Disinfecting Porous Household Materials

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Regardless of your current schedule, whether you are still going into an office some of the time, or if you’ve transitioned to working remotely full-time — you are probably spending a lot more time in your home than ever before. The spread of coronavirus and the concern for keeping healthy and sanitizing our environment are at an all-time high, so knowing how to properly sanitize your furniture and keep up your defense against harmful germs is important. 

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Although you might be cleaning around the house more than usual, the difference between cleaning and sanitizing is key to distinguish. According to the CDC, cleaning is the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from objects and surfaces, while disinfecting includes the use of chemical agents to kill germs, further lowering the risk of spreading infection.

EPA-Registered Disinfectants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a list of registered disinfectants that are qualified for use against COVID-19 through testing against similar viruses and pathogens, which you can find on their website. Look for products on the list or that have an EPA registration number on the package to ensure you’re doing the most to disinfect your household.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces such as your desk, kitchen table, and bathroom sink is relatively simple, but knowing how to disinfect upholstered materials isn’t as common knowledge. Here are some examples of how to properly disinfect household materials such as carpets and rugs, leather furniture, and pillows.

[Related: How to Clean and Protect Outdoor Furniture]

Carpets and Rugs

You can disinfect soft, porous surfaces such as carpets, rugs, and curtains by dusting and vacuuming the surface, and then gently cleaning with soap and water or a natural cleaning solution. After the initial cleaning, launder the items according to the care tag or manufacturer’s instructions, and finish by applying a cleaner that includes an EPA-approved disinfectant. Air dry overnight for best results.

Leather Upholstery

If you need to disinfect a leather chair or sofa, vacuum the creases and crevices and dust off the surface. Then, wipe down the leather material with a mixture of hot water and dish soap on a cloth. Although alcohol cleaning solutions that contain at least  70% alcohol are effective against the coronavirus, you want to avoid using harsh cleaning sprays that contain alcohol on your leather furniture because it can damage the topcoat. Let the leather air dry or use a blow dryer at least 12 inches away from the surface.


To disinfect your pillows and pillowcases, remove the dust and hang them outdoors to air out. If something is washer and dryer safe according to the care tag, launder on the warmest setting safe for the fabric. Dry your pillows on the lowest dryer setting or leave outside to air out. You can also disinfect a pillow by spraying the material with a fabric cleaner that contains an EPA-registered disinfectant (such as Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist) and gently wiping it down.

Queen Anne Upholstery can answer questions when it comes to the care of your household furniture, and we can also team up to assist with your new reupholstery project if you want to upgrade your furniture to something that can be more easily disinfected (or something that is more your style). Contact us today and let’s get started!