You might be regularly cleaning them but, just as with...

You might be regularly cleaning them but, just as with hard surfaces, it's important to sanitize cozy fabric items too. Credit: Getty Images/TNS/CreativaStudio

Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting hard surfaces has become second nature to many of us over the past few years. (No doorknob, remote or handrail is safe from those lemon-scented disinfecting sprays.) But soft surfaces are often forgotten. So how does one even begin to sanitize items that deliver all those warm and cozy vibes to our home? Here, we break down the most commonly forgotten surfaces when it comes to sanitizing and pair them with instructions for both cleaning (step one) and sanitizing (step two) to help you tidy up your home.


Unless the directions instruct otherwise, machine-wash window treatments on a short, gentle cycle, using cool water and mild detergent. Consider using a laundry sanitizer if it's compatible with the material's washing guidelines. Tumble-dry window treatments on the low or air setting, or line-dry. Complete the cleaning process by ironing curtains on their reverse side.

If you're unable to wash your curtains in the washing machine, a sanitizing or disinfecting spray will get the job done. These bacteria-busting products should also, in turn, clear up odors caused by bacteria. You knew there were smells lurking in your carpets and rugs, but we bet you never thought your curtains could be the culprit.

Carpets and area rugs

If you have pets or small children, sanitizing your rugs is an important item to regularly check off your to-do list. But let's start with the cleaning basics. Most rugs are OK for at-home cleaning, but seek a professional's help for delicate, hand-knotted versions like Persian or Oriental rugs. For most other rug varieties and most carpets, you can start by vacuuming to remove dirt and debris. Spot-clean any heavily soiled or problem areas with soap and warm water.

Once the carpets are clean, use a sanitizing product and an antimicrobial fabric spray as the final step, following the label's instructions for use in order to ensure you're reaping those sanitizing benefits.

Upholstered furniture

Upholstered furniture follows a similar process as area rugs and carpets. Products in these categories aren't eligible for a run in the washing machine, so the vacuum, spot-clean, sanitize process is key. And yes, you should be vacuuming your upholstered headboards, sofas, chairs and more regularly. As with any cleaning agent or fabric surface, it's always best practice to test your sanitizing products for colorfastness on an inconspicuous spot before using it on the entire surface area.

Throw pillows

Sanitizing throw pillows requires more than simply freshening them up. Sure, you can douse them in an odor-masking spray, but sanitizing is about more than what meets the nose. If you're able to wash the pillow covers in your machine with a sanitizing product, you've hit the jackpot with ease. If not, you'll want to spot-clean problem areas and follow up with a sanitizing product that's safe to leave on fabric.

No matter which of these often-forgotten soft surfaces you're setting out to sanitize, be sure to read all fabric care information first. It's important to keep in mind that some sanitizing products made for soft surfaces are meant to be washed off (i.e., in the washing machine). Regardless of which of the items above you're planning to tackle, you'll want to read the sanitizing product's instructions prior to purchase to ensure you're selecting the right product for the job.

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