Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Implement a no shoes in the house policy with kids? You can barely survive to get get the kids out of the house without a meltdown…. Yourself included.
Add taking shoes on and off to the do list? No thanks!
But wait – hear me out! From one Mother to another. There are several important reasons you need to have a no shoes in the house policy. That you need to hear before you click away shaking your head.
First of all, I’m not a germaphobe. Not by a long shot. And if you are a germaphobe, that’s okay too. You’re in a safe space.
Kids need bacteria to properly develop their immune system. Some bacteria are good while other bacteria are bad. Some good bacteria can be bad in mass numbers. It’s all about proper balance. You need enough good guys to fight off the bad guys.
Sometimes my kids wash their hands before eating, other times we miss it. And I don’t stress out about it. Not for a second.
I hope you don’t either.
What does stress me out is all the crud we track into the house on the bottom of our shoes. It’s more than just bacteria. That’s why we have a no shoes in the house policy.
What Is On The Bottom of Your Shoes?
Actually, there is a lot on the bottom of your shoes. A lot of bad stuff. Pesticides, feces, chemicals (like antifreeze, oil, cleaners), viruses and bacteria.
Your neighbor who just treated their lawn for weeds. With pesticides. The same lawn your child just wandered into the grass on your walk. Those pesticides got onto your child’s shoes. And tracked into your house.
Need Proof? A study from the American Chemical Society shows pesticides can be tracked into your home for up to a week!
Another study found that the bottom of your shoes has more bacteria than a toilet seat. And much of the bacteria you find on the bottom of your shoes is fecal matter – aka poop! Both human and animal. Say what?? Disgusting!
Removing your shoes before going in your home is like washing your hands after using the bathroom.
Dirty Floors You Walk On
When you go to the bathroom at the grocery store, you don’t let your 2-year-old play and splash in the toilet water. Right? That would be gross!
And you wouldn’t lay your baby on the bathroom floor? That would border on child abuse. That’s why you keep your baby in the stroller or the cart.
No shoes in the grass-. That’s fun! No shoes in the parking lot. I didn’t think so. Think about all those oil and antifreeze stains in the parking lot.
Yet the same germs found on that bathroom floor, get on your shoes. Tracked into your home and onto your carpet and floors
Where your kids play. And wrestle and roll around.
Kids spend so much time on the floor.
If you have a baby. Forget about it! They are always on the floor. Mouths open, drooling, hands in their mouths and sometimes even licking the floor. Exploring the world through their mouth.
Children under age 2 are the most vulnerable to the germs we track into the house, because they play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths an average of 80 times an hour. Source: ABC News
Your baby is picking up all that crud from the grocery store to the public bathroom. That you innocently tracked in on your shoes. That’s why you need a no shoes in the house policy.
Natural Defense System
Our bodies have several natural defenses from all that crud. Our immune system, our skin, and our detoxification system.
Pretty amazing – right?
The problem is little kids have a developing immune system.
Our detoxification systems can’t keep up with today’s toxic chemicals everywhere you turn.
The world wasn’t created with all the pesticides and chemicals we use every day. They are constantly bombarding our bodies.
If your child has asthma – you need to read the one thing you should never do if you have asthma. It changed my life – I hope it can change your child’s life too.
So in my small corner of the world, I like to keep my home as free from the pesticides, chemicals, and bad bacteria with a no shoes policy. Bacteria like c-dif that is commonly found on the soles of your shoes. Or fecal matter.
I aim to keep our indoor air quality in tip-top shape. Plants work amazingly well to purify the air in your home. Natural cleaners is another great way!
The EPA reports that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air quality! Just saying….
I know you want the best for your kids. You want the best start. To keep them safe.
Limiting your kid’s exposure to chemicals and pesticides is a great way to do that.
It’s easy to want to go overboard. You just have to focus on the areas you can effectively change. Areas like inside your home.
And not stress about what is out of your control (the outside stuff).
Transfer from Shoe to Floor
Interesting yet not surprising, carpets caught more bacteria then hard floors.
A study from the University of Arizona examined bacteria, your shoes, and your floor. They looked at how bacteria transferred from shoes to the floor. In the experiment they used tile. They found 90-95% of bacteria transferred from shoes to the floor.
Bacteria commonly found on the bottom of shoes was E. Coli Pneumonia and Meningitis. For a whopping 400,000 bacteria on the bottom of your shoes.
And lots and lots of bacteria that originate from fecal matter.
Now if it’s that easy to transfer bacteria from shoe to floor. How easy is it to transfer pesticides and chemicals? I’d bet just as easily!
A carpeted entryway is the worst! You’re harboring more then if you have hardwood.
Hard floors wipe off easily. You can clean them with a liquid solution.
Carpets are more challenging. Throw rugs can go in the washing machine. Regular carpet – you could use a carpet cleaner. But it can be expensive or labor intensive. We just waited it out and spot cleaned as needed.
No Shoes In the House Policy is the Solution
In our house, we take off our shoes when we enter. Shoes get put away. We all have slippers to wear if we choose. Most of my kids are barefoot – all the time.
