you have to worry about toxins too. Another study by Baylor University found that toxins from asphalt roads sealed with col tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins. Said toxins settle as dust particles, which can attach themselves to your shoes.

    Dr Reynolds says, ‘Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.’

    Oh, and then there’s the obvious factor of dirt, which is always a pain to clean off carpet, right?

    The moral of the story is we are going to stock up on some decent slippers, stat.


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