A really good reason why Asians never wear shoes in the house

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Next Shark:

Individuals who have ever stepped foot inside an Asian household probably know that shoes are not allowed.

Shoes are typically removed before entering homes for hygienic reasons — the amount of dirt and bacteria found on them are shockingly disgusting.

Approximately 421,000 different types of bacteria can be found on shoes, according to a 2008 study by the University of Arizona. Of the shoes examined in the study, 96% of them were found to have coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water that is also universally found in feces of humans and warm-blooded animals.

In addition, 27% of the shoes were found to have E. coli along with seven different kinds of bacterias. Among them are Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, a bacteria that causes respiratory infections.

Study author Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, explained:

“The common occurrence (96%) of coliform and E. coli bacteria 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 material outdoors. 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.”

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Bringing shoes into the house leads to a 90-99% chance of transfer of bacteria from dirty shoes to uncontaminated home floors.

If that doesn’t gross you out then this might: public restroom floors have an estimated 2 million bacteria per square inch. However, an average toilet seat has about 50 per square inch.

Kelly Reynolds, microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, said:

“We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E. coli.

“Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.”

Though with toxins and chemicals, repeat exposure during a lifetime will lead to health related illness.

If that doesn’t convince people to take off their shoes before going inside their house then perhaps washing shoes regularly with detergent will help. The University of Arizona study found that cleaning shoes in the washing machine will kill the presence of bacteria by at least 90%. Floors and carpets should also be disinfected with carpet cleaners such as a steam cleaner.

The best way though, is to keep those shoes out of the house!

 

102 thoughts on “A really good reason why Asians never wear shoes in the house

  1. I need to save this so I can show it to people who think I’m a weeaboo for making them take there shoes off when they come into my apartment. Thanks a bunch.

    • I can never get anyone to take there shoes off they they its ok to bring them in when its laminate flooring ..

    • What is a weeaboo? (ps… you have permission not to care about what people think about you.) Peace & Love

      • There people who love anime and japan so much that they becoming annoying obnoxious bags of shit who pretend to be Japanese. They go around saying there fluent in Japanese when really they only say shit like “kawaii desu ne” and eat only with chopsticks. Just obnoxious and idiotic fools. And please don’t let anyone tell you Otaku and Weeaboo are the same thing. There not.

  2. Having been there, and having married a Japanese girl, I can say that this has been going on so long, since before anyone knew there was bacteria. The reason was more like: The floors were/are made from tatami (reeds) in the rooms, and if you wear shoes, they would be destroyed in a matter of months.

      • THAT SIMPLE HUH? MAYBE FOR YOU SINCE IT SEEMS TO BE PART OF YOUR CULTURE BUT WHEN IT ISN’T IT’S JUST WEIRD AND TOO MUCH WORK . THE AIR WE BREATH AND FOOD WE EAT IS KILLING US SO I WOULD ASSUME YOU DON’T BREATH OR EAT. i AM NOT PUTTING IT DOWN , IT’S A WONDERFUL IDEA, IF THERE WEREN’T MORE DEADLIER THINGS INSIDE OUR HOMES THAT ARE JUST AS DISGUSTING AS THE BOTTOM OF SHOES OR WORST. NOW IF WE LIVED IN THE NETHERLANDS WHERE THE AIR IS CLEAN AND THE MAIN FOODS ARE FROM THEIR SEA AND FRESH MEAT THEN I WOULD WORRY ABOUT THE SHOES IN THE HOUSE. I WISH THE BOTTOM OF MY SHOES WERE THE ONLY OR ONE OF THE FEW THINGS I HAD TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM MAYBE

  3. Bacteria plural
    Bacterium singular
    Pls edit your article before posting. this is one reason you shouldnt believe everything that you read in the net. published or hard copies of articles, and books are still the better things to read these days. just saying 😉

    • If you are going to correct someone’s grammar. At least get your punctuation right, capital letters at the start of a sentence. Just saying.

      • Yes, it seems that those who critiques lack courtesy and kindness must know what comes aroung goes around. For example:

        “Pls” vs Please
        “this” vs This
        “shouldnt” vs shouldn’t
        “in the net” vs on the Internet
        “published” vs Published
        Published does not mean only hard copies. Look it up. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/publish
        A coma was not needed after the word “articles.”
        Saying, “the better things” is redundant because we already know books are things.
        “just saying” vs I am just saying. Which leaves us to wonder, what are you just saying? The sentence started with impropper use of “just” in this context and did not finish in thought.
        You forgot to double space after the period as well as not capatizing your sentences.
        Not only was the comment unthoughtful it was also thoughtless.

      • Does it really matter about their grammar, some people just do not have writing skills or might be handicapped. At least they are making the point. A good lesson you have just learned by not bashing people and not understanding their reasons. i am sure you have flaws too!

