They say it takes 3 weeks to make a habit, right? We have about that much time left in winter, so why not get in the habit now of not wearing shoes inside your house. Yeah, I know, I know sometimes it’s a pain in the neck to remember to take your shoes off when you get home. Or you have flat feet and it actually hurts to walk without shoes. Or your feet get cold. Or you don’t have a pair of “indoor shoes.” I know all of the excuses. But did you know that wearing your shoes inside your house exposes you and your family to a bunch of nasty, often toxic residues? Yup.
Here’s what can typically be found on the bottom of an average pair of shoes after a stroll around town:
- Dirt (obviously!)
- Salt used to melt the snow and ice
- Insect fragments (gross!)
- Gas (didn’t you fill up your car recently at a gas station where there were dribbles of gas everywhere?)
- Pesticides from your yard (or if you don’t spray, what about your neighbor’s yard or the green in front of the bank…you get the idea)
- Dog feces (ewww!)
- Lead particles (this is the bad one!)
- E. coli (No lie. Rockport shoe company and the University of Arizona, found that junk picked up on a regular pair of shoes, after 14 days wear, accommodates a whole host of bacteria, including E. coli. Bleh!)
And why is winter the best time to start this habit? Because there’s a greater likelihood you are wearing shoes or boots that you normally wouldn’t be wearing inside anyhow (compared to those flip-flops you wear the other three seasons). 85% of the dirt in our home comes from tracking it in on our feet (or our animal’s paws)!
Another benefits to not wearing your shoes inside other than your health? Your house will stay cleaner for longer — and don’t we all love that!
Don’t be fooled into buying those cute little air fresheners at the grocery store, even if they look totally “green” they’re probably full of crap like benzene and other nasty, toxic chemicals.
Check out what Scientific American had to say about your typical drugstore air freshener:
“Some of the most offensive ingredients—volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene and formaldehyde—can cause headaches and nausea and aggravate asthma, and have been linked to neurological damage and cancer. Perhaps even more worrisome, though, are dispersants known as phthalates that cause hormonal and reproductive issues, birth defects and developmental disorders. A 2007 review by the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 12 out of 14 widely available air fresheners contained phthalates. Some of the air fresheners that tested positive for phthalates were labeled as “all-natural” or “unscented.””
What to do?
First, just like that toxic Teflon pan you have, throw them out! And then if you have something in your house that’s smelling bad, open a window and then then put out a small bowl of white vinegar to absorb lingering odors. According to Rodale, “Beeswax candles are great alternatives to scented candles and actually help clean your indoor air by producing negative ions.”
Open windows, vinegar and beeswax candles. Sounds like a simple solution to me!
Ok, I know what you’re thinking…who has time to even polish their furniture, much less make the polish. I get it. But like all the other nasty cleaning products on the market, furniture polish is made with petroleum distillates and solvents. And why would you want that on the gorgeous wood table you eat from every night or rubbed onto your favorite end-table or the legs of all of your chairs? Bleh!
Here’s the recipe: 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice.
Yup, that’s it. Just mix well, apply to a soft cotton rag and rub into your furniture. Your wood will glow and your house will be filled with a natural, non-toxic hint of lemon verus the toxic fumes from petroleum-based product.