Q: I like asking people to take off their shoes when they come over, but my husband says I’m being germ-phobic. Is it worth the effort?
A: Removing shoes at the front door in most Asian homes is a common tradition and is seen as a mark of respect. Here, in America, it’s not so common, but it’s something I’ve been trying to create as a habit in my own home. Shoes track in lead, pesticides and other pollutants which contaminate our carpets and floors. Stuff we track in from the outside can turn our home into a toxic place, especially for pets and young children who spend more time on the floor.

If you don’t take your shoes off, consider wiping them on a door mat. Or, set aside an entryway closet specifically for storing your shoes when you enter the house. If you enter from the garage, a shoe rack at the door makes it easy. You can always offer slippers to those who want to put something on their feet. Here are some benefits of removing your shoes:

  • Taking off your shoes at the door can be a symbol of leaving behind the harried world outside.
  • There’s less dirt and pollutants brought in from the outside.
  • Going bare foot feels good and is good for your circulation.
  • You’ll spend less time cleaning the floor.
  • Infants, young children and pets will inhale cleaner indoor air.

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Beth Greer, aka Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, green holistic health educator, healthy home expert and impassioned champion of toxin-free living. She’s also a radio talk show host, and trusted consumer advocate, who is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about healthy homes, schools and work environments. Connect with Beth on Facebook and Twitter.