      • Well said. I had to read twice to understand that comment as “full-stops” weren’t too obvious without the caps showing the start of next sentence. 😉

      • And speaking of correct punctuation and capitals…
        If you are going to correct someone’s grammar, at least get your punctuation right. Sentences start with capital letters. Just saying. 😉

    • If you’re going to correct others, get your thoughts aligned as well. Whether an article is grammatically correct, or edited before posting, are not plausible reasons not to believe what’s posted in the net.

    • Two spaces after a period. New sentences start with a capital letter. Sentences end with a period. Abbreviated words are unfortunate.

      • Unless you’re typing on an actual typewriter, you no longer need to put 2 spaces after a period.

      • Sharon – actually, two spaces after a period is an old rule, from before we had word processors. The recommended standard in publishing today is one space.

  4. The fungus and dirt on feet is far worse than any bacteria on shoes. Bacteria on shoes dies almost immediately due to lack of warmth, being washed off when stepping in water, salt, snow, or chemicals. Walking around barefoot in a home can transmit fungus that can live on floors for decades and spread from person to person, including jock itch and athletes foot as well as toe and tongue fungus.

    • Funny, up here in eastern Canada, wearing shoes inside is very much NOT a thing and I haven’t heard anyone catching any of the things you mentioned off their floor. Don’t even try to make this a thing.

      • I’ve lived coast to coast and non of us here seem to wear shoes in our homes. I assume its an American thing.

    • this is y inside home slippers are recommended..
      u don’t walk barefoot.. ur just expected to take off ur outside shoes in exchange for our inside shoe rrserved fr out homes alone.
      also everybathroom has a pair of bathroom slippers outside it

      • sanya is ri8….
        actually it depends upon our qish dat whtr v hav to keep our house neat and clean…..

    • Not everyone has fungus on their feet. If you do I suggest you get it checked out. But they also came out with a invention called slippers and socks. Plus germs don’t die right away they can live up to 24 hours.

    • You’re supposed to step out of your shoes into a clean pair of slippers that are only worn in the home. I don’t want my granddaughter crawling on a floor that outside shoes have been on. Whatever you’re comfortable with – each person decides how their own home should be…it’s just an informative article

    • I disagree bare foot it’s great that why yoga is proform this way freedom to movement without, imagine how easy you can wiggle your toes

    • Actually, a doctor will advise you to NOT wear shoes indoors as much as possible if you get athlete’s foot as moisture only encourages the fungus. That fungus only spreads to other people from things like bath maths, certainly not hard floors.

      If you must wear shoes indoors, at least use a separate pair that is more breathable for your feet.

    • Taking off your shoes when entering someone’s home is not only the polite thing to do but it’s also a custom in my Korean home. We have slippers provided at the door (much like the photo) so no one has to go barefoot. I once had a friend who refused to take her shoes off and even wore them in my bed. Talk about rude. It’s courteous to follow the home owner’s rules when you’re a guest.

  5. It’s pretty common practice in Canada to not wear your shoes indoors. If for no other reason, it’s tracking snow around. Wiping your shoes just doesn’t do enough to get the snow out. AND, if your community uses salt to melt the snow, that gets tracked in too, and discolours carpets.

      • People with dogs don’t need to take shoes off as this their opinion to keep animals so follow their rules in their own house. Not in my house where I have no animals my rules under my roof. So it’s that simple

    • Can’t speak for others, but in the midwest US we wipe our dogs’ feet with a towel specifically reserved for them. It doesn’t get them as clean as changing from outside shoes to inside shoes, but it helps.

      • Living in NYC, we actually keep a pack of baby wipes at the entry… Dogs get their paws and bellies wiped down after every walk.

  6. People take their shoes off in Canada too. I’m always surprised when I see an American show where people walk right on in with their shoes on.

    • I’m American and ever since I was a kid the shoes came off at the door. I’m not sure it was a hygiene thing so much as no one liking to wear shoes, but as I got older and thought about all of the stuff we walk through outside it just icked me out no end. We never wear shoes in the house.

      • Mimi why say American shows? I’m sure all shows do it. Since I am American I find this a bit insulting.

    • Not here to stir shit, or suggest this isn’t done or anything like that, just wanted to say that, I married a Canadian and moved up from the US. From personal observance, I have yet to been asked to take off shoes to enter a residence, nor have I seen this practice used by the homes I visited.. are B.C., Alberta & Ontario just not participating?? I figure if anyonw would pick up and run with this trend, it would be Vancouver, where I have picked up residence. Maybe I just know dirty people XD

      • Grew up in Toronto, lived in Vancouver for a while and have traveled extensively from east to west. The vast majority of Canadians take their shoes off at the door as a standard including in all of the provinces you mention.

        I do have some friends for whom it is less of a big deal (often hard wood floors and dogs) but they would be the minority.

