Green Thursdays: Take Your Shoes Off Please

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?


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22 Responses to “Green Thursdays: Take Your Shoes Off Please”

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  1. AZLB
    Twitter: azlb
    says:

    I am with you we never took our shoes off…but now it has become kinda or routine. Shoes off when you come inside….

    • Jessica Anne says:

      It does get to be routine after a while. I fall back into not doing it, but my kids remind me since they’ve been doing it their whole lives.

  2. Kerry
    Twitter: thebutlerway
    says:

    we take our shoes off too. Most of my daughter’s friends do as well. I think alot of people realize that it’s gross to track all that stuff into the house.

  3. Leteia says:

    We almost always take our shoes off, mostly because it is always so hot here we are usually only wearing flip flops. And actually my kids take their shoes off no matter where we are, car, friends house, store, doesn’t matter to the littlest one!

  4. liz
    Twitter: bellebeandog
    says:

    i remember reading about that when kate was a baby. and it’s so true! we always take our shoes off when coming inside.

  5. Kristy says:

    Yup, we take shoes off! If we have a party, we hang a sign that says, “Please remove your shoes. We don’t care if your shoes are hole-y!”
    http://www.pampersandpinot.com

  6. adrienne says:

    I grew up without it, but my husband was raised in Okinawa and has always taken off his shoes. We started doing it out of habit to keep the carpet in our apartment clean and we now do it all the time. We keep ours by the door and when people come over, they see ours and automatically take them off.
    That said, I think that may also be an Iowa thing since usually your shoes are covered in snow! :)
    But if you always take your shoes off, you don’t have to worry about the floor being gross or dirty (except for yourself and your kids spills of course!)! Great post!

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I grew up in Minnesota, so I definitely understand the snow thing, but we were really bad about it in the summer. Sometimes, I think I should wear my shoes in the house, just to keep from stepping in whatever my kids spilled. :)

  7. Alyna @ Better Your Blog
    Twitter: BetterYourBlog
    says:

    I have mixed feelings about this – I’ve been in people’s homes where I was required to take of my shoes to keep their house “clean” and feel uncomfortable because, really, if you make it a rule then your floors ought to be clean! Especially being a first time guest – I wear sandals a lot so if I take off my shoes now I’m walking barefoot on their grimy floors. Fantastic!

    That being said, I do like to keep my own home clean and as free of contaminants as possible. I clean my dogs feet (hey, she occasionally licks herself and sleeps on the bed – I don’t want to subject her or myself to gross stuff!) and I often change to different shoes when I come home. Or, I thoroughly wipe my feet. I have a good, bristly doormat and it really makes a difference in leaving more of the dirt outside rather than inside!

    I just let guests do what they want because I want them to feel comfortable and, if that means I have to clean my floors sooner then it was worth it to try to be a warm host. If they take their shoes off they won’t leave with blackened feet, but if they don’t I really don’t mind. :-)

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I know exactly what you mean, it’s so hard for me to take my shoes off in other people’s homes. It’s why I wear socks when I’m going to someone’s home that I know I’ll have to take my shoes off.

    • Mike says:

      Hey Alyna, I’m with you on the first time guest thing…about a month ago I went to my friend’s girlfriend’s house for coffee (unaware that she had a no shoes rule) and I was wearing flip flops…I was forced to remove them at the door so I was stuck walking around her house barefoot.

      I understand it keeps the house cleaner though so I took my flip flops off without making a fuss…it just feels weird walking around someone’s house in my bare feet when I’ve never even been there before…

      • Jessica Anne says:

        I agree totally. It’s just kind of weird when you don’t know someone to be barefoot in their house.

        • Mike says:

          Yeah, definitely…have you ever been taken by surprise like me and been forced to go barefoot in someone’s house? Or you always had socks?

  8. ana @ iMadeItSo
    Twitter: imadeitso
    says:

    no shoes here. i really think it is a cultural and regional thing. i’m not sure i understand the issue with taking off your shoes in other people’s home. usually if they want me to take my shoes off, their floors are spotless. maybe i’m misunderstanding :-) but basically, if i’m in someone’s home, it’s their rules. curious… when trades people (repair, delivery, etc) come into your home, do they take off their shoes? most companies here send their workers with little cloth booties to wear over their shoes (since most wear shoes for safety, but know that most homeowners don’t want dirt tracked in)..

    heh, interesting topic. could be quite controversial ;-)

    • Jessica Anne says:

      The no shoes in other people’s house isn’t really a dirty floor thing, it’s a germ thing. I just have issues with feet. Although, I have been places where the floors aren’t clean, which is also icky. I absolutely always follow the their house, their rules and take my shoes off when asked. It’s more that I wasn’t thinking about it in my house for my family to insist on it. That being said, I never ask people to take their shoes off in my house because I know it makes me uncomfortable. And the repairmen here do not cover their shoes. I never thought of it as a controversial subject. :)

  9. Matthew C says:

    Having a shoes-off policy in your home is definitely a great thing to do.

    I have an whole blog on this subject: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might want to take a look.

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