Tips to Maintain Healthy Feet and Shoe Hygiene
Ways To Treat Your Feet and Footwear Right
With the outbreak of Covid-19 and the number of coronavirus cases on the rise, it is a timely reminder to maintain proper hygiene for a healthier environment. While washing and keeping our hands clean is vital, here are five tips to minimise and keep your exposure to bacteria and viruses to the minimal for healthier feet.
Tip #1: Do Not Wear Your Shoes Indoor
There are two types of people – those who wear their footwear indoor and those who do not. While seemingly harmless, its worth noting that an average shoe sole carries 421,000 different kinds of bacteria including faecal bacteria, E.coli and many more. Here’s the disturbing and gross fact why you must stop wearing your shoes in your home - poop transfer.
It has been found that 93 percent of shoes that are worn more than a month contains faecal bacteria on the outsoles. This should not be a surprise as we step on pet waste on public grounds and step on splashes from the washrooms in public restroom floors. 90 per cent of these bacteria and other microorganism are transferred to clean floors instantly when you step into the comfort of your home. Shoes are home to bacteria and can lead to the accumulation of dirt and grime in confined space like our home. For parents with small kids crawling around and sticking things into their mouths, it pays to err on the safe side.
While some shoes can be disinfected if they are washable as per the care instructions, let’s face it, how many of us do wash our shoes to simply walk indoor.
Solution: Practise a shoeless home and keep them outdoors! Designate an area by your house porch to drop your shoes before entering the house. Invest in a shoe rack to keep things tidy too. If you are still adamant to wear your shoes indoors whatever the reason is – convenience etc, consider investing an antimicrobial doormat that clear most of the debris and germs on the outsoles.
Tip #2: Clean Your Shoe Closet
Shoes should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not literally wait till spring cleaning! It is vital to give your wardrobe (be it a clothes wardrobe or shoe closet) an occasional good clean, declutter and reorganise your footwear. Accumulating a messy pile of shoes attract germs and here are some hacks how you can Marie Kondo your shoe wardrobe.
How to clean your closet in 4 steps:
1. Vacuum the floor around your wardrobe.
2. Remove all shoes or clothes and perform your KonMari.
3. Wipe shelves and racks with a microfiber cloth lightly sprayed with water.
4. Clean your shoes and stuff tissue paper or shoe trees to keep them from sagging or losing their shape over time.
Bonus Tip: Invest in clear storage boxes where you can keep your shoes inside, and place it at top shelves of your closet. It is stackable, affordable, practical and saves space. You can even check out your shoe beauties at one glance and make it a perfect display!
Sometimes, it can be a hassle when caked-on dirt and loose dirt get stuck on our shoes and just won’t budge, especially on rainy days or if we step over mud. Here’s the right tool for everything to get that stubborn dirt off.
How to clean your shoe outsoles:
1. Slap the shoes together outdoors to remove loose dirt. Use a toothbrush to brush the dirt off and a butter knife or key to scrape set mud in grooves of your shoes.
2. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda (abrasive) and laundry detergent (bleaching agent) and scrub the rubber parts clean with this mixture. Rinse off with water and it will look sparkling clean as before!
If you are looking beyond the general shoe care guide of your shoes, here are some bonus simple cleaning hacks without the expensive products for different types of footwear material.
1. Smooth Leather shoes – wipe off debris with water and white vinegar solution, and buff scruffs with a wet cloth dipped into baking soda.
2. Patent leather – rub some petroleum jelly into the scuff using a cotton swab, and spritz glass cleaner for fresh new sheen.
3. Suede shoes – Buff stains away with a nailbrush or scrub brush. Use rubbing alcohol to tackle stubborn stains!
Note: Always read your shoe care instructions that will provide a more detailed maintenance guide specifically for the shoes.
#4: Wear Your Socks!
Wear socks made of cotton, wool or bamboo as they help to absorb moisture and prevents abrasion from the shoes. Plus, It keeps your feet warm and comfy. Who says you can’t wear socks with sandals or slides? Socks fashion are huge these days - you can grace the streets in cute printed socks and team it up with your favourite breezy airy sandals. It protects your feet from dirt too!
Solution: Even when it’s covered flats, go for ballerina/no-show socks to keep your feet clean. Go for cute prints and colours to go with your shoe beauties and make a fashion statement. Or you can pair plain socks with heels or slides for a look that is overflowing with cuteness.
#5: Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
As long hours of wearing and walking may cause rough calluses and cracked heels, nothing beats a good foot makeover with a scrub or peel. Like face exfoliation, there is one for the feet too! Use a scrub gel or even a foot mask/foot peel to get the job done!
Chemical peels are the most popular. Using alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes to dissolve dead skin through shedding. Hydrating oils and extracts will further penetrate into rough cracks to soften and give your feet a good repair!
Solution: For foot peel, slip into little tie-on plastic booties that contain the solution and soak your feet in them. Wear over a pair of socks to prevent spillage. It takes about 2 weeks for the skin to peel off fully to baby-like skin.
You can also get foot scrub from pharmacies or make your own with sea salt, baby oil and lemon juice. There are plenty of home-made remedies and you can even try oatmeal scrub – oatmeal with rose water or milk.