After a long day, you probably don’t think twice before plopping down on your couch to relax and watch some TV. What you probably don’t know, however, is that your couch could be harboring some unpleasant and potentially harmful contaminants. Check out this list of seven nasty things you can find hiding in the average household couch. After reading through all of these items, you probably will view your couch in a whole different light:
1. Dust mites. Even though you have most likely heard about dust mites before, you probably haven’t given a lot of thought to what they really are. These microscopic members of the arachnid family feed on skin flakes from people and pets. They also sometimes eat mold. They hide in the soft surfaces of your home, including the fabric of your couch. That means that you could be sharing your couch with hundreds of thousands or millions of dust mites.
2. Mold. If your couch gets wet and isn’t properly dried, mold can develop inside the cushions and in hidden cracks and crevices. Even if your couch never gets wet, it still could develop a mold problem if you live in a humid environment. Excess humidity can cause mold and mildew to grow on the surfaces of your couch, which can be problematic for anyone who has breathing difficulties or an allergy to these substances.
3. Potentially harmful microbes. People and pets often carry bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful microbes along with them wherever they go. Some of these contaminants are transferred to furniture pieces like couches. These microbes can continue lurking in the fabric of the furniture, which could increase the likelihood of other family members or pets getting sick.
4. Food particles. If you eat food on your couch, it most likely is full of crumbs and tiny food particles. Typically, that means that it is also full of sugar, grease, and other ingredients that are commonly found in food. When upholstery fabric gets greasy or oily, it tends to attract dirt, which can leave your couch looking old and grubby, even if it is relatively new.
5. Pet dander. If you have pets, your couch is most likely full of pet dander. All animals leave behind these tiny flakes of skin. For people who are allergic to animals, dander can increase symptoms. It also provides food for dust mites, which can lead to an increase in these unwanted pests.
6. Hair and skin flakes. Like pets, people also lose skin flakes wherever they go. That means that your couch is most likely full of tiny flakes of skin from all of the people who have sat on it in the past. Again, this means that your couch is essentially a smorgasbord for dust mites.
7. Chemicals. The materials that are used in the construction of couches often contain chemicals. For instance, the foam that is used inside of couch cushions often gives off volatile organic compounds for a long period of time after you bring the couch into your home. These chemicals are a large part of the reason why furniture pieces like couches give off a distinctive “new” smell when you first bring them into your home.
Even though all seven of these nasty things can commonly be found hiding in couches, all hope is not lost. All that you have to do to keep these contaminants in check is to regularly clean your couch. Along with vacuuming it at least once a month, you should consider having it professionally cleaned on an annual basis. This is an affordable way to keep it clean and well maintained.