In Defense Of A No-Shoe House

If you grew up with Asian parents you probably understand the concept of a no-shoe house. If you grew up, like me, with non-Asian parents, the idea is less instinctual. Having not lived in a home where the idea of walking across the kitchen in shoes was blaspheme, I've not always been so sensitive to the no-shoe house rule. I actually thought the no-shoe rule was annoying: it messes up your outfit, and you can't even see any dirt- so what's the big deal? 

Obviously one wouldn't walk around in a pair of muddy or poop smeared shoes in a house- but that's just it! It turns out that your shoes do have poop on them. You just can't see it, and your shoes are spreading it all over your house.

In 2008 Dr. Charles Gerba a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona and Rockport conducted a study that attempted to figure out just how dirty our shoes are. 

The answer was very, very dirty. Samples collected from the outside of shoes included bacteria that's present in poop, most likely contracted from public restrooms or animal feces on the street. 

"Some of the bacteria found on the shoes included: Escherichia coli, known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds."

If that doesn't sound gross and disgusting, think about how often you clean your house. 90% to 99% of bacteria from the shoes studied transferred to uncontaminated tiles. So unless you clean your floors and carpets daily with antibacterial cleaners, you're walking around in a really disgusting, poop-smeared house. 

So let's make the no shoe house a universal thing- it's just a lot less gross.