If you had a microscopic view of your home and the creatures that inhabit the furniture, you'd never stop cleaning. Some of these creatures look as if they jumped right off the pages of a science-fiction novel into your home. Whether you need to disinfect your latest thrift store find, or you just need to ensure the cleanliness of your existing furniture, you can choose from a variety of products based on the item you plan to sanitize.

Dry steam cleaner in action.
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Steam cleaner sanitizing a throw pillow.

Step 1

Vacuum upholstered surfaces first. To disinfect them, use a spray-on, homemade disinfectant comprising a 2-to-1 ratio of 60 to 90 percent rubbing -- isopropyl -- alcohol to water. Hold the bottle 6 to 8 inches from the furniture, spraying the piece until it is covered with a light mist. When someone is sick in your home, this type of disinfectant can keep others from getting sick because it kills a variety of germs and bacteria.

Step 2

Wipe down tabletops, end tables, wooden arms and other hard surfaces of your furniture with a rag and your own homemade disinfect -- a weakened solution of household bleach -- to sanitize them. Mix 1 teaspoon of bleach to a quart of water. The surface must stay wet at least 1 minute to completely disinfect the piece.

Step 3

Set a smelly thrift store find outdoors -- in good weather only -- for at least a day if you can to air it out and kill resident bacteria. Sunshine and clean air work wonders, and the ultraviolet rays kill a lot of germs. Make your own cleaning and oiling solution by mixing olive oil and vinegar in a 1-to-1 ratio and apply it to the furniture, after first testing its reaction on the wood in a hidden place.

Step 4

Apply a good dose of steam to a variety of furniture pieces if you prefer to avoid chemical cleaners. Besides its cleaning properties, it can kill a variety of creatures and microscopic bugs on furniture, tabletops, mattresses and more in just a few seconds. It effectively sanitizes and disinfects most anything it cleans because of the high temperatures in the steam vapor. But it may not be the best choice for items with specialty upholstery fabric such as velvet or other types of fabric that can shrink.