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Should you leave your shoes at the door to keep your house clean?

In Japanese homes, it is considered disrespectful to leave your shoes on as you enter someone’s home. Guests remove their shoes and either slip into soft booties or socks provided by the host or go barefoot. And the practice is not just relegated to the Far East. Other countries observing this custom include Thailand, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

On the other hand, in the United States, the practice of requesting shoe-removal is somewhat controversial. In fact, in some cases, asking folks to leave their shoes at the door is considered tantamount to requesting that visitors take off their shirts. But the custom not only helps keep homes cleaner, it helps make them healthier.

After all, think about where your shoes have been. If you stop at a gas station to fill up the car on your way home, you likely track petroleum and grease on your feet. If you’ve walked on a freshly treated lawn, you could track toxic pesticides, manure or chemical fertilizers onto the floor your baby crawls across or drops her pacifier. What’s more, seemingly benign dirt can even contain traces of lead.
The professional cleaning industry estimates that we track 85% of the dirt in our homes from the outside on our shoes or on the paws of our pets. In a recent warning about lead exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that shoes remain outside the house.

According to a report called The Door Mat Study, lead-contaminated soil from the outside causes almost all the lead dust found inside of homes. The study revealed that wiping shoes on a mat and/or removing them at the door cuts lead-dust by 60 percent. The study also explained that limiting the amount of dust and track-in may also help reduce exposure to lawn and garden pesticides, wood smoke and industrial toxins, mutagens, dust mites and allergens.

Wiping our shoes off as we enter the home reduces the amount of contaminated dirt tracked in. Large mats will ensure that even those who refuse to wipe will leave most of the dirt on their shoes on the mat rather than on your carpet.

Experts agree the BEST solution is to take off your shoes as you enter your home. If you like the idea of keeping outside dirt outside your door, you could provide your guests with slippers or socks in a basket by the door. Not only will your tile floors stay clean and wood floors protected from scratches, but removing shoes effectively keeps dirt and toxic threats from being tracked onto carpets and area rugs.

If you are committed to keeping a clean home, you could benefit from professional housecleaning services. My Cleaning Lady is a domestic referral agency.  The house cleaners we refer offer complete home cleaning services including thorough dusting at reasonable prices. My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency proudly serves Arcadia, Chino, Chino Hills, Duarte, Ontario, Pomona, LaVerne, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Montclair, Claremont, Phillips Ranch, Upland, West Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, and Sierra Madre. Visit call (909) 593-6690 for information or to arrange a free estimate.