In many parts of Asia, no-one would think about tramping around their home – or someone else’s for that matter – with their shoes on. You just need to take a walk down a slippery Bangkok street or dodge phlegm-oysters in Chongqing to understand why slippers are the norm indoors. Some people even have little plastic covers to slip over your feet to save honoured guests the hassle of removing their shoes.
No matter how clean our streets look in our corner of civilisation, there are a whole lot good reasons to leave the outdoors at the door. Naturopath and author of Healthy Home Healthy Family, Nicole Bijlsma, lists removing your shoes as the first of seven steps you can take to dramatically reduce the number of toxins in your home.
It may seem a hassle, but taking off your shoes quickly becomes a habit. We have a shoe rack at the front door and a selection of old thongs and shoes that have been delegated to garden wear at the back door. I tend to run in and out of the house fifty million times a day and barely break stride as I slip in and out of my shoes.
Here are six reasons to leave your shoes at the door:
Dust: According to Nicole, removing your shoes can reduce dust in your home by at least 50 percent.
Grime: Professional home cleaners estimate that a whopping 85 percent of grime on the floors and carpet is tracked in on the soles of your shoes and the paws of pets. One of the major benefits of not allowing shoes in the house is that you don’t need to clean the floors as often, woohoo!
Lead: The EPA recommends taking shoes off to reduce the occurrence of lead in homes. Lead is found in the soil in many areas, especially around the perimeters of older homes where lead-paint chips have fallen to the ground and deteriorated. Very small amounts of lead can cause significant health problems, especially to small children.
Pesticides: Studies have shown that pesticide residue can cling to shoes for up to a week after application. Even if you don’t spray your lawn, public areas and parks are likely to be treated.
Allergens: If you suffer allergies, you probably already know that by leaving your shoes on, you’re bringing the problem inside!
Peace: Another great reason for a shoe-free home is that it separates your sanctuary from the world outside. Symbolically, it says “this is my space”. It sounds wanky, but it really does have an impact. I find it really weird to sit on a couch with shoes on my feet – it just feels wrong!
Do you have a shoe-free home? Why or why not?