Shoes tend to be a lot dirtier than clothing just by their very nature. As such, they’re more likely to carry bacteria and other contaminants into the home.
A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the novel coronavirus can live on the soles of shoes.
In the study, researchers took samples from the soles of shoes worn by members of the medical staff in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Wuhan, China.
They found that half the samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus strain that causes COVID-19.
These findings have led researchers to suggest that the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers of the disease.
Nonetheless, experts agree that shoes are an unlikely source of transmission of the novel coronavirus in most cases. And that’s because we already treat shoes how they should be treated.
“What we usually do with shoes is already protective. We don’t put our shoes on the kitchen table. We don’t put shoes in our mouths. They aren’t high touch areas. So, our daily patterns already reflect our management of shoes as dirty objects,” said Jordan.
But you can take additional safety measures to ensure that contaminants don’t enter your home by cleaning off your shoes and either leaving them at the door or designating an area safely away from social areas of your home in which to leave shoes and other outerwear.
“Taking off your shoes and cleaning them before you enter your home (and leaving them in your garage, washroom, or porch) would also be advisable. This will prevent you from introducing virus into your home from a simple trip to the grocery store. Just make sure you clean them outside your home or apartment, and let them dry naturally,” Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Healthline.
While concern has grown in recent weeks about the potential for different objects to transmit the virus, the simple fact is that direct transmission from person to person is still believed to be the primary form of exposure.
Therefore, continuing to maintain the CDC’s recommended prevention and hygiene tipsTrusted Source is still the best way to stay healthy.
“There is a minimal chance that [the novel coronavirus] can survive on your clothing or shoes and be transmitted to others. The bottom line is this: It’s person to person transmission, not clothing to person, or shoe to person transmission in any significant way,” said Glatter.