You probably have at least one friend who insists you never set foot inside her home with your shoes on, even if that that friend is your mother. We all do! But as it turns out, that friend was right all along — and not just about protecting her precious carpets from your mud tracks.
According to an April 2017 study led by Kevin Garey, PharmD, MS, FASHP, a professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Houston, we should absolutely be leaving our shoes at the front door, after all.
In the study, researchers found that the soles of our shoes are basically one of the dirtiest places around, and they carry all kinds of bad bacteria. And the one we should be most worried about — a bacteria called Clostridium difficile, which can lead to some nasty infections with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to potentially fatal inflammation — is actually present on 26.4 percent of shoe soles. Ew.
The study found that the best way to keep a clean and hygienic house is to leave your shoes at the front door so the bacteria doesn't spread as you walk around.
And if you're thinking that as long as you scrape your shoes on the mat before you walk inside, you'll be fine, don't be so hasty: "You have to think of the person who wiped their feet before," Dr. Garey said. "You might be picking [up] stuff they left behind."
You've been warned.