Traditionally, most Eastern and Asian families keep their shoes outside on their porch or tucked away in their garage, while tons of Western families don’t bat an eye before walking through their homes with their shoes on. In a recent study conducted by the University of Houston, however, it was found that 39% of shoes contained bacteria called Clostridium difficile, otherwise known as C. Diff. This bacteria is known to be resistant to many antibiotics today, and can lead to bad diarrhea, which can also progress to colon inflammation and further serious health problems. With it being resistant to many antibiotics, the likelihood of C. Diff progressing and becoming a more serious matter is very likely.

Another test, performed by Good Morning America, found that the bottom of shoes are dirtier than toilet seats. After this finding, Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, tested a brand new pair of shoes and found that within the first two weeks of wearing these shoes, 440,000 units of bacteria were found on the soles. Of those 440,000 units of bacteria, 27% were identified as the deadly E Coli bacteria.

If these facts aren’t scary enough, it has been found that most public restroom floors contain around 2 million bacteria per square inch – whereas the average toilet seat only contains about 50 per square inch. To put this into perspective, we walk along the floors of bathrooms, on sidewalks and streets, and everywhere else we must go during the day, and then walk inside our homes! Think about the shear amount of germs and bacteria you walked through in these public areas, and then proceeded to track inside your house. Beyond that, we let our young children play on these contaminated floors.

By simply removing shoes before entering, multiple forms of bacteria causing infections and inflammation of the colon, fecal matter, chemicals, petroleum (and so much more!) can be left behind your door. It’s a small habit to be mindful of, but one that can have enormous impact on the cleanliness of your home and the well-being of those who live inside it.