There's nothing more welcoming than relaxing on a comfy couch at the end of the day but our sofas could in fact be making us sick. Some 14 per cent of Brits only clean their sofa once a year or less, risking illness-causing bacteria breeding on their couch, new research from sofa and carpet specialists ScS has found.
The study of over people identified the nation’s questionable lounge hygiene habits and found that almost a fifthof us only clean their couch every six months, while a concerning 4 per cent never do.
Looking at the activities that can cause our sofas to become dirty and in need of cleaning, more than half (51 per cent) have rested on the couch when they’ve been ill, and 70 per cent eat meals and drink on their sofa.
On top of this, 17 per cent cut their finger and toe nails on the couch, and 15 per cent leave dirty clothing or items on the couch. Fifteen participants in the study said they had given birth on their sofa!
Commenting on the importance of regularly cleaning sofas, Dr Laura Bowater, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia, says: "A bacterium such as Staphylococcus aureus, a commensal bacteria, can lurk on many surfaces in our homes including door handles and remote controls, but also soft furnishings such as couches.
"The same is true for viruses. Norovirus is a nasty, highly infectious virus that can cause sickness and diarrhoea. These tiny viruses are transmitted and can land on surfaces like a couch where someone else can come into contact with them and become infected themselves."
The results of the study are particularly unpleasant considering many of our sofas aren't spring chickens, with over a quarter of sofas aged between five and ten years old, and an additional 12 per cent more than ten years old.
When people do get around to cleaning their sofas, 15 per cent have done so to clean up a spillage, with more than one in ten cleaning it due to guests visiting.
Dr Bowater continues: "Washing hands is vital to prevent the spread of infections but ensuring that surfaces in your house, including the sofa, are deep cleaned and perhaps steam cleaned after someone in the household has been ill can destroy the microbe and prevent the spread of disease to other household members or visitors."
If you regularly eat on your sofa, Kevin Royal at Scs says to clean up any crumbs afterwards, and hoover your sofa once a week with a soft attachment, to ensure your couch is as hygienic as possible: "Always check the best method of cleaning for your sofa’s material so as not to cause any damage," he adds.
For more information on sofa maintenance and to explore ScS’s full range of couch-care products click here.
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