Ross: You’re not really vacuuming unless you can hear the dirt

Oct 3, 2023, 8:32 AM

Close-up of logo for luxury vacuum cleaner company Dyson on end piece of vacuum cleaner, September ...

Close-up of logo for luxury vacuum cleaner company Dyson on end piece of vacuum cleaner, September 20, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Finally, some answers on whether it’s healthier to take off your shoes inside the house.

According to a CBS poll earlier this year, about two-thirds of Americans take their shoes off when they enter the house. The question is whether it’s necessary.

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So, the Washington Post consulted the experts. Philip Tierno, Jr., an NYU professor who wrote “The Secret Life of Germs,” said to leave your shoes on. Your body has ample defenses against the kind of germs found in dirt, and it helps the kids develop some resistance.

The Post also consulted a podiatrist who said that walking shoeless for extended periods puts a strain on your feet because there’s no arch support.

But on the shoes-off side, another expert, who examined the bottoms of 26 typical shoes, found fecal matter with active E.coli, which was able to live on floor tiles! And an expert on floor coverings who analyzed vacuum cleaner dust found micro-particles of heavy metals, including lead, lawn chemicals, and combustible carcinogens.

Finally, the Post consulted a floor covering expert who said when outdoor dirt builds up in your carpet, it grinds up the fibers and ruins your floor.

So, it sounds like a tie. But there’s a tie-breaker here that the Post doesn’t mention.

It has nothing to do with germs, carcinogens, or wear and tear, it is simply this: The satisfying sound of a vacuum cleaner sucking up shoe dirt.

You hear the staccato symphony of little pebbles and pine needles and old breakfast cereal and the occasional paper clip being relentlessly drawn into the vortex. I can’t be the only one who appreciates this.

And so yes, I admit, there are times when I will put off vacuuming for a period of — okay, I’m not going to say because this gets posted online and it would haunt my family forever — but let’s just say that unless you let the dirt build-up, you’re just not going to get that giant sucking sound that makes vacuuming sooooo worthwhile. Plus, you watch that canister fill up, and then you get to empty it into the trash. It feels like a victory.

I accept that there are people who will vacuum even when there’s no visible dirt, and I’m sure they’ll live forever, but what’s the point of vacuuming a clean house?

As I’ve explained many times, when someone says, “how come you haven’t done the vacuuming?” the only way you know if you’ve accomplished anything is if you can hear the dirt.

And if that means shoes inside the house, so be it.

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Ross: You’re not really vacuuming unless you can hear the dirt