  7. We all do this is Hawaii too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Asian or not. It is customary to remove all footwear used outdoors when entering any home unless the homeowner is a recent transplant from the mainland.

    • I lived in Hawaii as a kid for a few years. We took our shoes off at everyone’s house. I’ve been wanting to do it with my kids for awhile now. That’s it..I’m bringing it back. Shaka!

    • Your cat uses a litter box that it poop’s and pee’s in then walks around the house spreading the germs for you.

      • Good point. Outdoor cats can’t be much better than indoor cats. It’s hard to keep up with wiping a cat’s feet every time they enter the house (from the bathroom and/or outside). At least cats are more careful about touching poop and pee than dogs are. Dogs (at least our former dogs) will step in it, touch it when they sniff it, eat/drink it, etc. without a second thought. I have no realistic fool-proof solutions to offer for cats & dogs in the home.

  8. But this does not indicate if the practice nakes people healthier! Place holder bacteria might keep the bad stuff awsy!

  9. When I wipe the bottom of my shoes that I wore outside I am always amazed at the amount of dirt of them when I use a paper towels with hot water !!! Try it the next time you check them while walking around your home in them on .????

  10. So the floor is dirty and has bacteria that you cant see… thats dangerous how? Unless people eat off their floors. Theres bacteria everwhere, on your tv remote, on your couch, on your phone/tablet/mouse that your holding right now. Some people need to stop being such wusses

    • As an uncle with twin 10 month old nieces, it is a problem when they try to put everything in their mouths. A baby eating something with dog/cat fecal bacteria on it or human urine bacteria is definitely not good.

    • It’s more or less dangerous, but it’s more importantly FREAKIN DISGUSTING. The ground can’t even remotely be compared to the walls or any other surface. People spit on the ground. Birds poop and it falls on the ground. Dogs pee and poop. There’s literally DIRT all over the ground. People chew gum and them just spit it out anywhere. Are those things that are commonly on any other surface? Why would you want to bring that into your home? Who knows? Maybe a drunk man peed on the ground outside. And you stepped on it without knowing. And what if you come in after it just rained? Or snow slush? You still don’t take off your shoes?? Even if your floor’s not carpet, it’s just disgusting.

  11. It is polite to not wear your shoes in someone’s home. I get annoyed when people do not think to do that whey they enter my home. It is annoying. Yes, I live in the U.S.
    However, the comment about the different bacteria… Exposure to bacteria helps your immune system. In fact, read this article about dogs and the bacteria they track in… http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/09/study-why-dogs-and-cats-make-babies-healthier/

    Parasites and fungus… different story. I suppose we should not do outdoor sports. The chance that we get dirty and that an animal might have…

    Take of your shoes so you do not track in dirt to someone’s home and so that your shoes do not damage wood floors! 😉

    • I don’t care to wear shoes in my own home. If a person knows the custom of your house is to take them off & does, fine…however, to ask people to take their shoes off seems kind of rude. Some people are not comfortable without their shoes, or perhaps want them to accentuate their outfit. If guests annoy you when their shoes are not off, you should probably just not have company.

      • When guests enter, I would just politely show them, “You could put your shoes over here” and let them choose to follow suit or not. And offer them clean house slippers if you have any. True, if they do something the home owner doesn’t like, they don’t have to be invited in again.

  12. Due to a medical condition, I cannot take my shoes off & still walk (the shoe holds on my ankle brace). Could shoe covers work instead, and what would I do if I went to someone’s house who didn’t have that alternative? I wouldn’t want to be impolite, but….

    • I don’t know if it would work for you but you could keep some shoe coverings with you if you were anticipating visiting someone.

    • Start carrying your own shoe covers (probably available at a drug store that sells surgical supplies); I carry slipper socks when I go to my niece’s house where they request shoe removal at the door.

      • I suppose I could, but considering that in my 53 years of life I’ve encountered exactly one home where the householders requested that I remove my shoes, I’m going to put the burden on the rare shoeless folks to supply necessities rather than carry shoe covers around until I die with virtually no chance of needing to use them.

  13. For medical reasons, I must wear shoes. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to others’ wishes, but slippers will not cut it for me.

  14. Nobody mentioned high heels. I’ve had holes punched in my floors from them. Now that’s damage uncalled for. I did notice the Asian homes appear to have slippers one can put on rather than going barefoot.

  15. Think about it. The biggest health problems today stem from “protecting” ourselves from the normal, everyday exposure to things like common bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This is what builds our immune systems and actually makes us healthier!!

  16. It’s fucking common sense. Even a Monkey with down syndrom would know that. Humanity has probably known it for hundred of years. Why the hell this is even here now ?

  17. Been to a bunch of open houses lately… lemme tell you one thing…

    Houses where shoes are OKAY… well, they are usually disgusting, and sometimes worse… Houses where there are no shoes allowed inside, well… most of them are quite nice.

