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Is it time for a strict shoes at the door policy?

It can feel uncomfortable asking guests over the age of five to take their shoes off at the front door, but it may be worth the fuss, according to an American microbiologist.

After wearing a new pair of shoes for just 14 days, University of Arizona professor Dr Charles Gerba found an astounding 440,000 units of bacteria on the soles, Indy100 reports. 

And if you’re thinking this could just be a case of bad luck, or dirty pavements, Dr Gerba and his team carried out the same bacteria tests on the shoes of randomly selected people and found similar results. 

The germs found included Escherichia coli, linked to infections, meningitis and diarrhoea; and Klebsiella pneumonia, responsible for pneumonia. 

Speaking to CIRI Science, Dr Gerba explained: ‘The common occurrence (96 percent) 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.’

And if you can’t bring yourself to ask for shoes off at the door, then you can ask guests to thoroughly wash their shoes with detergent on entry as this was found to eliminate the fecal bacteria and reduce all bacteria by 90% or more.

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