The debate never ends: Is your home a shoeless one? Or is it a safe space for indoor shoe-wearers?
A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, titled “Here’s Why I’ll Be Keeping My Shoes On In Your Shoeless Home,” ignited the argument afresh. In it, the author states that, barring religious or cultural practices, asking guests to remove their shoes is insulting and unnecessary.
Her point is that a little dirt never hurt anyone, and people who request that guests remove shoes are being over-fastidious divas. There’s just one problem: According to a group of researchers responding to her piece, she’s wrong.
“It is best to leave your filth outside the door,” the environmental chemists wrote, bluntly, in an article for The Conversation.
The scientists are part of DustSafe, a collaboration between scientists in the United Kingdom, Australia and the U.S. that analyzed samples of household dust collected by citizens over a decade. What they found wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill E. coli poop particles — there were radioactive elements, toxic metals and drug-resistant pathogens being brought inside houses.
Those particles don’t just hang out on your floor, either. Everything gets kicked up into the air as people and pets move through the space. And then guess where it goes? Yup, into your lungs.
While the study didn’t specifically delve into the health effects of shoes-on versus shoes-off households, the researchers were very clear: Just take your darn shoes off.
“We all know prevention is far better than treatment and taking shoes off at the door is a basic and easy prevention activity for many of us,” they wrote.
Now, some folks might have a good reason for keeping their shoes on at home — they need the extra foot support, for example, and flat slippers or flip-flops hurt. (Or, in my case, because the floors are totally freezing in winter.)
Solution: Snag a pair of comfy kicks to wear inside, but never outside.
What people do in your home is up to you, of course. But the next time a friend asks you to remove shoes at their door, remember that they have a good reason for doing so.
[h/t: Scary Mommy]