Cleaning: How often you should clean behind the sofa – ‘dirtiest area’ in the home

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A new swabbing experiment has unveiled the dirtiest areas in UK homes, with behind the sofa being the dirtiest place overall. According to the contamination tests by, there are over 10,000 bacteria living there. The experts said: “Despite being the dirtiest area with over 10,000 RLU (relative light units) units, interestingly, a quarter of Brits in our survey say they clean behind their sofa every week.

“Our sofas are one of the most used items in our home, and with the drinking, eating and general relaxing, comes a lot of mess. 

“You should aim to properly hoover your entire sofa once a week, including the back, arms, skirt and cushions. 

“If the cushions are removable, take them off and vacuum the fabric underneath. 

“The same goes for behind the sofa too, every two weeks minimum, you should move your sofa away from its original position and hoover the space thoroughly, or sweep and mop if your sofa is on hard floors.”

If it’s a fabric sofa, it can be cleaned with a weak solution of laundry liquid.

Using an antibacterial fabric spray can also help to keep the germs at bay.

Before using any detergents or solutions on your fabric sofa, check the manufacturer’s instructions for care, which can usually be found on the sofa’s tag.

Failing to use safe cleaning products could mean permanently damaging your upholstery.

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Sprinkling baking soda over the sofa can help to remove stains and odours.

It can be left on the sofa for up to 20 minutes before vacuuming it off.

Another dirty area in many people’s homes is the doormat.

The doormat is often a high traffic area with people walking across it in shoes.

The experts said: “Shaking the dirt off your doormat (in an outside location) and then vacuuming it on a weekly basis should remove most of the dirt and dust that embeds itself onto doormats, but once every few weeks you should give your doormat a deep clean to ensure its longevity. 

“All you need to do is make a washing-up liquid and water solution, and work this into your doormat with a stiff bristle brush. 

“Work until the dirt is removed and hang to air-dry and your doormat is good to go more.”

While 35 percent of those surveyed said they clean behind their toilets every week, Tapi found it to be the third dirtiest area in the home.

Three percent said they had never cleaned behind their toilets before.

The experts explained: “While many of us pay attention to our toilet bowl when doing our cleaning, a lot of us neglect the area behind the toilet. 

“At least once a week you should pay attention to this area, cleaning the base and floor around the toilet with an all-purpose disinfectant, bathroom cleaner or bleach-water solution. 

“Use a bristle brush to properly get into the area and wipe away with a clean cloth. 

“Don’t forget the area underneath the rim either – this is where the water pours out and because it’s out of sight, it’s often times out of mind. 

“Use a brush or sponge with your cleaning products to target this area too.”

Commenting on the study, Johanna Constantinou, Brand and Communications Director at Tapi, says: “We all know how important it is to clean our homes thoroughly, but it’s interesting to find that, in our research, the areas that Brits claim they’re cleaning weekly, are in fact the dirtiest! 

“It’s important to make sure we’re taking extra care to clean these most-forgotten areas to reduce the number of bacteria living in our homes. 

“It’s interesting to see that flooring is in fact the cleanest area in the home, too!”

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