Take Your Shoes off at the Door (please!)

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As a society, we make a big deal out of washing our hands because of all the things they touch, besides our food and ourselves.

Yet once people know they’re expected to take their shoes off at the door of my place, they treat me with kid gloves or a roll of the eyes, as if I’m overreacting.

What’s sort of funny even is that my mom used to make us take our shoes off at the door, but she gave up on that at some point and now is one of those people whose feet I sometimes cringe at seeing as she walks around with her cute little shoes still on.

Several times, I’ve even tried to relax my uneasiness about it and told people to keep their shoes on when they’re only in for a minute. I get that it can be a hassle.

But in response to my efforts, I’ve often been told things like, “No, it’s OK. I know how you are about that…” as if I’m the crazy one for not wanting whatever gunk, grime and chemicals their shoes have encountered during their lifetime trekked all through my nice clean carpet.

So we should wash our hands because of where they’ve been all day, but keep our shoes on after they’ve been through streets, parking lots, chemical-laden lawns and malls?

I feel like I’m the rational one in this case and those people who think it’s fine to keep their shoes on inside should be the ones spoken to in that kid-friendly tone like they’re wild beasts who we don’t want to upset.

Little shoes, lots of germs

When I walk into other people’s homes, they’ll often remark that it’s OK to keep my shoes on because their floors need to be cleaned anyway, or the carpet already needs to be replaced. Ummm…OK?

While I always want my floors to stay as pretty as when they were first installed, I’m more disgusted at the thought of what we can’t see that’s seeping into them and being spread all over. I lie on my floors. I walk barefoot on them. I don’t want them to be contaminated. Home should be a sanctuary!

As further proof that I’m not crazy, I found this TreeHugger article to back me up.

It says that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that people bring lawn pesticides into their homes on their shoes and that those shoes are a major source of pesticide exposures, especially for young children who “spend a lot of time on the floor and who put dirty fingers, dust, and toys in their mouths.”

According to AChildGrows.com, the EPA’s “Door Mat Study” found that mats in “no shoes homes” had 60 percent less lead dust and chemicals in them than the mats in homes where shoes were allowed. There are also less allergens and bacteria tracked into the homes.

An EPA study also showed that wearing shoes indoors was a larger source of children’s pesticide exposures than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables. Huh.

So we’ve got general grossness, stains and chemicals for the argument against wearing shoes in the house. Here’s another: comfort. One woman blogged that hearing her husband’s shoes in the house made her think of work, not the relaxation of being at home.

In conclusion, how about no shoes in the house? Kick ’em off at the door and relax, and heck, why not wash your hands too.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lianne says:

    I can’t agree more with you. I was brought up to always remove my shoes at the door both at home and when visiting others. I still practice this and always ask when when i visit friends etc if i should remove my shoes. Growing up my mother always took the families slippers with us when we visited family and friends so we could change into them when we arrived. Yes the downside to having people take off their shoes is the unpleasant possibility of having smelly feet in the but, but this is easily solved by wearing slippers.

    1. jdgutc says:

      Hi Lianne,
      Thanks so much for the comment and reading. It’s good to know I’m not alone! The slippers are a great idea. I often bring socks to other people’s houses if I’d have to be barefoot too. Slippers and socks can be unflattering with a nice outfit, but I just think it’s worth the sacrifice.

  2. Matthew C says:

    You should never be afraid to insist on visitors removing their shoes. It’s not something difficult for most people.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject. I have an whole blog about removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

    1. jdgutc says:

      Thanks for reading and for leaving the comment Matthew! I’ll definitely check out your blog more. I like that you’re addressing the difference in cultures even.

  3. Leslie Inman says:

    Yes, you are the rational one! Maybe we are too much of a germ conscious society, but we are not talking about healthy brown organic garden dirt and earthworms. The bottom of the shoe has been exposed to city streets and public bathrooms. It is more of a “gross, eeeww” factor for me . Don’t the people who love to keep their shoes on have an imagination? It doesn’t take much of an imagination to picture the nastiness of the bottom of a shoe. That certainly is one area of the Muslim culture that I can wholeheartedly understand– in Muslim culture nothing is more insulting than to show the bottom of your shoe to someone. I lived in Japan for 4 years and they of course are famous for their understanding of the dirtiness of street shoes. They have such clear cut cultural rules about inside shoes and outside shoes. Most of my friends understand my no shoe rule, but my husband’s more conservative business friends make me feel very guilty for asking them to remove their shoes. It has been very hard sometimes. But I am sticking to my guns and hoping that everyone else will see the light one day. Thank you so much for sharing your no shoes house experience! Leslie Inman Atlanta GA

  4. LIMO says:

    I agree with the fact it is more comfortable and would not be disturbing at all
    it is cleaner too.

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