Mom always said to leave your shoes at the door — and for good reason. Although you may love your footwear, it’s usually best to take your shoes off when you walk inside your home. Otherwise, you risk damaging your floors and tracking in bacteria and toxins. Need more convincing? Here are a few reasons why it’s really bad to wear shoes in the house.

The floors get dirty quickly.

Even if the bottoms of your shoes don’t look dirty, they’re probably tracking in more debris than you realize. Wearing shoes in the house can mean more frequent sweeping, vacuuming and mopping. Avoid tracking in things better left outdoors by simply leaving your shoes in the mudroom or by the door.

Like, really dirty.

Aside from carrying in visible debris, your shoes are experts at picking up microscopic bacteria and toxins. Studies show that germs linger long after you’ve taken your last step of the day — including nasty bugs like E. coli. Toxins like motor oil, pesticides and antifreeze can also be tracked through your home.

Shoes wear out your carpet.

If you want your carpet to last as long as possible, avoid wearing shoes indoors. The soles of your shoes are often harsher than the bottoms of your feet and can cause carpet fibers to break and wear down prematurely. Over time, you may notice that you’ve worn paths into your floors in areas where you frequently walk. Carpet installation professionals can help you figure out if there’s still hope to save your shag.

Tip: Beware DIY deep cleaners. While some blogs sing the praises of white vinegar as a carpet cleaner, there’s still a bit of debate as to whether it’s an effective solution for getting out dirt and soil. To protect your carpet from discoloration or damage, most pros recommend consulting with an expert before doing any deep cleaning.

Footwear can cause dents, scratches and scuffs.

Hardwood floors are particularly susceptible to shoe damage — especially when it comes to high heels and stilettos. The pressure of a pointed heel can create dents in wood that are difficult to repair without professional help. Sportswear like cleats and tap shoes are also common culprits. Softer soles like those on sandals and sneakers probably won’t dent the floor, but they can cause scratches and scuff marks if you’re not careful.

Tip: Use a walnut to fill in scratches. If you’re noticing small scratches in your hardwood floor, don’t panic. You can fix them fairly easily using a walnut. Just break open the nut and rub the inside on the marred floor. Rub the nutty oils into the scratch with your finger and watch how it disguises the damage.