Research shows that on porous and absorbent surfaces such as fabric and cloth, the coronavirus doesn’t survive longer than two days. That said, there’s no harm in giving your cloth-based home décor and accessories around the house a good clean.
If you can dig up a steam cleaner, nothing beats its ability to give curtains a thorough cleaning to curtains says Sheeja Sasidharna, executive housekeeper at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. In fact, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends steam cleaning for sterilising carpets and curtains from germs.
In the absence of a steam cleaner, use these cleaning hacks provided by Sheeja and experts from Champion Cleaners, a Dubai-based professional dry cleaning and laundry, and Al Leefa Cleaning company.
Curtains trap more dust and allergens than you’d imagine possible, points out Sheeja which is why they need to be moved regularly so dust doesn’t settle on them. If your window drapes are too heavy to remove or are made of material that can’t be thrown into the wash, your vacuum cleaner is your trusted ally. Just ensure you’ve sanitised the vacuum’s floor brush and wand before using it on curtains or upholstery.
Champion Cleaners manager Babak Moghadam suggests a choice of light anti-bacterial spraying of the curtains to disinfect. ‘For families with children ethyl alcohol is a safer option.’
Most of the bugs in your rugs can be neutralised with a thorough hoovering, reiterate experts. Use your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery brush attachment to snag hair or pet fur stuck in the carpet fibres.
To tackle deep-seated food stains, use a domestic all-purpose stain removal only if it has been tested before, cautions Babak. Never rub into stains, Sheeja reminds. ‘Blot them out with a damp cloth. If you use the wrong chemical remover, stains can get harder, and you’re unsure of the weft and warp of the material it’s best not to experiment with chemicals. Keep it simple and use water.’
Different materials require different kinds of cleaning agents. The last thing you want to do in your bid to sanitise furniture is to ruin an expensive coffee table or couch. We asked experts what’s the best way to clean furniture based on the material they’re made of.
Sofas: You and the family are going to be couch potatoes for much of the quarantine. Which means, higher chances of food spills and dirt that routine dusting might not rectify. Sofas with fabric covers are best to be left with professionals for cleaning but for quick sanitisation, light spraying of antibacterial cleaner – free from bleach and other harsh chemicals – would do the job to save on the cost versus alcohol, says Babak from Champion Cleaners. Abdulrahman of Al Leefa Cleaning says to go the whole nine yards and remove all cushions from the sofa and chairs and vacuum the creases where pet hair and food always get stuck. Make sure to move the sofa and clean behind it.
Wood: Vacuum cabinets and drawers and wipe with a clean rag. If you’re worried about expensive wooden cabinets and glass or marble-topped coffee tables losing their polish, don’t worry. ‘Wiping down wooden cabinets with a damp rag will not ruin the wood’s patina; add a splash white vinegar to water and use that to wipe gently,’ he adds.
Leather: For furniture made of leather, Babak’s pro tip involves a light spraying of ethyl alcohol or bleach-free antibacterial cleaner. For the most part, however, all experts recommend tackling immediate stains with water and very mild soap to spot clean followed by the use of store-bought leather cleaners.
Velvet: In case parts of your furniture are covered with velvet, Babak recommends covering it with a white cloth, while treating the remaining areas of the furniture.
Glass and mirrors: Old newspapers are the ace up Sheeja’s sleeve when it comes to having sparkling glass-topped tables, cabinets and shelving made of glass (both reflective and transparent) and windows. Spray it with a disinfectant or cleaning liquid and rub with paper in circular motion. The newsprint’s high absorbency and dense fibres prise away dirt without scratching the surface.
Bedding: While your duvet covers, pillowcases and sheets can go into the wash for a hot wash – soap (typically a bleach-based detergent) and hot water (40-60C) help kill most bacteria and viruses – the upkeep of mattresses are a tad tricky. Sheeja has an old wives’ trick up her sleeve: sun drying.
‘Sun drying helps kill insects and bugs, especially bedbugs, and dries out sweat and moisture. You can also vacuum mattresses but ensure the nostrils of the machine are clean.’
If you’re spraying down the mattress lightly with a disinfectant spray or alcohol sprays, ensure the mattress dries out completely before you use it again.