Sanitize It: Living Room Edition

10 Steps To Clean Your Most Lived In Space

If you’ve been reading this series, again: it’s all about the process. And since the living room is meant to be lived in (as opposed to your bathroom which invites  more of an obligatory stay of residence), you’ll want to take care in cleaning and sanitizing to create a space worth – well – living in. Practicing proper process with your cleaning routines regularly will ultimately save you time and energy. With an initial deep cleaning out of the way, you’ll  have that experience in your wheelhouse when needed and can focus on regular maintenance cleaning between seasons. 

Execute A Living Room Sweep

Grab a laundry basket and collect clutter and misplaced items. You can go ahead and organize now or finish cleaning first and find a new home for these items later.

Remember To Work From High To Low And You’ll Avoid Having To Double Up On Dusting

Begin by dusting the ceilings and walls for cobwebs and dust the ceiling fan. Working this way, you won’t worry about having to lay out a drop cloth to avoid dusty furniture – simply dust down as you go. 

Shed Some Light On The Subject

While you’re on the ceiling fan, take down any light fixture globes to be washed as you prefer. Sturdy sets can actually be put into the dishwasher for an easy-peasy option (more on everything lighting in “Fixture Fixes”).

Got Knick-Knacks?

If your parlor sports a lived in look, you’ll need to address any art, photographs and  – gulp –  knick-knacks you might have positioned along other dust-collecting surfaces. Don’t forget to dust lamps and lamp shades as well as books you have on display. Move and lift these items to dust under and around them as well. 

*Hint: If you want a little extra oomph but don’t have any furniture spray or polish handy, a little liquid Dawn dish detergent and water goes a long way with freshening up furniture. 

Don’t Turn A Blind Eye To Your Window Coverings!

Take down blinds, curtains and draperies to be washed according to the manufacturer’s specifications or best practices and give your baseboards some love as your final dusting destination. Oh yeah – while you’re at it, maybe wash the windows and inside window sills too. 

Couches And Chairs And Pillows – Oh My!

Don’t be scared of what’s lying in wait under couch cushions and seat coverings. Just use your vacuum attachment to clean inside your couches cracks and crevices, but be on the lookout for any buried treasures like long-lost toys, that earring you lost months ago, or – finders keepers – loose change for your rainy day collection! While you’re vacuuming shake a bit of baking soda over soft fabric cushions to deodorize. 

Don’t Get Spotty!

Or should I say, don’t let your upholstery get that way. If your vacuum has an upholstery cleaning setting, use it to take care of any spots or stains. If not, you’ll want to manually spot clean with a product that’s safe for your favorite couch, armchair or chaise lounge. Send any machine washable slipcovers for a spin or launder as directed and wash accent pillows by hand or in the washer if applicable. 

Tip: You can “dust” your fabric pillows, throws and even curtains if the fabric allows by tossing them into the dryer for about 15-20 minutes to fluff and clear away any light dust or debris (the dryer is pretty much a giant vacuum cleaner). Using a high heat setting will also kill dust mites. 

Snug On Your Rug?

If not, any carpeting or area rugs that aren’t heavily soiled can just be vacuumed and spot cleaned. But for any major soiling, you might consider calling a professional or renting the proper equipment if you’d prefer to DIY it. You can also sprinkle baking soda over your carpeting before vacuuming to give it a freshening. 

Wrap It Up And Vac It Up

After you’ve completed your clean sweep, dusted top to bottom and vacuumed the furniture and rugs, it’s time to finish the floors by vacuuming, sweeping or dust mopping any hard flooring. Make sure to move and get under all furniture and into the corners of the room. 

Final Touch

Wet mop or steam clean hardwood floors or other hard flooring surfaces with your favorite product! A simple solution of vinegar and water is an all natural option that works wonders on wood and is safe for most surfaces. 

One Last Note On Tech Touch Ups: If you’ve got electronic devices in your living room or parlor area, it’s best to dust and sanitize them regularly. You can use a bit of rubbing alcohol (60% or higher to kill viruses) on a Q-tip to clean tight spaces, such as a keyboard. Lightly wipe your devices with the same or using a disinfectant wipe. Exercise caution with screens and near ports or openings (see our article “COVID-Care for Electronics” for details.) And don’t forget to sanitize your TV and other remotes.