We all have them... Those friends and relations who make us ditch our heels at the door, no matter how integral they may be to our carefully cultivated ensemble. Maybe we ARE those friends and relations. If so, we can stop feeling guilty about it and give ourselves a pat on the back. However dirty the looks exchanged behind our backs may be, they're nothing compared to the dirt on those discarded shoes.
That's right: according to scientists, wearing shoes inside the house is one of the dirtiest habits you could have, and could even make you sick. A study by the University of Arizona has confirmed that the average pair of shoes hosts up to 421,000 bacteria, from 9 different strains. These include E.coli, which often causes diarrhoea and tummy troubles, Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can trigger urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, which causes respiratory infections.
"We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E. coli," Dr. Kelly Reynolds told Metro. "The unique thing about the shoe environment is that other things you walk on like leaves and debris can serve as food for the bacteria and help them grow."
More than 90% of the bacteria we pick up on our footwear transfers to a previously uncontaminated living space when we wear our shoes inside, according to scientists. Once inside, it can live for days.
Sadly, that's not the only thing we have to worry about. According to another study by Baylor University, we also bring carcinogenic toxins from asphalt roads sealed with tar into our homes on our shoes, which can then settle as house dust.
The good news is that up to 99% of these nasties can be eliminated by washing our shoes in detergent. Alternatively, of course, you could just leave them at the door...