Think of everywhere you walk in a single day.

Maybe you went for a jog around the neighborhood, stopped by the grocery store, or visited a nearby park or beach.

Now, think of all the dirt and germs you picked up on your shoes in all those places. If you didn’t take those shoes off before moving around your home, you’ve just invited a whole host of dangerous bacteria to literally walk through your front door.

In the COVID-19 era, this presents a huge problem. Even if you and your household practice social distancing, wear masks in public, and wash your hands, there’s still a chance you could track the virus inside on your shoes. In fact, according to one study, half of an ICU’s staff’s shoes tested positive for coronavirus, and the floor of the hospital pharmacy where staff had walked had a 100% positivity rate.

It’s hard to imagine something as simple as a pair of shoes could carry disease-causing germs, but this bacteria can become a serious health threat if left unchecked. Read on for some surprising and startling facts about shoe bacteria, and why you might want to think twice about walking around your home wearing the shoes you wore outside.

1. There can be millions of bacterial organisms living on a single pair of shoes.

A study conducted by Good Morning America and the University of Arizona found that shoes are “dirtier than a toilet seat” – toilets typically contain 1,000 bacteria or less, compared to the 66 million found on one of the test subject’s shoes. The test also revealed nine different species of bacteria living on the bottom of people’s shoes, which can cause infections in the eyes, stomach, and lungs.

2. Most shoes are carrying feces.

Of the GMA tests conducted, nine out of 10 contained a type of bacteria found in human and animal waste, which is commonly picked up in public restrooms and in outdoor areas with bird and dog droppings. These microbes are able to thrive on shoes because of the nutrient-rich soil most people walk through.

Germs on Shoes3. The bacteria on your shoes might make you sick.

A separate study by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of a shoe and 2,887 on the inside. Among the disease-causing bacteria found on many shoes were:

  • E. coli (causes intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease)
  • Klebsiella pneumonia (causes wound and bloodstream infections and pneumonia)
  • Serratia ficaria (causes infections in the respiratory tract and wounds)

Other studies have shown the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (c-diff), multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, and other pathogens on the soles of shoes and non-skid socks.

4. Bacteria live longer on our shoes than other surfaces.

The more places we walk, the more we can pick up new germs and bacteria that feed the growth of the bacteria already there. The longer bacteria grows, the more dangerous and strong it becomes.

5. Up to 90% of the bacteria found on the bottom of the shoes transferred to the floor in a house. 

Germs will transfer to wood, linoleum, and carpet – and carpeting takes in even more germs because of its many nooks and crannies. If you have little ones at home who like to play on the floor, they might be particularly susceptible to picking up shoe bacteria.

6. Traditional mops won’t cut it when cleaning your floors.

If you clean your floors with a traditional mop, you’re not doing yourself any favors when it comes to eliminating shoe bacteria. Regular mops pick up those nasty germs and allow them to multiply and continue to spread around your home. Treated mops like the Everest Microbial Defense™ microfiber floor mop won’t allow those germs to survive in the mop, so you can be assured that you are doing your best to remove them and not spread them around your home.

If you’re concerned about shoe bacteria and other disease-causing germs in your home or workplace, the Scalzo team can help you disinfect hard-to-clean surfaces and maintain a cleaner, greener home. Get in touch with us today about your residential and commercial cleaning needs.