Saturday, 28 June 2008

Tips to keep your footwear germ free

Deutsch: SportschuhImage via WikipediaDo you know we pick up millions of germs each day? Consider about the amount of dirt you have collected on your shoes, which alone carry hundreds of thousands of germs and bacteria and can track them everywhere you walk? So, just what are you stepping in?

The average shoe carries 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside and 2,887 bacteria units on the inside, a recent study, conducted by the University of Arizona and The Rockport Company, found. Some of the bacteria found include those that cause intestinal and bloodstream infections, bacterial meningitis and pneumonia.

“The common occurrence of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material out of doors,” says Chuck Gerba, microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona. “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.”

Think about all the places your shoes have been today – the locker room at the gym, through the park with the dog, the restroom at the office, the post office and, finally, your carpet at home. And that’s just the outside of your shoes. The inside of your shoes is a high-friction environment where skin cells can rub off your feet and accumulate. What’s worse, fungus eats dead skin cells and can easily grow in such a warm, moist environment.

Tava Smiley, former host of TLC’s Clean Sweep, offers some simple tips to keep your footwear germ-free:

* Take shoes off before entering your home or any personal space. The study found that up to 99 percent of bacteria can transfer from shoes to uncontaminated areas. This also helps to keep your home’s floors free of excess dirt and grime.

* Wear washable shoes, such as Rockport’s new Machine Washable Collection, and clean them on a regular basis. The study found that simply washing shoes with detergent reduced bacteria on the inside of a shoe by 90 percent and on the outside of a shoe by 99 percent. To learn more about Rockport Washables, log on to

* Use a deodorizing refresh spray that is scientifically formulated to deodorize and refresh all your footwear. Sprays contain special anti-bacterial agents which neutralize odor-causing bacteria and, with regular use, will keep your shoes smelling and looking their freshest.
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