How to Ask Your Guests to Remove Their Shoes (8 Tips)

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There are plenty of reasons to have a no-shoes policy at home. For starters, it keeps your floors cleaner and reduces the number of outdoor bacteria and chemicals entering your home. Who doesn’t want healthier homes? However, many people aren’t used to removing their shoes to enter a home, so asking your guests to follow the rule can seem like an awkward conversation. It doesn’t have to be! In this article we discuss how to ask your guests to remove their shoes when entering your home.

You are completely normal for wanting no shoes indoors, in other cultures it is very common. Learn how to ask guests to remove shoes, including tips on how to make shoeless guests feel more at home and the benefits of a shoeless policy you can tell them.

How to politely ask your guests to remove shoes

Here are 8 ways to ease the process of informing your guests of your no-shoe policy indoors.

1. Tell them at the door

Upon entering your home, pause to face your guests and tell them your home has a no-shoes policy. Start taking your shoes off as an example and ask them to remove their shoes.

You can also explain where they can leave their shoes. Some people like to add a little humor to lighten the mood; however, just a quick, friendly request is also good enough. Generally, people will respect your house rules even if they don’t “love” the idea.

2. Have a clear place for shoes

Make it clear at your entrance where guests should leave their shoes. Sometimes this is enough of a message for some observant people to take off their shoes too. Especially if you lead by example when entering first, most people will follow the etiquette.

A designated place for shoes like a shoe rack, box, or tray can also keep things tidier, especially if you have many people over. The last thing guests want is to have to step over other people’s shoes to get in.

3. Have socks or single-use slippers

Not everyone enjoys walking around barefoot or is used to it. One way to accommodate your guests with your no-shoes policy is to provide them with alternatives. Having socks or single-use or spa slippers available to hand out can help your guests feel better and more at home after you ask them to take off their shoes.

You can also consider disposable shoe covers which are an easy compromise for guess, since they don’t have to actually remove their shoes and you won’t get any dirt tracked in your home.

4. Give guests advanced warning

If you’re planning a get-together and inviting people over, let them know ahead of time about your no-shoes policy. This can prevent any surprises or awkward reactions at your door when people arrive. By giving an advanced warning, guests can feel more prepared to take off their shoes, such as not wearing those old socks with holes.

The request can be light and friendly when you tell your guests. For example, say: “We have a no-shoes policy at our house, so please bring comfy socks or your favorite slippers when you come over.”

purple polka-dot slippers
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

5. Have a small chair

Not everyone can easily slip off their shoes or bend down to take them off. To help the process go smoother for all guests, consider having a small chair or step stool by your entrance area. Knowing there’s a comfortable space to take their shoes off or slip into socks can help some guests embrace the request easier.

6. Hang a shoes-off sign

Having a sign is especially helpful when you have unexpected guests you can’t tell before or explain real quick at the door. You can simply have a sign saying “please remove your shoes” or put a sign by the shoe basket or rack saying “place your shoes here before entering.”

Other ideas on what to write on your sign are:

  • We have a no-shoes policy indoors. Please remove your shoes
  • Welcome! Leave your worries and your shoes at the door
  • We prefer socks or barefoot inside. Please remove your shoes
  • Kindly remove your shoes
  • Welcome y’all! Kick off your shoes and come on in . . .
  • Please remove your shoes before entering

Or you could buy a no-shoes sign like this one on Amazon.

7. Be ready to explain

While most guests will be respectful of your house rules and remove their shoes, some may be curious as to the reasons why. It’s true, you don’t need to explain yourself. However, knowing what you would say can help, especially if someone wants to refuse because they don’t “get the point.”

Here are some examples of what you can say (that’s true) about the no-shoes policy:

  • Reduces outside germs and harmful bacteria inside the house
  • Reduces toxic and chemicals entering the home
  • It’s safer and healthier for little kids that touch the floor
  • Causes less wear and tear on the wood floors

8. Make sure your floors are clean

By asking guests to go barefoot, you don’t want them to step into your home onto sticky floors or crumbs. Make sure it’s clean so the experience can be pleasurable for everyone. This also reduces the chances of someone complaining or pushing back if they see the floors aren’t clean.