Growing up my mom always asked my siblings and my dad to take off our shoes when we entered the house. Sadly, we always ignored her, and to her dismay, she was constantly sweeping, vacuuming, and the carpets always looked dirty. Now that I’m older, wiser, and a homeowner, I realize how expensive it is to keep your place clean and how much stuff costs, like new flooring, a rug, and cleaning your carpets. I feel bad that I caused so much extra work for my mom by not listening to her when she asked us to take off our shoes. I’m sorry mom, I was wrong!
Being a busy mom, working from home, and baby #2 due any day now, my time is stretched thin. I don’t have a lot of time, and keeping and maintaining a clean and beautiful home is really important to me and my family. I believe that there’s a different spirit in the home when a house is clean. I can’t function when the house looks like a bomb went off, when there’s crumbs and dirt stains all over the floor, and surfaces are sticky. When my house is clean I’m more productive, and I’m happier. By keeping a clean home, I’m teaching my children the importance of being clean and cleanliness in a home.
This last year my husband and I have invested in our home by doing some upgrades such as installing new flooring and bought a nice area rug for our family room. This rug is special to me because I worked really hard to get it and it was the ONLY rug my husband and I could agree on for this space. The other thing about this rug is it has white in it, along the borders and throughout the design. Not the most child friendly, but I was determined to make this rug work with our family.
Since last year I’ve really emphasized to my husband, daughter, family, friends, and guests that our home is a place where you take off your shoes. I have many reasons for this but the main one is because I don’t have a ton of time to clean or the money to hire someone to clean for me. So by doing this small act of taking off our shoes, I’ve noticed our house stays clean longer. The floors don’t need to be swept or mopped as much, and my rug has avoided a lot of dirt stains.
Secondly, I want to keep my floors, rug, and furnishings nice. I know some people will laugh at the statement while raising small children because they don’t find it realistic. Well, I’m one who likes to define the odds by showing that yes, you can have nice things in your home with small kids. I’m for teaching your children to treat their home with respect.
Lastly, it’s for health reasons. If you think about where your shoes have been in the last day or two and think about trekking that throughout your house, it makes me want to throw up. There’s dirt, gunk, and toxic chemicals that are on the bottom of our shoes, and I don’t want to have my kids rolling around in it on my floor.
I wanted to get some other people’s opinions on this debate, so I asked our Facebook followers the following question: Do you wear your shoes inside your house or leave them at the door? Do you ask guests to take their shoes off? Why or why not?
It was pretty split down the middle, but here are some of the responses:
Kellie H- “We typically leave them at the door, and because guests see shoes there, they often remove them on their own. I rarely request that someone remove shoes–only children. I don’t get upset if people don’t.”
Adrienne B- “We don’t take them off. But I have thought about making everyone (except guests) to take them off just to keep the floor cleaner. I don’t even want to know what kind of gunk we track in. Even if we did, I wouldn’t make guests do it. There’s nothing worse than going to someone’s house and having to to take off your shoes and realizing you wore your hole-y socks or you have your jeans tucked into your socks for boot season!”
Jessica R- “I ALWAYS take my shoes off when I’m at someone else’s home!! I grew up that way, and I continue to do it out of respect. I like when people do it just because I think it shows courtesy!”
Briton A- “We just bought a new home and I am going to politely ask people to remove shoes when they come in. Shoes are SO dirty and while most of our home is hardwood, we do have some carpet (two flights of stairs and a flex room) that is on the lighter and cheaper side! I want to get as much life out of it as possible! Also, I’d like to keep the germs on the shoes contained to one spot, if I can. We have a hard enough time staying healthy during the cold months!”
Debbie J- “I wear my shoes but my family takes them off. I have had several issues with my feet and it’s hard for me to go without shoes. I do take my shoes off at others houses (and have on occasion brought a pair of slippers with a good sole to put on).”
After much research I’ve found that my stance on taking off shoes in my house and in other people’s homes is not only being a polite, but a health issue. This article from The Stir (I’ve copied and pasted parts of the article below, to read the entire article go here) perfectly sums up the four health reasons why I don’t want people wearing shoes in my house.
1. “Wearing shoes inside leaves residue from pesticides. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the soil and stains tracked into homes on the bottoms of dirty shoes contains a lot more than just that annoying old dirt.
In fact: ‘Pesticides used around the home persist in dust, and those used on lawns, gardens, and nearby farms end up in soil and are tracked into the house on shoes and pets.'”
