Did you know your shoes transmit more viruses than your toilet? In 2016, researchers at the University of Arizona conducted a study that found nine different species of bacteria on the shoes of randomly selected participants. In a period of two weeks, they found 440,000 units of bacteria on a single pair of shoes. Moreover, they also noticed that around 90 percent of the time, when these germs are dragged into the house, they transfer to clean surfaces.
If you’re pretty grossed out right now, we definitely don’t blame you. However, now that you have this knowledge, it’s necessary to do something about it.
Here at FootFitter, we want to protect your feet and home from being taken over by harmful germs. Luckily, there are defensive and preventive methods you can take to eliminate viruses from spreading.
What exactly are shoe germs?
Germs are microorganisms that are known for causing disease. When it comes to your shoes, germs come in the form of bacteria, toxins and other environmental irritants like dirt.
What problems can germs cause?
Among the nine types of bacteria found in the Arizona study were E. coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease and others that cause bloodstream and respiratory tract infections as well as pneumonia.
Among the nine bacteria species found on shoes were E.coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease and others that cause bloodstream and respiratory tract infections as well as pneumonia.
As for toxins, some studies have also shown shoes to track in herbicides that lead to skin rashes and stomach problems.
Lastly, dirt and grease are two more obvious germ-related problems that bring grime and foul odors into your house.
How do I keep germs away from my shoes?
Now that you know how dangerous germs can be to your health and comfortability, it’s time to talk about five tips for avoiding them.
1. Leave your shoes at the door.
When it comes to keeping germs out of your shoes and house, one of the best defenses is leaving your shoes at the door.
Instead of dragging harmful materials from room to room, dirty shoes should stay confined to an outside area.
Nevertheless, there are a couple important things to remember when doing so.
First, just because you can’t see germs, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Dress shoes and heels may look cleaner than your pair of running shoes but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are cleaner.
Next, leaving your shoes outdoors in harsh elements can also cause its own set of problems. Make sure you keep your shoes out of the sun, rain and snow’s reach. In a neutral climate, a porch awning works well to shade and protect.
However, if you can’t avoid harsh weather, keeping your shoes confined to the first room of your house is a good substitute so you still prevent germs from being spread room to room.
2. Keep your shoes dry.
While leaving your shoes in a protected outside area is one way to keep them dry, there are some shoes that are just more suited to indoor storage. When it comes to your pricey dress shoes, there are other techniques like a shoe tree that can work from the comfort of your closet.
Cedar shoe trees are known for their absorption properties. Using them will help keep your shoes dry and reduce foul odors.
FootFitter shoe tree’s are useful for this technique because they are made from cedar wood, which is known for its absorption properties. In addition to decreasing dampness and odors, shoe trees mimic your foot while you aren’t wearing your shoes and help you break in new pairs quicker.
3. Clean your shoes regularly.
To keep your shoes clear of germs, it’s pertinent that you keep them clean.
When it comes to dress shoes, this means using a brush with sturdy bristles like horsehair to dislodge environmental irritants and buff away stubborn scuffs and stains. Incorporating products like FootFitter Shoe Cream works well to remove imperfections and restore shoe’s original appearance and shine.
However, when you’re looking to clean your running shoes, try trading in your shoe polish for natural materials that will lift dirt from leather and synthetic meshes and fabrics. X sneaker care products use environmentally-conscious materials to cleanse shoes without adding damage. In addition, they leave behind a pleasant bamboo scent.
4. Replace shoes when they begin to wear out.
Deciding when to replace your shoes depends on which style of shoe you have and how often you wear it. When it comes to high-end dress shoes and heels that use more expensive materials and see less use, it’s possible to keep them in your closet rotation for five years or even more in some cases. However, good maintenance is key.
On the other hand, if you’re debating whether to replace your running shoes or keep them in your workout bag, you may want to lay on the side of caution. Your athletic shoes see some of the dirtiest and germ-ridden environments.
For those engaging in regular average workouts, consider switching out your running shoes at least every six months. If your workout is more rigorous or additional weight causes your shoes to wear quickly, buy a new pair every three months to stay healthiest.
5. Don’t leave socks in your shoes.
Socks are great at keeping your feet warm and protected from chafing against your dress shoes.
However, socks can also cause germ-related issues. After all, when you walk around in them all day, you accumulate heat and sweat. Unfortunately, this is the perfect cesspool for bacteria to flourish.
No matter how cute your socks are or how open your heels may be, it’s never a good idea to leave them inside your shoes. Avoid extra dampness by throwing your socks in the hamper at the end of the day, not by housing them in your heels.
Germs spread quickly. Even if you’re planning on wearing your shoes and socks again before the night’s over, it’s worth separating the two in the meantime.