One Simple Change You Can Make to Your Entryway to Help Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

published May 1, 2020
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Good hygiene isn’t just about washing your hands and wearing a mask. The clothes you wear can spread germs, too. Viruses, including the one that causes COVID-19, can live on surfaces long enough to potentially infect you or someone else, for instance, if they touch the surface and then touch their face.

Recent research in the New England Journal of Medicine found the novel coronavirus can remain viable on certain surfaces, like plastic and stainless steel, for up to 72 hours. Up until recently, there wasn’t any research specific to how long germs can linger on certain types of clothing, including shoes, but researchers in China found evidence of the coronavirus embedded in the shoes of hospital workers who had worked with COVID-19 patients.

Maybe you’ve always been in the “shoes don’t belong inside” camp. Maybe you just started taking your shoes off at the door when your self-quarantine started to avoid bringing germs inside to the rest of your floors. Either way, you’re doing the right thing, and you might even want to start going a step further by ditching your dirty shoes outside your front door or quarantining your footwear to a specific area of your home. 

Even if you don’t work in a hospital or haven’t been around obviously sick people, taking off your shoes outside the door when you come home from essential errands or work is a simple practice that can help prevent outside germs from ever entering your home. If you have a covered porch or share a hallway with neighbors you can trust, consider ditching your shoes outside the door. Set up a shoe rack or bin where you can cast off shoes when you come home.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

If you don’t have a safe, secure place outside the front door to leave your shoes, dedicate a “shoe quarantine” space in your entryway or in a closet. It could be as simple as an “outside shoes” rack or just a corner that you mark off (mentally, or physically with something like painter’s tape). Make sure that everyone who comes inside immediately removes and stores their shoes within the “shoe quarantine” zone. You get bonus points if your shoes and storage allow for you to kick your shoes off in the area without ever touching them, but if you have to use your hands, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands after you remove your shoes by the door.

If you or someone else steps into another part of your home with shoes on, practice targeted hygiene by disinfecting the floor with a steam cleaner or a mop and disinfectant. 

It may seem like a simple task, but keeping on top of these easy hygiene practices during a pandemic could be the difference between spreading or not spreading the virus.