Is Shoe-Free Really Better?
One of the questions we are frequently asked at Island Prep is why our facilities are shoe-free. The short answer is simply because it helps create a cleaner environment for children of all ages. Now I know you may be thinking, “Um, have you SMELLED my child’s feet?? There is no way they are cleaner than their shoes!” So with that in mind, as well as a general ‘ew, feet’ sentiment, I wanted to provide some hard evidence to support this decision.
A number of years ago, The University of Arizona published a study that measured the number of bacteria found on shoes, both outside and inside. The number found on the inside? 2,887. The number on the outside? 421,000. So, you know, a small difference. There was everything from E. coli to pneumonia, plus fecal matter from animals as well as humans. There’s poop on your shoes, people.
The study also measured how much of this bacteria can actually be transferred from a shoe to other surfaces. The conclusion was 90 to 99% of the bacteria could end up on your floors or other areas. (Anyone ever have a baby put a shoe in their mouth? Yep, me too.)
In addition to the University of Arizona’s, other studies have shown some concerning data as well. One found C. diff on 39% of shoe bottoms. Another study by Battelle Memorial Institute demonstrated that pesticides and other chemicals applied to the lawn can be tracked in for up to a week after application. (Not applying them to your lawn in the first place is a conversation for another time, I know.)
Ew, Shoes. Now What?
Long story short, shoes are dirty! I mean, that is the reason we wear them in the first place, right? To protect our feet from all the things. Now, if you want to go shoe-free in your home, here are a couple ideas to get you going:
- Start a new habit of taking your shoes off when you walk in, and take them right to the closet. Then wash your hands!
- Create an area by the front door with a bin or shelves for shoes, and keep some cozy slippers or flip flops there that you only wear inside. (I am definitely guilty of wearing my slippers outside on occasion, yikes!)
- Wash shoes regularly. This won’t apply to all shoes, but athletic shoes and certainly most children’s shoes can be machine washed.
Now we want to hear from you! Do you have a shoe-free home? Do you have any tips or tricks to get the family on board? Pop over to Instagram or Facebook @islandprep and tell us about it!
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