Why You Should Leave Your Shoes Outside Your Door

After walking with your shoes outside for an entire day, or if you went on a jog or a hike, are you one of those people that don’t take it off immediately as soon as you go inside your house?

Studies show that large numbers of bacteria, both on the bottom part of the shoe, including the inside of the shoes have about 421,000 unit of bacteria only on the outside of your shoes, and an additional 2,887 on the inside. If that doesn’t alarm you about how many bacteria you’ve purposely invited to your home just because you didn’t leave your shoes outside– I’m not sure what will.

Why You Should Leave Your Shoes Outside Your Door

This was a study made by Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist, and professor at the University of Arizona and The Rockport® Company. A list of the bacteria found on your shoes include:

  • Escherichia Coli – This bacteria is known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections, diarrheal disease and meningitis.
  • Klebsiella Pneumonia – This is the common source of the bloodstream, wound infections, and pneumonia.
  • Serratia Ficaria – Can cause rare infections in our respiratory tract and wounds.

“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.

However, it is said that by simply washing the shoes with detergent can easily eliminate the bacteria and can possibly reduce it by 90% or even more. So, how often do you wash your shoes?

If your homes have tiles, I’m sure that you mop your floors more often, and even do the lengthy procedure of disinfecting it. The transfer of bacteria from your shoes to your uncontaminated (or freshly cleaned tiles) can range from 90%-99%.

Why You Should Leave Your Shoes Outside Your Door

Below, I will list a couple of my suggestions that can help you keep the bacteria from your shoes spreading.

  1. Place your shoe rack close to your door, or anywhere that you think is accessible for you to put your shoes as soon as you get home. Personally, I invest in nice looking shoe racks so that it doesn’t look like clutter near the doorstep, but more of a part of the interior design. I regularly clean that area and transfer unused or rarely used shoes in my shoe closet. I make sure that I only have about 3 pairs of shoes that I rotate and use frequently to keep the area tidy.
  2. Make a habit of removing your shoes as soon as you enter the door. This is very obvious, but you really have to try your best to remember. Place a small reminder near the shoe rack if you have to!
  3. Have bedroom slippers or slippers that you only use inside the house. If you often have guests, prepare extra slippers for them. There’s something about fluffy bedroom slippers that makes me excited about taking my shoes off after a hard day’s work.
  4. Wash your shoes regularly. Disinfect the shoe racks as often as possible. For leather shoes, you can always use disinfecting wipes and sprays that won’t damage it.
  5. You can leave foot sprays near your shoe rack if by any chance that you have guests that worry about taking their shoes off because of smelly feet. You can even leave a pair of clean socks that they can use just in case.

Why You Should Leave Your Shoes Outside Your Door

You may also like


  • Shoes are really dirty. I make sure that I don’t take it to my bedroom no matter what, especially in parts of the house that are carpetted.

  • I agree that bedroom slippers motivate you to not walk around the house with dirty shoes.

  • My friends are so used to my entire family leaving their shoes outside and they just respect that. I love my friends! ?

  • Maria Wolfe says:

    My mom has this pretty frame near our doorstep that says remove your shoes. Anyone who sees that will automatically do it.

    • Felicia Blake says:

      I think this is a nice idea because you don’t have to keep reminding your guests to do it. I don’t want to be that crazy shoe lady who yells at people who don’t take their shoes off as soon as they enter my house.

  • Cecelia Stephens says:

    Sneakers are easy to clean. But for leather and suede ones, it’s difficult. I don’t think disinfecting it by wiping or spraying is enough, but it does reduce the bacteria.

  • Diana Scott says:

    I always put a nice oft rug in my door step. It urges people to remove their shoes for the sake of keeping the house clean.

  • Janice Wood says:

    Make sure you have clean floors that will make people want to remove their shoes instead of being disgusted.?

    • Martha Walker says:

      Lol I agree. I hate dirty floors! It makes my feet all cringey.

  • Julia Gray says:

    Thanks for the tips here. I’m never walking around the house with my dirty shoes!

  • Susan Lopez says:

    I feel really awkward asking guests to leave shoes near the door. I do know that others do suffer from sweaty feet and smelly feet and I don’t want to risk exposing them or humiliating them.

