Another Angle: Reusable Shoe Covers
Not all shoe covers are disposable, at least in the single-use sense (most everything is eventually disposable, right?). But who uses reusable shoe covers? What are reusable shoe covers made from? What are the benefits and drawbacks?
Who uses them?
Reusable shoe covers are recommended for use in the following industries:
- Tradespeople (carpet cleaners, electricians, cable installers, plumbers, etc.)
- Home inspectors
- Cleaning services
Basically, if your profession brings you into the homes and businesses of your customers, and you care about differentiating yourself from your competition, taking the extra step in protecting their flooring from tracked in grime and scratching by using shoe covers is important. However, instead of using standard disposable shoe covers, which are definitely not as durable and which add up in cost each time you put on a new pair, you can use reusable booties.
Shoe Inn’s washable shoe covers are an affordable way to avoid damage and contamination that will likely lead to losing customers. Our reusable shoe covers are the #1 choice among professionals because of our quality materials and affordable pricing, and they are made right here in the USA!
What are they made from?
Shoe Inn’s reusable shoe covers are constructed with a premium nylon material, which is the same material used to manufacture rugged items like tarps and backpacks. The extremely durable fabric is permanently sealed with a moisture barrier finish, while the sole is made from a rugged, waterproof, non-slip material.
What are the pluses and minuses?
Let’s start with cons. There aren’t many, but might as well get them out first.
- Cost more than disposable shoe covers (at least initially)
- Require care and keeping track of if you want to make them last as long as possible
- Let us know if you can think of anything else, we can’t
As for the much longer list of pros:
- Reusable for approximately 6-9 months (ultimately costing MUCH LESS than disposables)
- Machine washable
- Range of sizes from small to extra large
- Three different color options (blue, black and red)
- Customizable (embroidered) for branding value
- Made in the USA
Basically, if you want an economical way to keep moisture in, while providing you with superior traction and peace of mind that you will not be slipping and sliding around or damaging a customer’s floors because of your shoes/boots and anything that might be on them (oil, mud, dirt, etc.), Shoe Inn reusable shoe covers are an excellent option.
Contamination in the workplace can halt production, necessitate expensive product recalls, or require lab experiments to be started over. It is a very real concern, perhaps even a fear, that laboratories, food processing companies, and manufacturers are particularly aware of and have measures in place to minimize or prevent. In this post, we discuss what contamination is, how it can be spread, and what can be done to try to prevent it.
Contamination: what is it?
The definition of contamination is the act of contaminating, or of making something impure or unsuitable by contact with something unclean, poisonous, etc. One of the most publicly visible examples of the effects of contamination is widespread food borne illness leading to hospitalizations and deaths. Negative food safety headlines are the worst nightmare of food processing companies and restaurants. This issue is discussed further in our shoe covers in the food industry blog post.
How is it spread?
Contamination can be spread through a variety of ways, including through the air (think tiny infectious droplets spread by coughs and sneezes), water, food, touching unclean surfaces, etc. Workers who don’t correctly follow procedures can cause cross-contamination, thereby halting production, having to decontaminate or discard products, needing to clean equipment, and other effects that result in lost time and money.
What can your company do to be safe from contamination?
Companies minimize workplace contamination by developing, implementing, and enforcing proper processes and procedures (including disinfection and cleaning procedures), having necessary infrastructure and equipment, and the like. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also an important consideration. By wearing shoe covers, hair nets, face masks, beard covers, and gloves, potential contaminants should be kept away from critical areas. The PPE will also help keep the work environment clean and sanitary.
Contamination is a very important matter, but you can lessen the likelihood of it occurring if you know what it is, how it spreads, and what can be done to minimize or prevent it entirely with cross-contamination prevention. Compliance with company processes and procedures is critical, as is having proper infrastructure and equipment, which may include shoe covers, disposable gloves, and sticky mats.
Shoe Covers in Specific Industries: Manufacturing
One of many industries where using shoe covers can be advantageous is the manufacturing industry. Many manufacturing businesses require personnel and visitors to put shoe covers on before entering the manufacturing area or when entering the office space from a dirty manufacturing area. We wrote about this under the header “Dirty business” in another blog post.
Shoe covers for workmen can also help with safety and accident prevention. It is important to provide safety for employees and visitors as they go from one surface or area to the next. In manufacturing environments, people may slip, especially on wet or smooth surfaces. While there is only so much any shoe cover can do on wet or oily/greasy surfaces, the anti-slip properties of some of our shoe covers can help reduce slips and related accidents.