2. “Carcinogens are on the bottoms of your shoes. YES, yours. Coal tar, used in many parking lots, inadvertently gets on the soles of even the most fastidious of shoe-sporting guests. According to the United States Geological Survey:
‘The pavement of many parking lots is coated with coal-tar-based sealcoat, which is marketed to increase the longevity of the underlying asphalt and improve appearance. Car tires grind the dried sealcoat to a fine powder that is a potent source of polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The sealcoat particles wash down storm drains, are blown onto adjacent soil and pavement, and are tracked into homes on the soles of shoes.'”
3. “Lead. The EPA recommends that everyone take off their shoes before entering homes because soil that contains traces of lead can be brought inside.
Lead and children DO NOT mix. Lead poisoning is very dangerous and can cause life-long ill effects.”
4. Dirt. I can’t afford to pay someone to come and clean my house. So I’m left to clean every speck of dust, dirt, stain, and grim in my house. Cleaning takes up a huge chunk of my day. I normally spend 1-2 hours daily just keeping the house look decent. We also have a dog, he’s very clean and doesn’t shed, but with him wiping his paws and dirty butt all over my couch and rug. Pretty much, I have my hands full with cleaning my house, without dirty shoes walking all over my floors.
I absolutely agree with the statement from this article, “In a nutshell, is it REALLY too much to ask you remove your footwear so I can save my child from these toxins and from making my house less messy?”
The other issue many of us who want to enforce the “no shoe” policy in our home is how do you ask people to take off their shoes without coming across as a bitch? At the beginning I felt like one every time I asked someone to take off their shoes. I found over time, the more I practiced, the more confidence I gained in myself to ask people to take off their shoes. I’m here to show you how you can do it without looking like a controlling lunatic. I’ve compiled 12 different ways you can ask your guests to take off their shoes in your home, both directly and indirectly.
1. Put a sign up
A good way to get the point across is to put a sign up. Hopefully people will see the sign and get the hint that they need to take their shoes off. You don’t have to have a sign attached to your door, here are some creative sign ideas for your home.
2. Have a designated spot to put shoes
If you want to keep your house more orderly, have a place where people can place their shoes when they come into your house. You can use a basket, a tray, or use one of these creative ways.
3. Create a mudroom
I’m the poster child of how you can create a functioning mudroom in a small space. Check it out here. My mudroom is a place where my family and I can take off our shoes, and another place where our guests have a place to sit, take off their shoes, and hang up their stuff. No matter how small your space, you can create a designated spot like this.
4. Just ask
Be as nice and polite as you can be when you ask. Be casual about it and make sure you have confidence when you ask. Be firm and put some humor in it. Here are some polite ways you can ask your guests to take off their shoes. I find when I explain or give them a good reason for asking them to take off their shoes, I don’t have anyone get offended. If you ask and they don’t listen, try not to let it ruin your day or night. One dirty pair of shoes isn’t going to destroy your floor. For an example you can say the following:
“Do you mind taking off your shoes,
You can finish the sentence with the following
1. I just cleaned and mopped the floor. I really appreciate it!
2. We just got the carpets cleaned and I want to keep them clean.
3. We’re trying to keep our floors cleaner from all the dirt coming into the house.
4. Trying to keep our home cleaner and healthier for our baby (kids).
5. Trying to avoid our baby crawling in dirt, dust, and toxins.
6. We don’t wear shoes in the house. Thank you so much.
5. Have socks or slippers for guests to wear
Some people might have a good reason why they don’t feel comfortable taking off their shoes in your home. They could have a foot fungus, plantar fasciitis, or haven’t received a good pedicure in a long time. Whatever the reason is it’s really thoughtful to have an option for your guests for those who don’t like baring their feet. Asking your guests to take off their shoes and offering them a pair of socks to wear instead is another way you can tell them, shoes off, please. Get some plush socks that have no skid on the bottom in a bunch of different sizes. I really like these.
Remember, your house is your home and you set the rules at your house. It’s never rude to enforce rules in your home. If people don’t follow your rules, they’re the ones being rude and disrespectful for not caring about you as an individual and the rules you’ve set place in your home.
I hope this article will encourage you to have a no shoe home or give you the confidence that you can ask guests to take off their shoes in a classy, polite, and non awkward ways. I would love to get your thoughts on whether or not you think it’s rude to asks guests to take off their shoes. If you do, how do you ask? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this debate.