9 Essential Household Items to Sanitize your Home Furniture

person cleaning house

Your home is a sanctuary and keeping it clean is one of the most potent ways to safeguard it against pathogens like the novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease Covid-19.

Coronaviruses have been found to persist outside the human body for up to 72 hours, according to studies cited by the World Health Organization. This ability makes it possible for this family of viruses to thrive on the surfaces of everyday household items made of plastic, stainless steel, and even cardboard.

Touching contaminated surfaces, such as high-contact objects like doorknobs and light switches, can leave people susceptible to contracting and transmitting viruses and bacteria within their home.

By taking extra precautions, however, you can limit or totally avoid exposure to COVID-19, especially in frequently-visited areas such as the living room.

Hard vs. soft surfaces

Not only does the living room see high foot traffic day-to-day but having to clean a variety of hard and soft surfaces in the area also makes it more challenging to disinfect the room in one go.

Soft surfaces such as carpets, rugs, drapes, and upholstery require extra care because of their delicate material and unique construction. Meanwhile, hard surfaces like light switches, coffee tables, and end tables (where objects like keys and coins might land) need to be wiped down vigorously at least twice a day.

Knowing more than a few tips on how to quickly clean up your living room will prove essential in fending off disease-causing microbes on a variety of surfaces.

Disinfecting soft surfaces

  • Vacuum cleaner

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and other particles from within fabrics. Spraying a liquid soap solution or liquid disinfectant straight away on a soft surface without first vacuuming it will cause the dirt to seep through even deeper into the material.

  • Fabric-cleaning solutions

You can mix a gentle soap water solution in a clear spray bottle and label it appropriately, depending on the type of fabric you will be cleaning. Be sure to check the care instructions tag on the upholstery, pillowcases, curtains, tablecloths, table runners, and other similar items first. Some codes indicate the type of soap applicable for the fabric:

  • W – use a water-based detergent with a steam vacuum
  • S – use only a dry-cleaning solvent
  • WS – use either a water-based detergent and steam vacuum, or a dry-cleaning solvent
  • O – use only cold water (the fabric is organic)
  • X – use only cleaning solutions recommended by specialists 

When mixing a solution using water-based detergents, go for 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) of the water-based detergent for every 6 tablespoons of water. Combine in a clean container such as a spray bottle. For leather surfaces, mix 6 tablespoons of white vinegar with 6 tablespoons of water. Dry-cleaning solvents can be purchased online.

  • Soft microfiber cloth

A soft microfiber or lint-free cloth will help when testing cleaning solutions on fabrics and sanitizing entire surfaces. Spray the solution and dab the tip of the cloth on a small spot you are cleaning. Watch for any discoloration in the fabric for about 5 to 10 minutes.

How to clean soft surfaces with a soft fiber cloth

  • If the solution leaves no damage, you can proceed with spraying it on the cloth then scrubbing the cloth slowly onto the rest of the fabric. The gentle mechanical action will allow the soap and water to break down microbes that may be contaminating the surface.
  • If the fabric calls for a dry-cleaning solvent, do a spot-test first. When proceeding with the rest of the surface, it is best to dab the cleaning liquid onto the cloth and pat the cloth gently onto the surface without scrubbing too hard. Whether you’re using a water-based or dry-cleaning detergent, give the fabric time to air-dry.
  • Disinfectant spray or wipes

Disinfectant sprays or wipes work well on both hard and soft surfaces. Once a surface has been cleaned, spritz it with a disinfectant spray or wipe down gently a second time with a disinfectant wipe to kill off microbes. A disinfectant spray can also be used to cover wider surface areas such as carpeted floors.

  • Bleach-free laundry sanitizer

For smaller items that you can throw into the wash, opt for a bleach-free laundry sanitizer to disinfect fabrics without damaging or discoloring them. Other options include 80% pine oil disinfectants and phenolic disinfectants. If you want a thorough cleaning of white fabrics, you can also opt for chlorine bleach that has a concentration of 5.25% to 6.15% sodium hypochlorite.

Disinfecting hard surfaces

Antimicrobial sprays will work on any hard surface with a plastic or stainless-steel finish, but other finishes such as unsealed wood are more sensitive to certain cleaning solutions. It is best to check the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning specific types of wood surfaces.

  • Multipurpose cleaners

Disinfectant sprays and wipes come in different varieties, but it is best to use brands registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as they may be safer and more effective in killing pathogens. Here is a list of EPA-approved disinfectants against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

  • Alcohol solutions

Plastic surfaces and the exterior of most electronic devices can be disinfected with a 70% alcohol solution. The same percentage of alcohol (in a water mixture) will also work against disease-causing microbes on wooden furniture, according to this expert.

  • Wood cleaning agents

For sealed wood, mixing 1/4 cup of a specialized wood cleaning agent such as Pine-Sol with a gallon of water is believed to be effective. Experts, however, warn against using this solution on unsealed, waxed, oiled, or visibly worn wood.

A mixture of 3.5 cups of ethanol (alcohol), 1.5 cups of water, and 5 drops of liquid dishwashing soap will work on most wood surfaces. Be sure to spot-test the solution first to avoid damaging the entire furniture if the mixture proves unsuitable to the type of wood or treatment.


Spritzing a disinfectant solution on a high-touch surface is only one way to curb the spread of microbes in your living room. It’s also vital to understand how different surfaces react to specific cleaning solutions. With these essential items for sanitizing your home furniture, you can reduce the risk of infection and safeguard your home from pathogens such as the novel coronavirus.

About the Author

Michael HillMichael Hill   Michael Hill is the Marketing Manager at Ayala Land International. He believes that everyday is a chance to learn something new. On his free time, he writes about home improvement, personal finance, and lifestyle articles while listening to soul and jazz music.

For more useful articles, visit our blog.