If you could do one simple thing and have a much cleaner house, carpets that look like new, and a reduction in the number of chemicals and bacteria in your home, would you do it? You might be surprised to find out that you can just by removing your shoes before coming into the house.
More and more Americans are making a habit of removing shoes before entering their home. It used to be a custom more widely observed in Asia, but as Asian decorating and customs grab hold in America, we’re beginning to see more and more households ban shoes upon entering the home here in America.
In the late ‘80’s, I lived on a Johnston Atoll, a small island about a thousand miles southwest of Honolulu. Living there and traveling through Hawaii on a fairly regular basis, it became second nature for me to remove my shoes before entering someone’s home.
It only took one or two very nasty Hawaiian scowls before I learned to leave my shoes at the door. Over time I began to notice how clean the floors were in the home. Walking in bare feet or socks, my soles were never dirty. And, I noticed that the carpets also looked like new.
Once I became a homeowner, I adopted the custom of removing shoes before entering the house. If you’ve just moved into a new home, installed new carpet, or if you’re just tired of always cleaning the floors, consider adopting the habit of leaving shoes by the entrances to your home before coming in.
More than just a nicety or custom, removing shoes before entering a home makes good sense. After walking into public restrooms, city streets, yards where there are animals, and so on, bacteria and filth is not only carried into the home on the soles of shoes, but that same dirt and grime gets trapped in carpets.
If you still aren’t convinced this habit is for your household, consider these EPA findings. In 1991 the EPA conducted a study called the “Door Mat Study” that measured the amount of lead dust in homes.
The study found that in homes where there was a doormat at the entrance and where shoes weren’t worn, there was a marked reduction (about 60%) of lead dust and other chemicals in the home. Not only that, but in homes where shoes are removed, there was a reduction in allergens and bacteria being tracked into the house.
One carpet manufacturer’s website also explains that when you wear dirty shoes in your home, the carpet acts like a “cleaner” for the shoes, scraping off debris and dirt from the shoe. Over time, the carpet becomes saturated by the debris and a stain begins to spread into a “lane.”
That’s why walking in one area of a carpet, a stain can become much larger over time. Essentially, the carpet has absorbed so much dirt that it’s gone past the point of saturation and spread out.
If that still doesn’t convince you, then think about how much longer and nicer your carpets and floors will stay and how much easier it will be to clean if shoes aren’t permitted in the house. When you look at it this way, it’s not hard to remove your shoes before entering.
What else can you do to keep floors and carpets clean?
To keep floors clean and carpets looking newer longer, don’t wear shoes in the house. Have carpets steam cleaned once or twice a year, and avoid using carpet cleaners that use surfactants (soap). Even some professional carpet services use soap-based cleaners. Avoid these because these products will attract more dirt and make carpets dirtier faster.
Instead, choose carpet cleaning products recommended by the Carpet and Rug Institute (www.carpet-rug.org). Be sure to vacuum once or twice a week, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or vacuum bag to trap lead dust and other chemicals or allergens. Don’t forget to put good quality door mats by every entrance to help trap dirt and debris outside.
With these tips and a no shoe policy, your carpets and floors will look better than ever, and you might just find that you buy fewer socks, too!