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The item of clothing you should never bring into your home

Indy 100 logoIndy 100 07/08/2017 Mimi Launder

© Provided by Independent Print Limited Demanding guests to take their shoes off at your door may seem strict, but it is worth nagging them if you want your home to stay clean. 

The UK has a relaxed approach to shoes on the carpet, but the Japanese etiquette of taking them off right away is the right idea according to science.

Unsurprisingly for anyone who has even glanced at the ground, your shoes are coated in dirt. 

Like really covered. 

After wearing a new pair of shoes for just two weeks, University of Arizona microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba found 440,000 units of bacteria on the soles.

And it wasn't because Dr Gerba lives in a particularly dirty neighbourhood. His team discovered nine different species of bacteria on the shoes of people randomly selected for a study. 

You might recognise some members from the crowd of microorganisms detected: Escherichia coli, which causes infections, meningitis and diarrhoea; and Klebsiella pneumonia, which is responsible for pneumonia (of course), as well as bloodstream and wound infections.

In a statement to CIRI Science, Dr Gerba said:

"The common occurrence (96 per cent) of coliform and E. coli on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal matter. Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria."

The unpalatable revelations don't stop there: it turns out viruses thrive better on shoes than on toilets. 

Thankfully, simply washing the shoes with detergent was found to eliminate faecal bacteria and reduce all bacteria by 90 per cent or more. 

Next time, leave your dirty trainers and dishevelled fashion statement at the door.

Related: Why You Should Paint Your Kitchen Yellow (provided by Real Simple)

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