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6 Reasons to Remove Your Shoes Before Walking on Hardwood Floors

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6 Reasons to Remove Your Shoes Before Walking on Hardwood Floors

You want to keep your polished hardwood floors looking brand new for years to come. But it can be tricky, if not impossible, to shield them from the wear and tear of everyday use.

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While imperfections are inevitable, there are plenty of ways homeowners can mitigate the damage. Wondering how to stop shoes from leaving scuff marks, for example? The solution is simple: stop wearing shoes inside!

Walking on hardwood floors barefoot is a practical way to extend their shelf life — here are three reasons why.

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1. Stop Scratches in Their Tracks

The beauty of a hardwood floor is its shiny surface, showing off the natural wood. Every scrape and scratch is an unfortunate mar to your hardwood, so you want to keep them to a minimum.

Shoes with sharp or pointed edges, such as high heels, can easily scratch your hardwood and leave marks that will accumulate over time. Even flat shoes are likely to have tiny pebbles, sticks or other debris stuck underneath that can damage your hardwood floors. Leaving your shoes at the door will minimize scratching and give your floors a longer, healthier lifespan.

2. Prevent Water Damage

Your shoes tell a story of the day’s weather, from rainy days to snowstorms. When you wear shoes in the house, you track this weather with you, leaving water to collect in puddles or snow and ice to melt into the floor. This can cause water damage to your hardwood flooring, potentially resulting in warping. Instead of risking water damage by wearing shoes on hardwood floors, stick to socks or indoor slippers.

3. Keep Your Floors Clean

Wearing outdoor shoes on your hardwood floors increases the amount of dirt and bacteria that you track inside. Approximately 90 percent of the germs on your shoes can transfer to your floor — why risk it?

Kicking your shoes off at the door will keep your floors cleaner. Without the dirt, dust and debris you’d otherwise bring inside, you’ll need to vacuum and sweep your floor less often. Over time, this will save your hardwood from being worn down and lengthen the time before it needs to be refinished.

4. Keep Toxins Out

In addition to the dirt and grime, your shoes can track in harmful toxins. If you fertilize your garden or spray pesticides on your flowers, you may track in dangerous chemicals that can seep into the nooks and crannies of your hardwood floors, causing health problems for you and your family.

Roads and sidewalks can also be covered in toxic materials. If you walk across asphalt sealed with coal tar, your shoes can pick up harmful chemicals. Gasoline that leaks onto the road can also stick to your shoes and get tracked onto your hardwood floors. These substances can collect on your floor and eventually come in contact with your skin. The resulting health effects range from minor rashes to serious conditions like cancer.

5. Protect Your Family’s Health

Keeping your floor clean by removing your shoes will protect your hardwood floors and your family’s health. Babies, young children and pets spend a large portion of their time on the floor, where unhealthy bacteria, toxins and filth can collect. Your shoes can track in pollen and other allergens, which may affect family members with respiratory conditions. Little hands and paws collect dirt and germs from the floor, which often end up in their mouths or touching other surfaces in the house. Removing your shoes will prevent harmful substances from spreading around your home.

You may also consider going barefoot, which can be healthy for your feet. Taking your shoes off lets your feet breathe and stretch freely without the confinement of socks, shoes and sneakers. A shoe-free household will be cleaner, healthier and have longer-lasting hardwood floors.

6. Reduce Loud Noises

No matter what shoes you are wearing, walking across a hardwood floor can create quite a racket. High heels make a distinct clicking sound while sneakers release a high-pitched squeak against the wood. These noises may seem minor on their own, but when an entire family runs around with their shoes on, it can create a cacophony of irritating sounds.

Walking barefoot on wood floors will soften your footsteps so that you can walk around in peace and quiet. Your home will feel calm and relaxed without the sound of flip-flops slapping the ground. Leave your shoes at the door and enjoy the serenity of a barefoot household.

Tips to Help Keep a Barefoot Household

Once you realize how going without shoes helps keep your hardwood scuff-free, you’ll want to put this habit into practice! Keep your home shoe-free by applying these pointers:

  • Have a shoe area right beside the door for easy access when entering or exiting the house
  • Keep a doormat right outside each entrance
  • Have slippers or house shoes available by the door

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