I grew up not necessarily taking my shoes off when I went into the house. If they were dirty or wet, sure, I left them by the door, but otherwise, I wore them around. Or I took them off. It didn’t matter. I didn’t really think about it. At other people’s homes, I always kept my shoes on and non-family members always kept their shoes on in our house. In fact, I would have considered it rude to ask them to take them off (unless they were really dirty.) Just like going to the store, you just didn’t take your shoes off in other people’s homes. You never knew if it was clean.
My husband grew up always taking his shoes off. Always. He’s Japanese-American, so I kind of figured it was a cultural thing, and for his family, it probably is. It was really hard for me to remember to take my shoes off when I went to his parent’s and friend’s house at first. In fact, it was kind of uncomfortable for me. I saw everyone walking around in their bare feet. The thought of where their feet had been and if they had foot fungus I was touching was just kind of gross. To solve the dilemma, without being rude I wore socks (and still do). Socks in wash when I get home, no foot fungus for me. (My husband’s probably laughing reading this because my feet are not all that pretty.)
It turns out, it’s actually a really good idea to take your shoes off when you come inside. Think about all the places you walk everyday and all the chemicals your shoes come in contact with. The stores where they use industrial cleaners to wash the floors. The sidewalk, which may have been sprayed with pesticides or have run off from the sprinkler system in it. Parking lots covered in oil. Then you take those shoes and walk all over your house spreading those chemicals around. Not to mention just the dirt.
By simply removing shoes at the door, you reduce the contaminants in your house, keeping your indoor home environment cleaner and greener. It’s not bad for keeping the carpet clean either.
You could keep a basket of slippers by the door if you don’t like to go barefoot. Take off the shoes and put on the slippers. Kind of a nice transition to a more relaxed state at home, too. I’m trying hard to make my home shoe free. I’m actually the worst at forgetting, but I’m really trying.
Do you have a shoes off policy at your home?