Q. My daughter’s husband and two sons are barefoot guys. They walk all around the house and outside in the gardens in their bare feet. When they come in they put their feet on upholstered furniture, sometimes even on pillows where they are going to put their faces.
They also have a cat that has the run of the house. I am concerned about germs. Am I being too picky?
A. We think you are being prudent. We recently interviewed Charles Gerba, PhD, the “guru of germs.” Dr. Gerba is a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. He has studied bathrooms, kitchen sinks, computer keyboards and now shoes.
Dr. Gerba has found that shoes are frequently contaminated with bacteria that could cause disease. If shoes can track fecal bacteria into the house, so can bare feet. Your daughter’s guys should rinse their feet when they come inside to avoid spreading germs on couches and pillows. The rest of us may want to follow the Japanese custom of leaving shoes at the door.