So, which shoe covers are best for the manufacturing industry? While all of our shoe covers are used in virtually every industry that uses booties, some are more prevalent than others. Shoe Inn primarily provides protection for manufacturing companies with two different shoe covers. The Hybrid shoe cover has a heavy duty, waterproof outer layer that now covers most of the shoe cover; it is our most durable option. Alternatively, and especially if traction/slip resistance is a primary consideration, our Super shoe covers have an anti-slip outer layer and are 100% waterproof.
Bottom line, shoe covers for workmen are an important piece of an overall workplace safety program in the manufacturing industry.
Three “Off the Beaten Path” Applications Where Shoe Covers are Used
The elevator conversation goes something like this: “We sell automatic shoe cover dispensers and shoe covers.” “Shoe covers?” “Yes, shoe covers or booties, like doctors wear.” “Oh yeah, hospital booties.” Other than hospitals, the usual suspects where shoe covers are used include pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, research and development, medical device manufacturing, etc. Less obvious applications include construction, real estate, and aerospace as well. Because most of us are not behind the scenes, we don’t realize there are dozens and dozens of industries where shoe booties are important. Here are three “off the beaten path” applications where disposable shoe covers are used:
- “Dirty business”
Most often shoe booties are used in clean environments (for example, cleanrooms, laboratories, food processing facilities) where the intent is to keep outside contaminants from entering for reasons such as hygiene, food safety, product purity, testing results integrity, etc. Why would “dirty” industries (like your stereotypical manufacturing that is oily/greasy/otherwise messy) use them? The reason is that when employees or anyone else who has been in the dirty area comes into the clean office space for lunch, a quick meeting, or to exit the facility, they put on shoe covers in order to keep the area clean and to prolong the life of expensive flooring. A thick fabric bootie may do the trick, but a heavy duty shoe cover that will stand up to aggressive boot treads and keep dirty contaminants inside the shoe cover may be advisable.
- Filming and photography
Location sets for filming and photography may involve exclusive homes and fragile surfaces that deserve protection from scuffs, scratches, and contamination. Also, companies may want to protect their green screens when people are walking or posing on them. Depending on the surface, a plastic shoe cover may be appropriate because it is waterproof and inexpensive. Another option that is also waterproof but has superior traction is the Super non-slip shoe cover, which is the go-to when slippery surfaces are involved.
- Textile services
Clean laundry doesn’t deserve to get dirty before it is put into use. No need to waste water and detergent for re-washing, right? Keeping large-scale laundry facilities clean is important in case the corner of a clean sheet or towel touches the ground, or a laundered uniform accidentally falls on the floor. A variety of types of shoe covers would work, perhaps a low cost fabric bootie.
Disposable shoe covers are ubiquitous and quite helpful in a wide variety of environments beyond the usual suspect applications. From military bases to national laboratories, child care facilities to parades of homes, energy production operations to battery manufacturers, shoe covers are a vital tool to keep environments clean and safe.
Top Seven Frequently Asked Shoe Inn Questions
Though we carry a few other products like disposable gloves, sticky mats, and overshoes, at Shoe Inn our focus is on shoe covers and automatic shoe cover dispensers. Let’s just say they’re our bread and butter! However, we know not everyone understands shoe covers and dispensers like we do. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about the Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensing and removal system for your benefit.
Are Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Dispensers and Removers Easy to Use?
Absolutely! Both dispenser models are easy to load and use, especially after doing it a few times. Take a look at the various loading and usage videos on our videos page to see how fast and easy it is. We also have loading and usage instructions that can be downloaded and printed. Our removers are very easy to use and are ergonomically-friendly as well. Not only are they incredibly simple, Shoe Inn shoe cover dispensers and removers help increase efficiency/productivity and safety in the workplace to boot.
Do Shoe Inn Machines Make it Safer to Put Shoe Covers on and Remove Them?
No doubt. Using our dispensers eliminates leaning against a wall or trying to balance on one leg while putting a shoe cover on the other foot (what we call the “bootie hop” or a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen), thereby avoiding possible falls, injuries and the potential worker’s comp claims that could result. In fact, prior to implementing our system, some customers have even had employees injure themselves while sitting on a gowning bench and putting shoe covers on.
Just like putting shoe covers on manually, taking them off is also a hassle and can be dangerous (remember the bootie hop?). Using our automatic shoe cover remover eliminates the danger and will make your EH&S staff stress level go down to be sure.
How Does Using Shoe Inn Dispensers Increase Efficiency and Productivity?
Because it is a minimum of 4x faster to put shoe covers on with our dispensers, at least four people can get booted up in the same amount of time it takes for a person to put shoe covers on manually (see our Why Shoe Inn? video on the videos page). The faster that employees are able to boot up, the faster they can move to being productive where they are making the company money instead of costing money back in the gowning room.
Can My Company Save Money Using the Shoe Inn System?
