Over the past few months of working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19, you’ve become a master at sanitizing your hard surfaces and touchpoints, like tabletops, door knobs, and lightswitches. But what about disinfecting those “soft” surfaces that we’ve all been lounging on lately, like couches, pillows, and blankets?
What can you do to keep these comfy, cozy materials sanitary — and safe from coronavirus and other emerging pathogens?
While they can be easy to overlook, it’s important to regularly clean and disinfect your home’s fabric surfaces, upholstery, and bedding. Those little soft nooks and crannies can be great at providing a home for unwanted germs and bacteria — all while we use them to relax and unwind at night.
Fortunately, there are a few key ways to disinfect these well-loved household surfaces, and keep them fresh, healthy, and ready to use! Here are three important steps you can take to keep your home’s soft and plush surfaces virus-free:
Machine Wash the Fabrics and Soft Items That You Can
The quickest and easiest way to disinfect fabrics and other soft surfaces is to run them through the washing machine while using “the warmest appropriate water setting,” as the CDC explains. If applicable, use your favorite laundry detergent, bleach, or peroxide, and be sure to dry the item completely before using it again.
Before washing any household items, be sure to read the manufacturer’s washing instructions (which are usually listed on a tag or label). The manufacturer may list specific laundry instructions (such as how hot the water should be), or provide other guidance (such as whether the fabric should be cleaned with water-based solutions, solvent-based solutions, or if it should be treated as “vacuum-only”).
As you start to do a little research, you may be surprised by just how many soft, fabric surfaces you may be able to disinfect through simple laundering, including:
- Napkins, tablecloths, and placements
- Sheets and bedding
- Small throw pillows and covers
- Cushion covers
- Pet beds
- Many types of small rugs and floormats
- Some curtains and drapes
When in doubt, always proceed with caution. Do a little research online, and don’t hesitate to reach out to Chicago’s clean home experts to talk about the best ways to care for your favorite household items, from throw blankets to your most precious vintage decor.
Use Your Preferred Household Disinfectant — Safely and Strategically
For items that you cannot wash, the CDC recommends disinfecting with an EPA-registered household disinfectant approved for use against COVID-19.
When using a disinfectant on fabrics and soft surfaces, however, it’s important to be smart, safe, and strategic. These harsh chemicals could easily stain or damage your favorite materials if not applied properly. Meanwhile, some common household disinfectants can cause skin and eye irritation in people and animals — the last thing you want to experience after settling in for your next afternoon nap!
To keep everyone in your home safe and comfortable, consider taking these steps:
- Open the windows and keep a steady airflow whenever you’re using a disinfectant such as bleach or alcohol. Wear gloves, shield your eyes, and keep pets and small children out of the room while you’re working.
- Use as little disinfectant as possible, and dilute before use
- Use a spray bottle to apply a gentle mist to a cloth, which you can then use to wipe down soft surfaces and materials — instead of dabbing or blotting the disinfecting agent on directly
- Before treating an entire surface, apply the solution to a small, hard-to-see section to see if it causes any discoloration or damage
- Give the surfaces plenty of time to dry out before use
Vacuum, Clean, and Perform Routine “Maintenance”
Some soft surfaces are meant to be treated with only dry methods, such as a duster or vacuum. In other cases, treating your soft surfaces before you disinfect them can make your surfaces cleaner and more sanitary in the long run. As part of your standard cleaning routine, be sure to regularly vacuum your rugs, furniture coverings, and drapes with the appropriate vacuum attachment, to clear away unwanted dirt, dust, and debris. You can also beat dust and debris out of area rugs, drapes, and other heavy fabrics by taking the material outside and using a broom or dry mop on a semi-regular basis.
Finally, consider treating soft surfaces with a gentle fabric-safe cleanser and water before treating with disinfectant — there are many options out there for all sorts of “soft” surfaces, from leather to cotton.
Not sure the best way to care for your favorite blanket, pillow, or furniture item? We’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions, or to see what our teams of expertly trained professionals can do for you.
Ready to Sanitize Your Space from Top to Bottom? We Are Here for You
During these uncertain times, we’re all reminded of the importance of a clean and sanitary home. Sweeping Dimensions is here to help make things easier and give you back some well-deserved peace of mind — no matter what.
Our teams of professionally trained and uniformed cleaning experts have the care, knowledge, and attention to detail it takes to keep the most important people in your life safe, comfortable, and healthy.
Whether you’re looking for special one-time deep cleaning for your home or office; service for your short-term rental; or a regular housekeeping routine to keep your home looking and feeling its best, we are here to help. Our teams can bring all of the cleaning supplies necessary to sanitize your home or office, and are available on a flexible schedule that works for you.
Curious about our approach? Want to talk more about our preferred disinfectants, and the investments we’re making to help our clients keep their most important spaces free from coronavirus and emerging pathogens?