Taking off your shoes before you enter your home is the public health equivalent of washing your hands. It's free, it couldn't be easier, and yet not many of us do it. Dirt isn't the only thing tracked into homes by shoes. Think about the residues of outdoor pollutants that might be on your soles: pesticides, automobile exhaust, lead, allergens, plus other carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. These all pose significant risk to all family members and can reach hazardous levels with repeated treading, especially in rugs and carpets. Children and pets are especially vulnerable because they’re in closer contact with the floor than most adults.
By removing your shoes, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of dirt and residues we all track inside. By some estimates, 85 percent of household dirt is carried in on clothing, shoes, and pet paws.
Adopting a shoes-off policy also means you won’t be as tempted to reach for a harsh cleaner, and you’ll save both time and energy vacuuming less often.
Simply take your shoes off near where you enter your home. Invest in cute slippers or socks to motivate you.
If you have trouble remembering, or getting guests to do so, a gentle reminder sign can do the trick. This can be awkward, but once you explain why and mention that your kids are crawling around on the floor, most people are very understanding.
Keep slip-on booties on hand for maintenance and construction workers who prefer to keep shoes on; basement and demolition dust can be quite hazardous.