  • Laura Harris says:

    You guys know those silica packets that usually come in shoe boxes? I keep those and put it inside my shoe box/shoe rack near my door. Moisture makes the bacteria grow faster so removing the moisture helps reduce odor and bacteria. I also buy green tea bags and put a couple inside my shoes and acts as a deodorizer.

    • Rebecca Givens says:

      Thank you for sharing that green tea bags can be amazing deodorizers. We highly appreciate it!

  • Christina Eiland says:

    I am doing the same thing, it’s pretty common in Europe… I’m from Romania… here the first thing then you enter a house, you remove the shoes, no asking or something awkward, it’s considered normal… If I have guests and we are making a grill on the porch, it’s ok with shoes in the house, I won’t ask them to remove it because they will go to the bathroom/kitchen, but that’s an exception.

  • Marianne Stewart says:

    I take them off. Shoes are normally dirty on the underside, and I find being shoeless to be more comfortable anyway.

  • Valeria Fisher says:

    I completely agree with this article. I live in Norway, and it’s normal here. Why put dirt everywhere? I even shower my dogs feet after we’ve been on walks. And it’s more comfortable, why wear shoes inside?

  • Gwen Abrams says:

    Not only because it’s more clean, but it’s better… Why would I keep my shoes on when I could be in some comfortable slippers or barefoot? Aaaaand also because there’s no way I’m going to clean up the house everyday. ?

  • Sherilyn Tolley says:

    I leave my shoes out too. Because my shoes have been in way too many things during the day. Don’t want it on my floors. We have tile floors and they are nice and clean and we like them to stay that way. Everyone has either slippers or flip flops, and yes guests are exempt from taking their shoes off.

  • Julie Greco says:

    I live in Europe where not taking your shoes off as you enter someone else’s house is seen as incredibly rude. You’ve stepped on gum, spit and traces of dog poop. There are pebbles and dirt underneath your shoes. Why would anyone want to drag that into a clean, comfortable house? I know it’s not seen as a big deal in America, but it’s really weird to me. I feel bad if I have to make a quick run into the kitchen whilst wearing shoes to get my keys as I’m running out the door. But if someone did waltz into my house with their shoes on, I’m sure I’d be too shy to ask them to take them off.

  • Sandra Bradt says:

    Nobody wears shoes inside our home. we have a cupboard outside our house for shoes and everybody leaves their shoes in that cupboard.

  • Susie Hays says:

    I am tempted to leave my shoes on when I get home, but you have mentioned so many reasons why it might be better to leave my street shoes at the door. Thank you.

  • Sloane Bedford says:

    In many countries and cultures, it’s not acceptable to walk about the house in the dirty sneakers. My mom is Asian and she never wears shoes inside our home.

  • Britanny Nagy says:

    There are plenty of reasons why the Japanese and many other cultures have adopted the policy of leaving shoes at the front door, or why so many others are making the switch. It may be a bit awkward asking the guests to take off their shoes before entering your home, but with these reasons at hand, they should at least understand why we’re so insistent.

  • Lynda Cutter says:

    I went into a friend’s home where I was asked to remove my shoes at the door. At first, I was a little surprised, but when I walked further into her home, it made sense, her daughter was eating grapes off the floor. I went home that day and did my research about living in a shoe-free home. The Internet astounded me. The list of toxic germs and chemicals tracked on the bottoms of our shoes immediately grossed me out. I read about influenza and how our shoes can be dirtier than toilet seats! The thought of letting my baby crawl around a germ-infested home was enough to convince me right then and there.

  • Lily Kirkman says:

    Love this article! We are not shoe-less in our home yet, but you’ve made some excellent points to consider as we think about whether this is the right move for us.

  • Kamelia Delacruz says:

    I’m from the country where a shoe less house is a norm. And I do have a shoe less house myself here in the US. I don’t see any issues: it’s just a habit. Every family member has his own pair of home shoes and we keep a couple of flip-flops and socks for the guests.

  • Noa Givens says:

    I went shoe free last year. Although I was comfortable kicking off my shoes, I feel very uncomfortable asking our guests to do so. This was easily solved by keeping some inexpensive house slippers for the occasional guest. For regular friends or other regular visitors, such as my mother-in-law and my best friend, I bought them a pair as a gift and have their name embroidered on them so they aren’t worn by others.