Infection Control (Sanitizing) Related to Upholstery

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Recommendation

The CDC recommends cleaning surfaces, like upholstery, with soap and water (or surface appropriate cleaners) and then laundering or disinfecting surfaces with an EPA registered household disinfectant.  Since laundering upholstery is not possible in a commercial setting, after cleaning, the use of a disinfectant is recommended.

Helpful definitions:
Cleaning
:  Is the act of physically removing impurities from the surface of a material.
Disinfecting:  Is the act of using a chemical to kill germs on the surface of a material.
Sanitizing:  Is the act of freeing a material from impurities or germs by physically removing them or using chemicals to kill them.  Both cleaning and disinfecting are steps in the sanitization process. Sanitizing is your goal for proper infection control.

LDI's Sanitization Recommendation

It is a 4 step process. Select, clean, disinfect, rinse.

  • Reduce exposure to bacteria and germs by simply selecting the proper type of material.  LDI’s research shows that both woven textiles and deeply grained PU faux-leathers trapped over 200% more microorganisms on average before sanitization than the smoother surfaces of both EnviroLeather™ Prints and EnviroLeather™ California solids
  • Regularly clean the surface with soap and water, or an appropriate cleaner.  This is to physically remove stains, dirt and other impurities, like bacteria and germs.
  • Regularly apply an EPA registered surface disinfectant that has been tested and approved for your upholstery and wallcovering.  This is to chemically kill bacteria and germs that are still attached to the surface after cleaning.
  • After the proper dwell time has been achieved with the surface disinfectant, rinse the surface with water.  The active ingredient in the disinfectant is leaving a residue whether you see it or not.  That residue is going to attract and trap impurities, increasing the bacteria load on the surface between cleanings.  It also leads to the material getting visibly dirty, eventually leading to permanent staining.

Can you get away with skipping steps?  Yes!  Facilities do it all the time under the guise of saving time and money!  Here are some of the consequences:

  • Infection Control suffers.  You are minimizing your sanitization efforts.  As residue builds up effectiveness of the disinfecting chemicals is reduced.
  • Material begins to look dirty and stains begin to set permanently.
  • It costs you more money in the end.  Inferior upholstery begins to prematurely fail, by peeling, cracking or delaminating.  Most suppliers will not honor a warranty claim caused by this type of care and maintenance protocol.  Even if they do, the cost for labor is not included.  Labor is expensive.

Consider how your skin would feel if you skipped the cleaning or rinsing step and only used gel sanitizers to “wash yourself” day after day without showering.  Why should we expect surface materials like upholstery and wallcoverings to be any different?  The end result is that you have saved a few minutes but you haven’t made the environment as safe as you could have, your furniture us going to look tired and in many cases it will need to be replaced years before it otherwise would have had you followed the CDC and your suppliers advice.

Still going to skip steps?

Then it is best to select LDI:

  • Our surface materials hold up to repeated cleaning.  If LDI supplies it, you can rest assured that it is designed to perform regardless of the Infection Control protocol you are implementing.  We regularly see customers getting 5-7+ years of useful life out of our upholstery in applications where stringent chemicals are used to clean surfaces
  • You can achieve the look of a woven textile while retaining the cleanability and durability with EnviroLeather™ Prints.
  • LDI is the only supplier to explicitly state that the use of approved cleaners and disinfectants will not void our 3 year -24/7  warranty.
  • We are so confident in the quality of our upholstery that we may also contribute to the cost of replacement labor.

Important Resources

Approved Cleaners and Disinfectants

COVID-19 Cleaners and Disinfectants

LDI Warranty

Truth About Antimicrobials

Avoid Using Woven Textile Upholsteries

Understanding Coated Fabrics

Not All Upholstery Warranties Are Equal