Poop on your shoes. How gross! You definitely don’t want that inside your house, now would you? Especially with kids crawling and playing on the floor…

But believe it or not, you are unknowingly letting crap in, and the germs that come along with it, into your home every time you walk through the door with your shoes on. And it’s not just shoes that contain fecal matter on them but all other footwear you bring into the house – yes, even your favorite flip flops.

Here’s the science!

Flip Flop Killers

In 2009, the New York Daily News reported the findings of a study conducted by a team of researchers led by Dennis Kinney, who was the manager of the EMSL Analytical’s microbiology lab at the time.

The team tested the flip flops of two reporters who wore them for 4 days. The reporters took the sandals to trains and bars, wore them while riding the Cyclone, and even to the restroom at Coney Island’s subway station.

They found the favorite summer footwear contained more than 18,000 bacteria, with the pair that went to Coney Island, having about 13,900 bacteria more than the others. The researchers found the deadly Staphylococcus aureus on the flip flops, which could be deadly if it were to enter the bloodstream through a cut in your foot.

“There’s more bacteria in the city,” says Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr. of New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “There’s garbage and rat-doo. This city is strewn with wild rats… which are harbingers of all sorts of germs. The same is true with cockroaches. It is all potentially harmful.”

For sure, taking your $3.50 flip flops inside the house is not worth it at all.

Think Twice Before Taking Those Shoes Inside

In another study conducted by Charles P. Gerba, a microbiologist and professor in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona, it was found that shoes play a major role in bringing bacteria inside the house. Just how many you ask?

Just nine different species of bacteria that can cause infections in your stomach, eyes, and lungs. He also found shoes examined in the study contained fecal bacteria or germs from poop. 

“The common occurrence (96 percent) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors,” said Gerba. The samples in his study averaged more than 420,000 bacterial units per square centimeter sampled, with each unit capable of growing a new colony of germs.

“I’m starting to make myself paranoid,” he said. “It seems like we step in a lot more poop than I thought.”

But what’s even more concerning is how shoes become carriers of 90-99% of these bacteria when we take them inside the house, landing them on the living room floor and spreading them to other parts of the house. And guess who just picked up a toy from the floor and put it in their mouths? Yuck!

If you really think about it, we take our shoes everywhere: out in the streets, the bus and train, public restroom, park, the grocery and everywhere else. Whatever it’s picking up in these places, it carries back to our houses simply because we don’t take them off.

These studies validate previous research showing how shoes are important vehicles for spreading Salmonella into greenhouses.

If you need more reasons to remove your shoes, take it from Nikki of AtHomeWithNikki. In this video, she discusses four reasons for having a “no shoe” rule at home as well as how to deal with guests so they comply with your house rule.


So, are shoes still welcome inside your house? 

 Additional Images: James Blunt / Flickr



Juvy Garcia
Juvy Garcia
Juvy is a freelance proofreader, copy editor and writer. A nice little nook with a good book would be ideal. But concocting plans for her next drawing or DIY project will suffice while she's still busy babysitting two daughters. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Google+.