Cleaning Services – What’s on Your Shoe?

Cleaning Services – What’s on Your Shoe?

Professional cleaning services tips and advice for the how and the why behind your dirty shoes and what you're tracking into your home and office.

Cleaning Services - What's on Your Shoe? - Fresno CA

Cleaning Services Tips for Your Dirty Shoes

In many countries, it is considered coarse to wear your shoes in the home.

However, in the U.S., that is not always the case.

It is the height of tacky to invite guests to your home and then require that they remove anything more than outdoor attire.

-Jodi R.R. Smith; Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Massachusetts

Ms. Smith is not the only etiquette consultant who holds that opinion.

 It's not really proper to ask a guest to remove their shoes.

-Lois Hearn; Your Manners in Charleston, South Carolina

The problem is the number of germs, bacteria, and the amount of dirt that is brought inside.

Tradition and social norms aside, nobody wants anyone running around with just their socks or bare feet in the office, especially field, and manufacturing workers, where wearing steel-toed boots and sweaty feet are part of the job.

The question becomes; how do we address the issue of shoes, which are responsible for approximately 85% of the dirt tracked in from outside, inside the home and office.


How Gross are Your Shoes?

According to a 2008 survey conducted by Good Morning America, where eight individuals allowed researchers to test the bottom of their shoes, approximately 66 million organisms were discovered on the bottom of one participant's heels; vastly exceeding the number of bacteria observed on two dog paws, which were also tested as part of the investigation.

The number of organisms detected landed the shoes an unfortunate distinction; being significantly more filthy than a toilet seat which, according to Jonathan Sexton, a research assistant at the University of Arizona's College of Public Health, typically contains 1000 bacteria or less.

For More Information:

Dirt and bacteria aren't all that gets tracked in.

There are also toxins from asphalt, pesticides, and fertilizers.


The Trouble with Toddlers

Anyone with young children knows two things:

  • Toddlers spend most of their day on the floor, and;
  • Everything goes into their mouth, including their filthy hands.

All of the germs and filth tracked into the home or daycare center is now on its way to your child's stomach.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) than others, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.

-E.coli: General Information


Does Washing Help?

In another study conducted by Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology, also of the University of Arizona, the inside and bottom of shoes were tested for bacteria count to determine the effectiveness of machine washing.

According to the test results, before washing, the average bacteria count per shoe, after two weeks of regular wear were:

  • 421,000 units outside of the shoe.
  • 2,887 on the inside of the shoe.

Some of the germs discovered during the testing were:

  • Escherichia Coli (E.Coli) - A common cause of diarrhea. Detected on on the soles of 27% of tested shoes.
  • Klebsiella Pneumonia - An infection-causing bacteria that can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
  • Serratia Ficaria - A rare form of bacteria that can produce severe issues with the respiratory and urinary tract.
  • Coliforms - Not generally the cause of infection, however, their presence typically indicates the presence of other illness-causing bacteria.  Detected on the outside of 96% of tested shoes.

The study also found the transfer rate of bacteria, from shoes to uncontaminated surfaces, ranged from 90% to 99%.

While that may be enough for many to toss their shoes in the garbage bin, there is hope.

The study concluded by finding:

[sic]...a 99% reduction in the numbers of bacteria on the outside of the shoe and a 90% reduction of bacteria on the inside of the shoe after washing.

Specifically there was a 99% reduction of the bacteria coliform on the outside of the shoes after washing.


Shoe Cleaning Tips

To prevent the transfer of germs, dirt and, bacteria from the bottom of our dirty shoes onto the carpet in our homes and offices, the following steps are recommended:

  • Wash shoes once per week according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Replace dirty old shoes where practical.
  • Wipe your shoes before entering a building, especially if it is rainy or muddy outside.
  • Place floor mats inside and outside of the home or office to collect as much dirt as possible before tracking it across the carpet.
  • When home, consider leaving your shoes at the door before entering the rest of the house.  Where practical, consider implementing a mud room.
  • At the office make sure to have your carpets cleaned routinely buy a certified Green Carpet Cleaning Specialist.
  • Where tile, hard flooring, or linoleum is used instead of carpeting; ensure the floors are scrubbed or mopped daily in proportion to the amount of foot traffic, and in relation to the weather outside, e.g., the rainy or snowy weather will require more attention be paid to the floors than in Summer months.
  • Where not wearing the shoes inside of the home is impractical, consider house slippers as an alternative.



Americans unknowingly track a significant amount of filth and germs into our homes and businesses every day.

Since most adults spend very little time rooting around on the floor, the problem often goes unnoticed until stains appear on the carpet.

The volume of germs and bacteria we track into our schools, daycare facilities, and homes present's a significant health risk to young children.

Prevention and consistent adherence to green cleaning practices are crucial in eliminating the transfer of toxins from the bottom of our shoes, into our children's mouths.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of professional cleaning services for your business, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 395-3009

In Fresno CA, call (559) 473-1790