Bottom sole of athletic shoe against red background

During the current COVID-19 crisis, have you considered that virus particles could be picked up on your shoes? While unlikely, it is definitely possible for the coronavirus to survive on the outside of a shoe, just as it can travel on clothing or other objects. A mask and gloves is a great start for protection, but if you really want to take precautions to prevent the spread, you should make a few simple changes when it comes to your shoes.

Disinfecting your shoes is more than just simply cleaning them. COVID-19 is not the most difficult virus to kill -- it can be done with warm water and soap. However, you should get into the habit of disinfecting your shoes because they carry all kinds of bacteria and microbes, from feces to toxic lawn chemicals. Discover below how to disinfect your shoes and protect your home and loved ones. 

Choose One Pair of Shoes for Going Outside

The first tip is simple: choose one pair of shoes for when you go outside and leave the others inside. Disinfecting shoes can be damaging to the material, particularly if your shoes are made of leather or suede. The best kind of shoes to disinfect are either plastic, like Crocs, or supportive sneakers made of canvas. By limiting your shoes to just that one pair, it will be easier to remember to clean them.

Leave Your Shoes Outside 

If you are not already in the habit of doing so, now is a good time to start leaving your shoes outside after every wear. While many people are isolated with infrequent trips outside to the grocery store, there are also people who still have to go to work as essential workers or to keep their small business afloat. Whichever situation you are a part of, you are at risk of picking up the virus when you leave the house. In a recent study, researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 could survive on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. By leaving your shoes outside, you don’t run the risk of bringing the virus inside and tracking it around the house.

Use Sanitizing Wipes for Plastic and Soles

For shoes made of plastic, you can simply wear gloves and use a Clorox or other disinfecting wipe to clean the entire surface of the shoe after wear. You can also use hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol content on a cloth or paper towel if you do not have a wipe. 

Throw Sneakers in the Washing Machine

For white canvas sneakers, it is generally the case that you can throw them in the washing machine either in hot water. If you have a sanitizing setting, you can use that. Regular laundry detergent will be enough to kill coronavirus, but if you would like, you can add one-half cup of concentrated bleach to disinfect them completely. 

There is a lot of anxiety surrounding coronavirus and what we can do to protect ourselves from it. From washing your hands to cleaning your grocery bags, people are taking strict measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread. While it seems like overkill, we’re all in this together and if cleaning shoes has any chance of helping, we should do it!

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