I prefer slippers that have a non-skid bottom and fit like a shoe. Too many pairs of backless slippers stretch out and can be a triping hazard. An added benefit of wearing slippers is you feel warmer even in the cold winter. For those of you who are always cold like me.
Other homes that have indoor and outdoor shoes. Essentially, you have shoes that you exclusively wear in the home.
It’s a lot easier than you think to get started with a no shoes in the house policy.
A great reminder is a “No Shoes” sign at your front door. Get your FREE “No Shoes Please” Elegant printable sign here.
While it takes a few weeks to remember each time you come home to take your shoes off, soon it becomes a new habit.
One you don’t have to think about.
Actually, you become self-conscious when you have your shoes on in your home.
When my kids were babies, I was pretty strict with the no shoes in the house policy. I was like a shoe Nazi. My babies were always crawling on the floor. So a strict rule was in place.
Occasionally someone is running around the house with their shoes on. If we’re carrying something in and have our shoes on. Or you head out of the house and have to grab something quickly. My husband is probably the worst rule breaker. But we’ve all done it.
Guests with a No Shoes in the House Policy
When guests come over, things can get a little more tricky. We have a sign at our door to let guests know we have a no shoes policy in our home. Get your FREE . printable sign here
I ask people to remove their shoes as they are comfortable and able. Typically, I just plan to clean the floors after the guests leave. But when my kids were little – I was pretty strict on this even for guests.
You’ll have to decide what makes sense for your family.
My extended family knows that we don’t wear shoes in our house, so they remove them without being asked.
My kids know to remove their shoes when we go to someone else’s house. Without even being asked. I love that.
Your no shoes in the house policy can become automatic too.
Your kids will automatically remove their shoes and put them away when they get home. Regular guests will automatically remove their shoes at the door. It’s pretty awesome when it happens.
Why Clean Your Shoes?
You can effectively clean off all the stuff harboring on your shoes pretty easily. Throw your shoes into the washing machine with detergent and you’ll remove 99% of the bacteria. Pretty awesome!
To clean your shoe all you need to do is run them through the washing machine. Just a quick wash is all you need The added bonus is it will keep them looking new!
Kids get their shoes all dirty and messy. I regularly wash my kids shoes for the messy reason alone! So this is an added bonus!
Interested in switching to a natural laundry room? It’s easy with 3 simple natural laundry swaps.
What About Pets?
This is a tricky one. We don’t have pets. We dog sit frequently but don’t have our own pets.
Personally, I just let the dog come in and out without wiping paws.
If I had my own dog, I would probably do a quick wipe of the paws when coming inside a few times a day.
Like you, I have little kids. Nothing is 100% or perfect.
If you strive for that – you’ll drive yourself insane!!
I’ve seen some people that have a small bowl of water near the door. Their dogs are trained to dip their paws in the water before coming in. After the water, they get wiped. It was over in a flash. If your dog is trained, this could be a good tactic.
Or use some baby wipes.
Or do nothing. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with.
Your dog will be walking in your yard. Maybe up the street for a walk.
Remember your dog isn’t walking through oil-stained parking lots, grocery store bathrooms, or messy grocery store floors.
I’d be less concerned about the crud on their paws vs. my own shoes.
Awesome Side Benefit of a No Shoes In The House
Another benefit of a No Shoes in the House Policy is LESS CLEANING!!
Yes, you read that right.
When you switch to a no shoes in the house policy, you will see a dramatic decrease in the amount of dirt in your home and on the floors.
That means less vacuuming, mopping and sweeping. And more time playing with your little ones.
I have 4 kids under the age of 10. I can go a full week in between vacuuming. With the exception of the kitchen that is. The kitchen needs to be vacuumed daily – sometimes after every meal or snack.
Little people can be like a tornado, spreading dirt and crumbs in every possible direction.
I use my Dyson Cordless vacuum constantly to keep things tidy in the kitchen. It’s lightweight enough my big kids can use it to clean up. That way Mom isn’t stuck with cleaning duty all the time. It even fits under my couch!
And the kids like to use it! I think it makes them feel all grown up.
While the Dyson cordless was a splurge purchase I would have never made on my own, it is pretty awesome! My husband got it for me as a gift.
If you don’t have one, think about it. Or save up for one. They are awesome!
Where to Start
Start by finding a place where all the shoes can go near the door. If you want your kids to put their shoes away on the other side of the house, your job will become more difficult. This is how we organize our shoes and coats so everyone can reach what they need and hang up their own coat.
Have a family meeting. Let your kids know what is expected of them.
They will remove their shoes when they come home. Then they will put them away. Show them where their shoes go.
Explain why they will be removing their shoes and how it will keep everyone safe.
This is the organizer we use. Each kid has a cubby for shoes. Coats hang from the rod on the bottom. It’s great for kids to be able to reach and hang up coats themselves.
Lead by example. Be the first to take your shoes off.
At first, gentle reminders will be needed.
It took us about 2 weeks to get into the habit. Kids catch on quickly. Probably more quickly than your husband will. I know my husband was a hard nut to crack.
For guests, you can hang up a sign like this. I have two versions you can download for free here. An added bonus is you’ll be signed up for weekly updates from Natural Soap Mom.
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