My family thinks I'm nuts with my germaphobe "no shoe policy" in the house. Graciously, though, my mother has conceded and has purchased a pair of nice slipper to wear when she visits. I'm not sporting a new fashionable phobia, I swear. I mean, I'm not that nuts, really, and it's a loose policy at that. I don't accost folks at the door if they fail to remove their shoes. But, seriously, would you put your bare hand on the floor of a public restroom and then stick it in your mouth...I didn't think so. Nor do I want my near-crawling baby to be sticking her hands in her mouth after shoes have tracked in God only knows from outside. Here, see, I'm not crazy...
Tip 22: Leave the Dirt at the Door – Remove your shoes – by Laura Dern
In many cultures it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering a home for spiritual or practical reasons. And as a mom, of course I want a clean home. But as I did more research, I learned that great way to reduce your exposure to lead dust, pesticides, and other pollutants in the home was to invest in a good quality doormat. The professional cleaning industry estimates that we track 85% of the dirt in our homes in from the outside on our shoes or paws of pets. And in a recent warning about lead exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically recommends that shoes remain outside the house. According to a report called the Door Mat Study, lead-contaminated soil from the outside causes almost all the lead dust inside homes, and it notes that wiping shoes on a mat and removing them at the door cuts lead dust by 60 percent. The study explains that limiting the amount of dust and track-in may also help reduce exposure to lawn and garden pesticides, wood smoke and industrial toxins, mutagens, dust mites, and allergens. Wiping our shoes off as we enter the home reduces the amount of contaminated dirt tracked in. Large mats, that cover two or three strides, will ensure that even those that refuse to wipe will leave most of the dirt clinging to their shoes on the mat rather than your carpet. The BEST solution is to take off your shoes as you enter your home. It is a good excuse to buy some great socks or slippers. And your flooring will stay clean as well as keep dirt and potential toxic threats from getting into carpets. If going shoeless is not acceptable to family members, suggest that they wear house shoes (that don't go outside), slippers or socks. And walking around in soft slippers, sock, or barefoot does another wonderful thing – it helps us relax and unwind.