Shoe soles and feet are a
potential vector of pathogen transmission Millions of germs are brought into
the house and deposited on the floor and carepets with the first 3 steps
through the door
Think of all the places you walk in a single day.
Gone for a jog, went to the grocery store, park or beach?
Just, think of all the dirt and germs you picked up on your shoes in all those
places. If you didn’t take your shoes off before coming into your home, you will
have just invited a whole host of dangerous bacteria to walk through your front
door with you.
In the COVID-19 era, this could presents a huge problem. Even if you and others
in your your household are practiceing social distancing, wearing masks in
public, and washing your hands, there is still a chance that you could be
walking the virus into your house on your shoes. According to one study, half of
an ICU’s staff’s shoes tested positive for coronavirus, and the floor of the
hospital pharmacy where staff had walked had a 100% positivity rate.
It’s difficult to imagine that something as simple as a pair of shoes could
carry disease-causing germs, but bacteria can become a serious health threat if
left unchecked. Read on for some surprising and startling facts about shoe
bacteria, and why you might want to think twice about walking around your home
wearing the shoes you wore outside.
There may be many millions of germs living on
a single pair of shoes.
In a study conducted by Good Morning America and the University of Arizona found
that shoes are “dirtier than a toilet seat” – toilets typically contain 1,000
bacteria or less, compared to the 66 million found on one of the test subject’s
shoes. The test also revealed nine different species of bacteria living on the
bottom of people’s shoes, which can cause infections in the eyes, stomach, and
Most shoes carrying feces.
In test conducted, nine out of 10 contained a type of bacteria found in
human and animal waste, which are commonly picked up in public toilets and in
outdoor areas with bird and dog droppings. These microbes are able to thrive on
shoes because of the nutrient-rich soil most people walk through.
Bacteria on your shoes could make you sick.
In a separate study by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000
units of bacteria on the outside of a shoe and 2,887 on the inside. Among the
disease-causing bacteria found on many shoes were:
- E. coli (causes
intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease)
- Klebsiella pneumonia
(causes wound and bloodstream infections and pneumonia)
- Serratia ficaria
(causes infections in the respiratory tract and wounds)
Other studies have also shown the presence of methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (c-diff),
multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, and other pathogens on the soles of
shoes and on non-skid socks.
Bacteria live longer on our shoes than other
The more places we walk, the more we can pick up new germs and bacteria that
feed the growth of the bacteria already there. The longer bacteria grows, the
more dangerous and strong it becomes.
Up to 90% of the bacteria found on the bottom
of the shoes is transferred to the floor in a house.
Germs will transfer to wood, vinyl, and carpet – and carpeting takes in even
more germs. Small children who like to play on the floor, may be particularly
susceptible to picking up shoe bacteria.