Should you be sanitizing your shoes?


corona illustration

Shelby Reeves Reporter

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, people are working to protect themselves from the virus. From wearing face masks to social distancing, stopping the spread of this virus is on everyone’s mind. But false information could be causing people to worry for no reason, like the idea that you can get COVID-19 from the soles of your shoes.

In an Emerging Infectious Diseases study in China, researchers found that traces of the virus were found on half of the shoes of medical workers tested. This is not to cause alarm though because the remains of the virus are said to be not viable. 

Christopher Woolverton, an environmental health sciences professor at Kent, explained that the traces found on the floor and on health workers’ shoes are not dangerous.

He used an analogy to help others understand that what was found is not cause for concern.

“If I walk into my house and I find your fingerprint on my refrigerator I come to the conclusion that you live in that house,” Woolverton said. “It’s a jump too far in advance and that’s not going to tell me you live in the house but it is the same jumps people are making with virus nucleic acids being found around the hospital.”

Woolverton also explained how some may have gotten confused by the research paper that showed COVID-19 traveling on shoes.

“What they were measuring was the genetic material of coronavirus, not viable virus,” said Woolverton. “It is a common mistake that people make when the author is not clear as they should be on those scientific papers.”

Currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19, but the CDC has many recommendations on how to keep yourself and others safe. These include washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, covering your face around others and keeping a safe social distance. 

Shelby Reeves is an alumni affairs reporter. Contact her at [email protected]