Wearing Shoes Indoors Is Much Grosser Than You Think

Warning: You might be shocked to learn what kinds of germs are stuck to the bottoms and even the insides of your favorite shoes.
Do you know what's hiding on your floors?
Do you know what's hiding on your floors? / Emilija Manevska/Moment via Getty Images
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To wear shoes inside or not—that is the question. (And, of course, the modern-day version of Hamlet’s arguably most famous line). In some cultures, not removing your shoes upon entering one’s home is seen as a sign of disrespect; to others, it’s just plain ol’ disgusting: The germs! The bacteria! The dirt! You get the gist.

However, many folks don’t realize truly how gross it is to wear shoes indoors. A 2008 study detected a whopping 421,000 units of bacteria on both the bottom and inside of shoes. Among them? The notorious Escherichia coli, better known by its nickname, E. coli, which causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, and, in some cases, fever. Klebsiella pneumonia, which can be life-threatening, was also found. That’s not all, though: A separate 2021 study also detected C. difficile, or C. diff, on the bottom of shoes. Like E. coli, this specific strain of bacteria also causes gastrointestinal distress as well as colitis (inflammation of the colon). To top it off, some strains of harmful bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, which makes them all the more difficult to eliminate from your space. 

Assuming you don’t have a shoeless household—but do have children or pets—this statistic becomes all the more stomach-churning (pun-intended, of course), with little ones and furry friends crawling, sitting, and perhaps even licking the floors of your home. So consider this your sign to deep-clean your floors if you haven’t already. 

With all this in mind, it’s worth mentioning that dirty floors are a haven for bacteria since they stick to dust. That’s not the worst of it, though: These now bacteria-infected particles can get resuspended in the air for you to inhale or ingest. This is especially important to consider since Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their entire lives indoors, which means it’s important to keep your space tidy, use disinfectant cleansers, vacuum and mop frequently, and, last but not least, instate a no-shoe policy inside. 

If you already take your shoes off indoors—or are highly considering it following this article (good on you)—be sure to take them off immediately; then, carry them to the shoe rack, closet, or basket. That way, you can be sure to avoid accidentally tracking germs, debris, dust, and bacteria throughout the home.

Now that you’ve made it this far, you’re more than likely considering a shoeless household. However, if you’re not wild about the idea of walking around barefoot—be it because you simply don’t want to, it’s uncomfortable, or you need the added arch support—but still want to reduce the amount of pathogens tracking through your home, we have a solution: Consider designating a specific pair of slippers or shoes to be worn indoors only.

Roborock has a line of robot vacuums and mops designed to meet any of your cleaning needs at every price point. To get rid of the dust, dirt, and pet hair that accumulates on the floors of your home, the Roborock Q Revo Robot Vacuum and Mop is a great option. This two-in-one smart home floor cleaner—which is on sale for $680 (was $900) at Amazon—can both vacuum a variety of surfaces, including carpets, hardwood, and tile, as well as wet mop. Best of all, the Q Revo comes with a docking base that both charges the device and automatically self-cleans it for up to seven weeks.

Treat yourself to hassle-free, automated cleaning with Roborock’s range of robot vacuums and maps. From November 20 to November 27, 2023, the company is offering extended Black Friday deals on Amazon with savings of up to 45 percent off specific devices.