"Don't wear your shoes in the house!"
You've probably heard it many times from your mom. You thought, "yeah, yeah yeah" and begrudgingly took them off. Maybe a few times you forgot and wore them in the house but thought what's the big deal?
Turns out, it's a bigger deal than you probably thought. Researchers from the University of Houston released a new study that found 26.4 percent of shoes carry a bacteria called Clostridium difficile, also known as "C. diff."
C. diff is a dangerous bacterial strain that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to fatal infection.
For a recent study, Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, wore a new pair of shoes for two weeks, then analyzed the results. He found that 420,000 units of bacteria made themselves at home on the soles and another 3,000 units of bacteria landed inside the shoes. He repeated the experiment with 10 participants and got similar results.
Here's a sample menu of some of the disgusting bacteria found: E. coli, known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections; meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds.
In addition, this 2011 study found that our shoes track in dermatophytes, which are fungi that can cause infections of the skin, hair and nails.
So basically, the bad news is that by wearing shoes out in the world and continuing to wear them around your home, you're tracking in excrement, fungus and potentially deadly bacteria. The good news is that Gerba found that washing the shoes in the washing machine with a little detergent reduced the bacteria by 90 percent.
In the end, moms really do know best - take off your shoes in the house!