On the surface, no, but dig a bit deeper and the picture changes. While our shoe covers may cost more than your regular shoe covers, our customers have found that the increased efficiency, productivity, and reduction in potential worker’s compensation claims more than offset the nominal difference.
Can Shoe Inn Products be Used in Cleanrooms?
Yes. Shoe Inn shoe covers and automatic shoe cover dispensers have been tested and validated for use in cleanrooms up to Class 100 and Class 5. Our cleanroom certificates are available here.
Do Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Dispensers or Removers Require Electricity?
No–our automatic shoe cover dispensers do not require electricity, which provides you the freedom to place your dispensers wherever you need them. This also allows you to use your valuable space in the most efficient way possible.
Because they only require a standard 120v electrical outlet, our removers can be easily deployed at any suitable location.
Can We Reuse or Recycle the Shoe Covers?
Our shoe covers are specially packed in a cartridge for easy loading and dispensing and thus cannot be reloaded into the Shoe Inn Fusion or Stay dispensers. Also, we do not recommend the reuse of shoe covers, because doing so would likely lead to contamination and defeat the purpose of using shoe covers in the first place. Regarding recycling, in theory the answer is yes, but we do not currently have a program for recycling. If you find or develop one, please let us know.
USP 800 versus 797: New Guide for Handling Hazardous Drugs Includes Shoe Covers
USP <800>, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s new standard for handling hazardous drugs (HDs) in healthcare settings, includes significant safety standards for all healthcare workers, as well as patients and the general public, who have access to facilities where HDs are prepared. This includes pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, home health care workers, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians. Entities that store, transport, prepare, or administer HDs are also affected, including but not limited to pharmacies, hospitals, patient treatment clinics, physicians’ practice facilities, and veterinary clinics.
USP <800> provides facilities with direction on how to set policy and identify what needs to be done for employee safety while compounding and dispensing HDs. These new safety standards expand upon USP <797>, which focused primarily on minimizing the risk of contaminating medicines when compounding sterile IV preparations. USP <800>, on the other hand, is aimed primarily at addressing the entire life cycle of an HD so that all who might come in contact with it are protected.
USP <797> and <800> are related in that each refer to a chapter in the US Pharmacopoeia. USP <800> is not just limited to chemotherapy but also many drugs that now fall under the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) list. USP <800> has a minor component that currently falls under USP <797> this year but will become fully enforceable in December 2019 and will require full cleanroom and garbing precautions. USP <797> is under revision; therefore the current version will hold until at least the next year. This is the year the Joint Commission and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring compliance with USP <797>. Since this is the first year that the CMS plans to enforce the IV compounding regulations, most facilities are scrambling to meet compliance.
Health Effects Resulting from Exposure to Hazardous Drugs
Growing evidence, which has been accumulated over decades by the USP, Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, Oncology Nursing Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that occupational exposure to the more than 200 HDs commonly used in healthcare settings can cause acute and chronic health issues. In addition, over 100 studies have documented evidence of HD contamination in the workplace, including the presence of HDs in workers’ urine. With nearly 8,000,000 healthcare workers exposed to HDs each year, USP <800> aims to prevent associated acute and long-term health effects.
Required Upgrades Under USP <800> Include Shoe Covers
Personal protective equipment (PPE)(gowns; head, hair, and shoe covers; and two pairs of chemotherapy gloves) is required for compounding both sterile and non-sterile HDs, and two pairs of such gloves are required for administering antineoplastic HDs. Facilities also need to develop standard operating procedures regarding appropriate PPE for any workers who otherwise handle HDs.
Both USP <797> and <800> include several references to shoe covers as detailed below.
Compliant Shoe Covers + Automatic Shoe Cover Application and Removal
Shoe Inn’s shoe covers meet USP <797> and <800> guidelines. If you want to take make putting shoe covers on faster, easier, safer and cleaner, go with an automatic shoe cover dispenser like the Shoe Inn Stay. You can even take it a step further by implementing an automatic shoe cover remover. These products help eliminate workplace injuries, prevent contamination, and save precious time (see just how quick and easy in our application and removal videos).
USP <800> became effective on July 1, 2018.
USP <797> references to shoe covers
Appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) shall be worn when compounding in a BSC or CACI and when using CSTD devices. PPE should include gowns, face masks, eye protection, hair covers, shoe covers or dedicated shoes, double gloving with sterile chemo-type gloves, and compliance with manufacturers’ recommendations when using a CACI.
After donning dedicated shoes or shoe covers, head and facial hair covers, and face masks…
When compounding personnel exit the compounding area during a work shift, the exterior gown may be removed and retained in the compounding area if not visibly soiled, to be re-donned during that same work shift only. However, shoe covers, hair and facial hair covers, face masks/eye shields, and gloves shall be replaced with new ones before re-entering the compounding area, and proper hand hygiene shall be performed.
