There’s a place and a time to wear shoes, especially when it comes to keeping your home neat and clean and healthy.
In the life of a homemaker, there are differing fronts as to the argument of whether or not shoes should be worn in the house.
As for me, I’m an advocate of going barefoot as much as possible and as long as possible. Although here in Wisconsin, there’s a time and place to go barefoot and a time to wear shoes–indoors, as well as outdoors.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of wearing shoes–indoors and outdoors.
The Science Behind Not Wearing Shoes in the House
Researchers have found that shoes can carry as much as 421,000 units of bacteria, including E. coli–you know the stuff that gives you diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and even meningitis.
Shoes Track in More Than You Think (Video)
Worse still, if folks who wear their shoes and put them on an ottoman, coffee table or even stretch out on a couch, well, you can see how that can be problematic.
There are some real hidden dangers that your shoes might be tracking into your home. It might be time to rethink wearing shoes indoors.
Add to this, infants and children who crawl or play on the floor or pull up on coffee tables–have a greater chance of coming into contact with the tracked in bacteria and germs. This is definitely not a great scenario for parents wanting to keep their toddlers or kids healthy.
A Housekeeping Dilemma
Besides the bacteria that is brought into the home, so is dirt and debris that gets trapped in the tread of your shoes.
But what is more aggravating, from a housekeeping perspective, is that this stuff can be tracked from the entryway to other rooms around your house–making more work for you to clean these areas.
But dirt isn’t the only thing that could damage your flooring. High heels and abrasive soles of shoes have been known to damage high glossed surfaces like wood, tile and carpet.
That’s why if you visit a model home, you might be given shoe protectors, like they wear in operating rooms, to protect these surfaces from scratches or abrasions.
How to Encourage No Shoes in the House
One of the easiest ways encourage no shoes in the house is to place a small throw rug by every doorway of your home. This becomes a non-verbal sign that says to family and friends that you’d prefer them to leave their shoes and boots there.
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It’s also a good idea, when the weather gets cold, to rethink your entryways and bring out the heavy rugs to catch the damp and sludge. That way, you can safely and happily walk barefoot without a hint of dirt, grime or germs.
Even so, you don’t have to be shy about requesting no shoes in the house if you really want folks to leave them at the door. But from an etiquette point of view, it’s best if you let them know ahead of time, or at the very least offer a pair of slippers or house shoes to wear instead.
In fact, when I’m a guest at someone’s house, I will usually ask my host/hostess if they prefer me to take my shoes off. It’s just a common courtesy on my part and very much appreciated, as I’ve heard countless times.
When are Shoes Appropriate Indoors
That being said, not everyone will or can abide by the “no shoe rule”–and to be honest, even I have been known to break it now and again.
Here are some are times when shoes or slippers are a must indoors.
- When you need extra support and help with balance.
- When you harbor foot fungus or infection.
- When surfaces are very slippery or uneven.
- When the area you are traveling into is unclean.
- When broken glass, metal fragments, etc. might cut into feet.
- When you feel uncomfortable about removing your shoes.
- When workmen need to repair stuff in your home.
- When moving heavy objects from one place to another.
So the long and short of this quandary is this: If you are like me and prefer a shoeless home, encourage family and friends to leave their shoes at the door. If a guest is uncomfortable about doing so, then by all means, give in out of respect to your guest.
RELATED: How to Declutter after Summer
But what about outdoors? Do you have to always wear shoes? Consider this:
When to Wear Shoes Outdoors
I have to admit there’s something wonderful in feeling the soft blades of grass beneath my feet during summer or hearing the crunch of frosted grass blades. It’s almost as much fun as stomping packing bubblewrap.
But did you know that there are some benefits to walking barefoot? There are. Here’s why:
Benefits of Walking Barefoot (Video)
Besides increased balance and core strength, you also encourage healthy motion in your foot and ankle joints.
When to Wear Your Shoes Outdoors
But keep in mind that there times when hazards are present, making shoeless outings a danger to your health.
Here are just some reasons why you (and your family members) might want to wear your shoes outdoors:
- rough or uneven surfaces
- stinging insects like fire ants, ground wasps, bees
- hidden hazards like glass or other sharp objects
- hot or cold surfaces
- harmful germs and bacteria–especially if you have pets or livestock
- pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals present
As you can see, going barefoot isn’t a panacea but when you can go sans shoes, it’s fun indeed.
Even so, seasonal climatic changes will eventually herald shoe wearing, especially when the frost starts to kick in. And, for those of us located in the midwest or northern climes, it’s also a reminder that it’ll be seven more months or so before we will be able to trek outdoors and be able to wiggle our toes in the verdant grass.
Just be sure, when you’re ready to come indoors, you wipe or clean your bare feet completely before tracking dirt, grime or germs into the house–just saying.