Researchers at the University of Arizona found that about 96 percent of shoes carry traces of fecal bacteria on the soles. If you think about the legions of feet that have crossed your threshold, you might decide that it’s time to give the welcome mat a welcome washing. Vacuum mats with fabric tops before washing to remove dust and loose dirt; you can wash rubber-backed mats in the washing machine. The easiest way to clean any doormat is to spray it down with a garden hose or use the pressure washer at a car wash, using a small amount of soap or detergent. Allow the mat to air-dry completely before putting it back into service. Read more reasons to remove your shoes before entering.
No matter how vigilant we are, we can never create a completely sterile environment. It’s normal to come into contact with some germs and bacteria—they help us digest our food, keep our immune systems on alert, and provide a whole host of beneficial services. We can’t eradicate every single microbe that crosses our paths, but given the choice between living with more or fewer bacteria, you don’t have to be a clean freak to know which to pick.