Appendix I: Order of compounding garb and cleansing in ante-area: shoes or shoe covers, head and facial hair covers, face mask, fingernail cleansing, hand and forearm washing and drying; non-shedding gown.
Appendix III: Dons shoe covers or designated clean-area shoes one at a time, placing the covered or designated shoe on clean side of the line of demarcation, as appropriate.
Appendix III: Removes shoe covers or shoes one at a time, ensuring that uncovered foot is placed on the dirty side of the line of demarcation and performs hand hygiene again. (Removes and discards shoe covers every time the compounding area is exited).
USP <800> references to shoe covers
Gowns, head, hair, shoe covers, and two pairs of chemotherapy gloves are required for compounding sterile and non-sterile HDs.
Head and hair covers (including beard and moustache, if applicable), shoe covers, and sleeve covers provide protection from contact with HD residue. When compounding HDs, a second pair of shoe covers must be donned before entering the C-SEC and doffed when exiting the C-SEC. Shoe covers worn in HD handling areas must not be worn to other areas to avoid spreading HD contamination and exposing other healthcare workers.
Who Needs an Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser?
An automatic shoe cover dispenser, who needs that? When it comes to putting on shoe covers, you don’t think much about it — you just do what you’ve always done, sitting on a bench or balancing on one leg while trying to put a shoe cover on the other foot (what we call the “bootie hop”). Sounds simple, but for many people it is not. If you find it difficult to bend over and tie your shoes or to balance on one leg, then you know how challenging it can be to put shoe covers on. Quite frankly, most people who have to wear shoe covers despise putting them on. Also consider workplace injuries happening during the process of putting them on — they do happen. In fact, the “bootie hop” is a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen. Last but not least, what about the bottleneck that is created when you have a lot of people who need to put them on at the same time? Shoe Inn can help alleviate all of these issues. Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensers are ideal for use in a variety of environments such as manufacturing and food processing plants, laboratories and clean rooms, medical and healthcare facilities, and anywhere else people need to put shoe covers on faster, easier, safer and cleaner. There is no doubt that you will benefit from the ease of use, time savings, and added safety from using Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensers.
Importance of Using Shoe Covers
Have you ever considered what is on the bottom of your shoes? Besides things you can see, such as grease, oil, gum, mud, leaves, feces, etc., there are the countless things you cannot see, like germs, bacteria, mold, and viruses. All of these things walk with us everywhere we go, from the house to the car to the parking lot to the building to the lab or production area to the bathroom to the dining area and back again. How many other places do we go, like gas stations and public parks, picking up things on our shoes all along the way and transporting them where they are unwelcome?
As a result, many industries and settings require the use of shoe covers to maintain sanitary or sterile conditions, prevent contamination, limit the spread of infections, comply with health codes, etc. A review of the literature turned up several key findings such as the following:
“In this study, the authors subjected six occupied rodent holding rooms in their animal research facility to three conditions: use of disinfectant mats; use of shoe covers; and no disinfectant mats or shoe covers. The authors took bacterial culture samples from the rooms under each condition. There was no significant difference in the mean number of colony forming units (CFUs) cultured when the disinfectant mats or shoe covers were used. However, the mean number of CFUs obtained was significantly lower when either disinfectant mats or shoe covers were used than when neither was used. These results suggest that using disinfectant mats or disposable shoe covers may reduce the bacterial load on rodent holding room floors.”
“We recommend that gloves and footwear worn by employees who handle RF-RTE foods or who work in areas where RF-RTE are processed or exposed be made of impermeable material, in good repair, easily cleanable or disposable (emphasis added), and used only in RF-RTE areas.”
“Health care workers who handle hazardous drugs are at risk of skin rashes, cancer and reproductive disorders. NIOSH recommends that employers provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers who handle hazardous drugs in the workplace…Use hair and shoe covers constructed of coated materials to reduce the possibility of particulate or microbial contamination in clean rooms and other sensitive areas.”
Based on the above, it is clear that using disposable shoe covers is a credible and recommended method in a variety of situations and controlled environments.
 Allen KP, Csida T, Leming J, Murray K, Thulin J. Efficacy of Footwear Disinfection and Shoe Cover Use in an Animal Research Facility, U.S. National Library of Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20305633
 US Food and Drug Administration, Guidance for Industry: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Refrigerated or Frozen Ready-To-Eat Foods, Section XI, Paragraph IV
 Personal Protective Equipment for Health Care Workers Who Work with Hazardous Drugs, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2009-106/pdfs/2009-106.pdf