Concerns about germs on floors prompts more people to adopt ‘shoes off’ rule

23rd of February 2024
Concerns about germs on floors prompts more people to adopt ‘shoes off’ rule

Guests attending dinner gatherings and house parties are increasingly being asked to leave their shoes at the door.

A heightened awareness of germs following the pandemic is thought to be one of the reasons behind the trend. Young people in particular are adopting the 'shoes off' rule as they follow the lead of Asian and Scandinavian cultures.

Opinion is divided about the need for taking off one's shoes in the house, however.
A study carried out at the University of Arizona by professor of microbiology Charles Gerba revealed that 95 per cent of shoes harboured faecal bacteria while a third showed traces of E coli.

In a separate study by professor of earth sciences at Indiana University Gabriel Filippelli, contaminants tracked into the home were found to include lawn chemicals, lead and other heavy metals originating from the soil plus microscopic balls of combustible material from a car's tailpipe. And a 2022 study revealed that 17.8 per cent of healthcare workers in a Swiss tertiary care centre had Clostridioides difficile on the soles of their shoes.

However, professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University School of Medicine Philip Tierno Jr believes the probability of contracting an infection from wearing shoes inside is very low.

"Infection does not occur just because you're exposed to a large number of germs - they have to enter your body through a very specific set of circumstances and beat a slew of bodily protections," he said. "And the vast majority of what you're bringing in isn't pathogenic."



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