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Marble Falls youth shares how to keep out unwelcome houseguests

Josh Lose, a homeschooled third-grader in Marble Falls, discovered the bottom of his shoes are hotbeds for germs during a recent research project. But not just his, Lose says everybody’s shoes harbor millions and millions of germs and bacteria, so he’s urging people to pull them of and put them aside before walking through their homes. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton


MARBLE FALLS — Josh Lose’s mother, Alicia Evans, loves that her son now takes his shoes off as soon as he enters their house. But his motivation makes her cringe, just a bit.

“It was rather shocking to learn,” she said regarding the reason behind Josh’s shoe-shedding behavior.

Josh, however, takes it all matter-of-fact like.

“I used to go out tromping around in my boots and then go right back into my room,” he said. Now, Josh stops as soon as he walks in the door and drops off those boots. He’s hoping more people will take up the practice, not just to keep their moms happy but in an effort to stay healthy. During a recent homeschooling project his grandmother Debra Wright assigned him, Josh peered into what lives on the bottoms of shoes.

What he found was unnerving.

“One person’s shoe — not a pair — but on one shoe, (researchers) found more than 66 million bacteria and germs,” Josh said. “I didn’t know that.”

The research was just one part of the project. After learning about the amount of germs shoes carry, Josh came up with a way to let people know. He wrote up a persuasive essay on the subject called “Shoes Are A Germ-O-Rama.”

“Taking your shoes off at the door keeps germs off your floor. It also keeps kids from getting sick,” Josh wrote “‘Good Morning America’ (researchers) found 66 million germs on just one person’s shoe. The University of Arizona (researchers) found nine kinds of germs that cause stomach, eyes and lung infections. Germs live longer on shoes because we step in stuff that feed it. Then, we track it all over the floor. We walk in animal waste from birds, dogs, cats and people, too. It’s a dirty world out there.

“Washing sneakers kills germs. Wiping shoes with a wet wipe works, too,” he continued.

But the best defense, Josh added, is a simple one.

“I believe that you should take your shoes off at the door. This easy habit keeps everyone healthy because shoes are a germ-o-rama,” he concluded.

While it’s a simple act, Josh said it can go a long way in keeping everyone in the house healthier, especially during flu season. And while shoes offer a refuge to millions of germs, don’t get Josh started on what you can find on publicly used telephones. Just take a hint and keep a wipe handy when using a phone shared by other people.