Agony of the Feet: Shoes Can Bring Dangerous Germs Into Your Home, Investigation Finds

Inside Edition swabbed shoes and sent them to a lab. The results will shock you.

You may not think about it, but whenever you step outside, your shoes come in contact with all kinds of germs — and some can be extremely harmful.

Meaghan Murphy, the executive editor of Good Housekeeping, is always on the move. Most days the cleaning expert takes the New York City subway and pounds the pavement while heading to work and as she heads back home.

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Most New Yorkers probably don't even realize what they may be stepping in during the average workday.

“Nobody looks down, they are busy — we're moving,” Murphy told Inside Edition.

What she sometimes finds on the street is disgusting, so Inside Edition sought to find what a super clean person like Murphy and her three kids could track into her house without realizing it.

Inside Edition took the entire family's shoes and sent them off to a lab for testing.

“I'll be surprised if you don't find something,” she said.

We did the same with Carolina Santos Read, a professional dancer. When she's not working, she likes taking her two dogs for walks at the local dog park.

Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent, Lisa Guerrero, asked Read: “Do you ever wonder what's on the bottom of your shoes after you've been to the dog park?”

“All the time,” she replied.

Guerrero also approached random people like Marcus Farny, the chief operating officer of a recreational facility, whom she met on the street and asked if she could swab their shoes to see what could be lurking.

After a week the results came back from the lab.

She went back to Murphy and her family with the results.

“They were loaded with bacteria,” Guerrero revealed. “Yours were bad but your kids' shoes were worse. In fact, they had nine different types of fungi and seven different types of bacteria, including one that could cause a serious infection.”

“They had only been wearing those for a week, so for those to be that contaminated is extra gross,” Murphy said.

Why should anyone care if germs are on the bottom of your shoes? Because they can wind up in your home.

Inside Edition applied a fluorescent marker to Read’s shoes before she walked around her apartment. While turning off the lights and shining an ultraviolet light on the floor, it looked like a crime scene of germs, with the shoe prints highly visible.

As for Read’s shoes, Guerrero informed her, “We found four types of bacteria... including one that can cause an infection as serious as meningitis."

“Oh, my gosh, that's terrible,” she gasped. “That is awful, worse than I figured.”

Guerrero also tracked down Marcus, the man she met on the street, and told him his results.

“We found four different types of bacteria, including E.coli,” she said.

Shocked, he said, “Oh God, that's not good, that's not good at all."

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If you’re concerned about your dirty shoes, Murphy suggests taking them off as soon as you walk in the door. She also suggests cleaning them with anti-bacterial wipes.

Sneakers, she says, can even be tossed in the washing machine.

“Do we need to be completely freaked out and paranoid? Not so much," Murphy said. "But if you have small children, anyone whose immunity is compromised, why take a chance? Why take those germs into your home?"

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