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What Shoes to Wear on Carpet?

what shoes to wear on carpet

What shoes to wear on carpet is the top question we’re asked as a professional carpet cleaning company in Nashville TN. It’s an important question as even house slippers, as harmless as they seem, can permanently stain certain carpet fibers. These common black-sole shoe stains are caused by people thinking they’re protecting their carpet, but instead they’re likely damaging it.

So what’s with the picture of my sailing? Most sailors know that most street shoes will mark the topside of their boat. This is the same for carpet fibers. Sailing shoes will not mark the boat’s deck or your carpet fibers. I mostly wear these boat shoes around the house, and they do a great job keeping my feet warm while not staining our carpet fibers.

What Shoes Not to Wear on Carpet

Nowadays, most black-soled shoes contain rubber, black dye and carbon. The carbon not only makes the soles wear longer, but it also makes the residue nearly impossible to remove from oil-based carpet fibers. Fibers such as polyester, olefin and polypropylene absorb these shoe soles because oil is attracted to oil. Anything with an oil-based sole can stick to oil-based carpet fibers, and after a while it can infuse itself into the fiber causing permanent discoloration.

Any shoe type whether house slippers, flip-flops or dress shoes that has a foam rubber sole is capable of staining oil-based carpet fibers. We see this a lot on stair treads, traffic lanes and hallway turns. I once had a customer standing in her flip-flops ask me why her white carpeted stairs had black on the treads. I jokingly said “it’s because someone in her home is wearing flip-flops with large jewels on the top of each flip-flop,” as I described what she was wearing. Laughs aside, she got the point.

Black-sole shoe stains are darker than carpet soiling, almost charcoal in color. You typically see these stains in traffic lanes that lead to one side of a sofa, bed, or to the culprit’s walk-in closet. I once had a police officer as a customer who commonly wore his boots around his home. I literally followed the trail from his side of the bed, to his walk-in closet, then out to his recliner where he was sitting wearing the black-soled boots. I showed him what is was doing to his carpet, and he appreciated my detective work.

Stinky, Smelly Carpet?

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Best Shoes for Walking on Carpet

  1. 100% White Cotton Socks: The best item to wear on your carpet is 100% white cotton socks. Cotton socks absorb the oils from your feet instead if transferring to your carpet. Oil is one of the most prevalent soils found in carpeting caused by bare feet, airborne cooking oils, and pet dander. Cotton socks keep your carpet in the best shape because they’re soft on the fibers, they absorb your foot oils, and they absorb surface oils, which provides some cleanability for your carpet fibers.
  2. Boat Shoes: As shown above, boat shoes will not stain oil-based carpet fibers. Boat shoes keeps your feet warm, comfortable without staining your carpet fibers. Note: Wearing shoes on carpet can wear it faster as it’s more abrasive to your fibers.
  3. Bare Feet: This is not a good option as the oils in your feet causes carpet to become sticky and resoil quicker, but going bare foot is still far better than wearing house slippers, flip-flops or any foam-rubber shoe.

Keeping Your Carpet in Top Shape

Choosing what to cover your feet with on your carpet could save you thousands of dollars when it comes to making your carpet wear longer. Granted, boat shoes can be rough on the fibers as they can grip too much, but they will not stain the fibers. Wearing white cotton socks is the best as it not only absorbs oils but somewhat cleans your carpet as you walk on it.

Black sole shoes stains are very common and very hard to remove. We have found that the only way to remove a majority of the shoe stain is with a natural orange solvent found in orange peels. Known as d-Limonene, this solvent can break down the glue in your carpet backing causing it to delaminate, so it is best to have a professional carpet cleaning company to attempt black-sole shoe stain removal on carpet. Disclaimer: Check with your carpet manufacture to understand all aspects of your carpet’s warranty before using your carpet.

We hope we have helped solve the common question of best shoes for walking on carpet. If you need carpet cleaning services in Nashville TN, please don’t hesitate to call or click EverClean today. We can be reached at 615-DRY-FAST! (615-379-3278).