Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reduce Indoor Toxins By 60% With One Tip...

What's the tip you ask? Well let me give you some clues: it's cheap, easy, and effective. It has to do with your shoes, and best of all, it's something you may already be doing.  I'm sure you've guessed it by now (thank you picture icon below)



... it's to take off your shoes at the door! 

Simple enough right? Well, I was pretty good about it awhile back, but life got busy, I got lazy with it and before I knew it we had piles of shoes all over our house.  I figured that as long as there wasn't any obvious dirt or mud on the shoes that they were fine. But little did I know, I was tracking dust, pollutants, pesticides, and maybe lead into my house and even worse, around my baby.

That's when I knew it was time for a change.

Now before I get into how I went about making a change to reducing these toxins in my home, let me tell you about WHY you would want to do it in the first place.

Why take off your shoes at the door?

One main study shed a lot of light about the amount of toxins we drag into our home on a daily basis, called "The Door Mat Study". It's small and often unheard of study, but it deserves to be mentioned because the results were rather startling. The study set out to investigate the amount of lead dust brought into homes (most often from lead-contaminated soil) and what could be done to reduce it. The results found that by simply taking shoes off at the door, reduced lead dust by 60%! Better yet, a doormat, cut lead in the home by 50%. But lead wasn't the only thing reduced, other toxins that have the potential to be stopped at the door include..."pesticides (from lawns), wood smoke and industrial toxins, dust mites and allergens." (source)

It's kind of crazy when you think about all the different places your shoes go in a day right? What do you think you're shoes are picking up as you go there? There's no telling.
Simple grass seems pretty harmless, especially since we don't
use toxic fertilizers or pesticides on our lawn..
but there's no telling if chemicals from other yards have blown
into ours.

Good ol' Vibram Five Fingers out for a walk on the sidewalk.


When you think of germs/toxins on your shoes this place
probably comes to mind...Wal-Mart. Gotta love it.

What list wouldn't be complete without the gas station.
Can you imagine what's on your shoes after leaving here? Eww!

These are just a few of the places I visit on a weekly, if not daily basis, not counting work or other errands I do. But, no matter where you go or what you step in...it's better to be safe and just drop off at the door when you get home.

My Shoes-Off & Doormat Routine
So back in this post, I did a little "Mudroom Makeover" to this nook by our laundry room and garage door and as part of the makeover I got some "shoe trays" from Bed, Bath, & Beyond for around $8 each. I loved how the shoes finally had a place to go and it held some of the dust and dirt in the tray and off my floors.



Fast forward several months later and I read more about the benefits of taking your shoes off at the door, as well as how you could crank up that "toxin reducing" potential by also using a doormat on the outside of each exterior door. So, being the little greenie that I am, I ran out and got some doormats to go on the outside of our doors.
The exterior rug outside of our back porch. I've got a second
one at the front door of our house as well.

I didn't think they would do much, but after a week or so, I lifted them up to shake them off and what do you know...dust, dirt, and who knows what else came falling off. Wow, I was convinced there was something to this doormat idea.

From there I took it one step further and got an additional doormat for the inside of each external door, to catch anything the first rug may not have caught. I found these "Kitchen Rugs" from Wal-Mart for $8-10 and I love them because:

  •  they have a little grip on the bottom that keeps them from sliding all over 
  • they are nice and flat. I've tried a few puffy ones in the past, but my door always got stuck on them. 
  • You can wash them up to 100 times (as stated on the label)

I have one on the inside of our porch door.
A second one is placed at our garage door.
Here's the full view of my "toxin trap"
with the first rug on the garage floor,
and second rug when you open the door.


Here's a third indoor rug that sits by
our front door. 

So now that you know science and setup of how we reduce toxins in our home by taking off our shoes and using a doormat, let's bring it all to life with a video of the process.  Be sure to watch for my "green assistant" Avery!



What's the shoe routine like at your house? Are you strict about taking your shoes off? Or are you more relaxed about it? Does this study change your mind at all? Share below!


Recently this post was linked up to Frugally Sustainable as part of the "Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop." So check it out and find more ways you can green your plate, your body, and your home!

This post was also linked up to "Your Green Resource" where a variety of bloggers get together and share their green ideas, solutions and resources. You can check out the link up party on any one of their four hosting sites: Stacy at A Delightful Home, Emily at Live Renewed, or Megan at Sorta Crunchy. There's a plethora of amazing green ideas and tips on these blogs and links so go check it out!



Also linked up to "Living Green Tuesdays Link Up" where you can learn about more cool green tips on the blog Green Idea Reviews or Like a Mustard Seed. What ways will you learn to go green from these links? Plenty, I'm sure! ( :



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