Your house may be your space to protect, preserve, and clean, but when it comes to asking people to take their shoes off when they visit, many people still hesitate out of fear of being rude.
Regardless of your opinion on wearing shoes inside the house, brace yourself, because there’s no way to sugarcoat this:
A study conducted back in 2016 by researchers at the University of Arizona reported that the average shoe sole is actually covered with 421,000 bacteria—and 90 percent of those bacteria tend to transfer directly to a clean tile floor on first contact. On FIRST CONTACT, people. This is the stuff of nightmares.
Yeah, sure, you might argue that your floors are already teeming with thousands upon thousands of different kinds of bacteria (congrats, I guess) but that doesn’t mean we clean homeowners should be subjected to your outside filth.
Dr. Reynolds points out that all those germs aren’t a problem until you come into contact with the bottom of your shoe directly, or with the floor they’ve just walked across.
“Think about the cycle of transmission,” she says. “Do you have kids crawling around, or do you sit on the floor yourself?”
If the germs get on your hand, then you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you’ve just completed the cycle of transmission, and increased your chances of getting sick.
Wait, it gets worse. “Contaminants on the floor don’t always just stay there,” Dr. Reynolds says.
“Bacteria are like magnets—they stick to dust particles, and if a person or a pet stirs up dust on the floor, the bacteria-infused particles can be resuspended in the air, where you can ingest or inhale them and be exposed.”
Oh, and also, bacteria and viruses don’t die quickly. So the germs the plumber tracked through the kitchen last week might very well still be there today.She points out that each flooring surface has pros and cons when it comes to germs. “Carpeting is notoriously bad because it will trap contaminants over time, it’s harder to clean, and impossible to disinfect,”
To avoid this always disinfect your floor or buy a new pair of slippers for home use only.