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The “dirty” truth about taking off your shoes when entering your home

(CNN) — Germ-conscious hosts face a dilemma when entertaining guests: Should I ask guests to take off their shoes at the door, especially if the party is a cocktail or formal gathering, or if the guests are coffee addicts? Shoes like Carrie Bradshaw’s?

In a 2003 episode of Sex and the City, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is asked to leave a $485 Manolo Blahnik suit at her friend’s baby shower in New York. Shoes left at the door. Keira (Tatum O’Neal) and soon discover they have been stolen.

“I didn’t even get the party over,” Carrie later lamented over lunch with friends. The iconic TV personality was forced to walk home in a party dress and a pair of old gray sneakers the hostess lent her.

“Why the hell did you take off your shoes?” Kelly’s friend Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) asks.

“We have to do this,” Carrie explained. “For your kids, obviously the things we’re holding back on are making the kids sick.”

In an August 2003 episode of “Sex and the City” airing on HBO, a CNN affiliate, Sarah Jessica Parker, as Carrie Bradshaw, brings home borrowed sneakers. Her Manolo Blahnik heels were stolen after her friend asked guests to leave their shoes at the front door. (Source: HBO/Everett Collection)

While this episode of “Women’s Shoe Rights” is intended to discuss the struggles single people face in a world centered around families with children, the underlying question and debate surrounding shoes and health remains: Is there clear evidence that, Will going barefoot slow the spread of germs in your home?

“Absolutely,” said Gabriel Filippelli, a professor in the Department of Geosciences at Indiana-Purdue University in Indianapolis and executive director of the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute.

“We can track all types of bacteria, but the one we’re most concerned about is definitely E. coli, which can cause severe abdominal cramping, bloody diarrhea and vomiting,” he explained. “There are studies that have taken samples from the soles of shoes, and about 99 percent of the shoes tested positive for feces.”

Heavy metals etc.

However, bacteria aren’t the only danger posed by dust and dirt around rural and urban homes, gardens and parks, said Jill Little, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and currently a researcher. Director of the Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

“Research shows that in urban areas with older homes, lead in dust can reach the house through the surface of shoes,” he said. “Other studies have shown that pesticide residues can be brought in from the garden through shoes.”

Heavy metals such as lead, copper and zinc seep into soil in parks and city streets, causing contamination for decades, while rural agricultural areas can have high levels of pesticides, Little added.

Experts say homes built before 1978 are most likely to contain lead-based paint, which can chip, peel and break down into dangerous dust. There are no safe levels of lead at any age, but children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of heavy metals and pesticides because of their smaller size and proximity to contaminants as they crawl, roll and play on the floors of their homes.

“For young children, direct hand contact is one of the primary routes of exposure to toxic substances and infectious agents,” said Little, co-author of “Reimagining Environments for Connection and Engagement: Actions to Test Social Prescriptions in Natural Spaces” “The person in charge. The project, funded by the European Union, aims to combat loneliness through natural spaces.

Mop the floor first

Experts say before asking people to take off their shoes, make sure the house is as dust-free as possible. Never vacuum or sweep first as this will only remove all the toxins and transfer them into the air. Instead, use a damp mop or spray mop. Although it may be counterintuitive to add water to dirt, it’s actually the best way to remove toxins, Little says.

The same applies to any horizontal surface, Filippelli says, but stay away from dusters. “Clean horizontal surfaces more regularly with a damp cloth, namely window sills, tables, coffee tables, chair bottoms, chair seats and other furniture, and floors.”

If you live in an older home with lead-based paint or in an area with high levels of outdoor lead, use the “three-bucket” method. Have one bucket filled with all-purpose cleaner, another for rinsing, and an empty bucket.

“Some people also use a very weak vinegar solution in the wash water, which works really well,” says Filippelli. “There are some super disinfectants on the market, but while the cleaners do kill germs, they tend to not be very good for us humans. Any time anything has a super strong smell, you have to think twice before using it. “

Dip the mop in the cleaning solution, twist the excess water into an empty bucket, and start mopping the floor furthest from the door. Walk toward the door, rinsing with clean water as you go. Flush water down the toilet when it looks dirty, or for each new room, rather than flushing it outside.

“The highest concentration of bacteria is at the interior entrance, and as we move away from this area, the levels of bacteria decrease,” Little explains. “Carpet contains a lot of dust, so if you’re concerned about dust and potential health issues, this would be one of the things you should eliminate.”

Carpeted areas should be vacuumed using a device with a high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter (rather than a bagless vacuum), and the bag or filter should be thrown away in an outdoor trash can when finished.

Consider guest comfort

Filippelli says taking off shoes at the door may be the best way to limit the entry of germs and potentially toxic dust, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider your guests’ comfort. Providing washable slippers or non-slip socks can be a thoughtful gesture.

“I don’t like walking around barefoot, so here’s my trick. I leave some warm slippers by the door; many other cultures do this as well,” she explains.

“In any Asian or even Middle Eastern home, there’s usually a little cubicle inside the door with washable slippers. You have to take off your shoes, grab the slippers, and put them on.”

Will this solve the problem of Carrie taking off her shoes? No, those problems are solved when he asks Kayla to buy some new manolos as a gift for Carrie’s upcoming wedding… for herself.

“Is that all you want?” Kayla asked the clerk as her children ran around the trendy Manolo Blahnik store on Madison Avenue.

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