    Depends on how much you like your home I guess.

    • Ours are kept right by the entrance. If space is tight, seasonal shoes can be stored in closets. Whatever you find convenient for your home.

  18. I’m Asian, and it’s not really about “bacteria” :)). Well, we just dont want our floor to be dirty.

  19. The reason which I heard a lot of asain people do this is to keep the outside world separated from home life

  20. This is true….when visiting my in-laws in Thailand, shoes are left outside however being the house is all tiled floors ,they will sweep it up to 3 times a day.

  21. i totally agree w this article. but alsomust add that we must also stress importance of hand washing y take care not to shake hands. it is a very unsanitary practice as few people wash hands after using toilert and often put fingers n nose and pick on pimples.

  22. Shoes are not allowed in my house past the front door. I have a runner at the front door where you take your shoes off. No shoes are allowed past that EVER. It’s not hard.

  23. Asians remove their shoes because they damage the tatami mat floors. This goes back centuries before any knowledge of bacteria.

    Further, this obsession with protection from germs produces weak humans. The constant hand washing, taking off of shoes at the door, and sanitizing everything produces a body incapable of dealing with bacteria.

  24. I always take mine off and I clean my shoes with “Sneaker Venom”. It is a natural cleaner that does not mess them up like putting them in the washing machine. I scrub the bottoms with the brush that it comes with.

  25. You’re right. In almost all Asian’s houses (particularly the ones I know) they remove their shoes before entering the house.

  26. Do these people not have pets that go outside and then drag in dirt? If I did not wear shoes, I would be collecting the random dog hair and dirt from outside on my feet unless I just followed the dogs around with a broom all day. Not gonna happen. And besides, I wear slip on flats. My feet are just as dirty as the bottoms of my shoes. So I’m not taking them off.

  27. I thought u take your shoes off at the door because people have nice houses. I guess if you live in a shit house then leave your shoes on. If u actually have a nice house they why would u where shoes from out side all over a clean house? Some people live like peasants and some dont. That simple

  28. Haha I just had to say something. I have read about 50 comments and I’ve read 4 different Canadians say 4 different things, I’ve read one person from the Midwest say one thing, while another said another thing, I’ve read two Hawaiians say two different things and I’ve read several other comments that contradict each other. The fact is that in different people’s homes people do different things. I have lived in several different places having been a military wife and brat for the last 33 years and most of them have been in the US from Alaska to South Carolina and I was born in Japan. I always just ask if someone wants me to remove my shoes because I know some people don’t mind and I know others do. In most of our houses we have had people remove their shoes, mainly because we had carpet and cleaning the carpets is a pain especially if there is something on your shoes that stains it. Here in SC though I don’t mind people wearing their shoes in our house as long as they stay downstairs because we have hardwood floors except on the stairs and in our bedrooms but we also don’t have kids that crawl around anymore either and we do have a dog that tracks stuff in all the time. When we lived in WI and NE we never cleaned our dogs paws but living here, if it’s been raining, we always do since the mud and dirt is red and we don’t want it to stain the carpet. For Asians it’s a cultural thing but in America there are obviously a lot of different people that do different things and that’s their right. Just ask before you enter a home and do what you feel is right for you and your family. Like I said, I don’t mind but I don’t have kids crawling around on the floor and I clean my floors at least once a week, when I had crawling babies I did mind and I cleaned my floors a lot more frequently. But just do you. ☺️

  29. Keeps your immune system robust. lol People are too paranoid about germs and bacteria. They’re a normal part of our environment and our bodies.

  30. People should think about what kind of germs you might get on your feet from their dirty floors. Also, herbicides such as round up get on your shoes and that stuff does not go away, so no shoes is good. But please clean your floors.

  31. I also live on Oahu (Ewa Beach) here ‘s the thing a good friend of mines bought a home in this neighborhood and he’s (Caucasian) from the East Coast. His mother recently moved to the islands soon after. Being that I was born and raised on Oahu, and coming from an Asian background I never could fully understand how anyone would want to wear their shoes, flip flops in anyone’s home on island. My friend told me that he being from the mainland everyone does this due to the extreme cold weather and keeping your shoes on was a must in everyone’s home that he knew. I asked him have you ever thought about where you walk or when you go places in town say for example using a public bathroom and there is urine on the floor and you step on this then go home only to have your shoes still on.

    The amount of bacteria is in my mind thinking of all that crap in your entire home etc. Not to mentioned my friends mother does this also as she tells me that she wipes her shoes, flip flops before entering her home with a cloth. Honestly, its really disgusting as I actually told my friend you should try and practice this method of removing ones shoes, flip flops before entering anyone’s home in the islands just so that you won’t get a stink eye from your host.

    Better yet, if you do remove your shoes just remember to take the same shoes you left, over taking someone else’s because someone might have a better looking shoe then yours! lol

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