Furnishings to help keep your home bacteria and virus-free

COVID-19 has forced us all to think about new ways to avoid germs in the workspace, public places and even in the privacy of our own homes. Fortunately, interior designers and manufacturers are responding to the demand and offering homeowners solutions to reduce the spread of germs and other harmful particles. 

Here, industry professionals share some of the more helpful ideas and innovations currently available.

Easy-to-clean and sealed surfaces

In a survey of designers conducted by the National Kitchen + Bath Association, a trade group, a majority of respondents said that easy-to-clean surfaces would be an influential trend in the wake of the pandemic. “People want something that’s easy to sanitize, such as stainless steel faces on dishwashers and refrigerators,” says Peter Salerno, a certified master kitchen and bath designer and owner of Peter Salerno, Inc. in Wyckoff. “(Decorators) often put panels on them, but non-porous surfaces are easier to clean because they don’t have crevices.”

This Summit dining room has chairs covered with wipeable Crypton fabric that resists mold and bacteria. The room, part of a home in Summit, was designed by Alexa Harris-Ralff, owner of AHR Designs in Maplewood.

Salerno also praises non-porous countertops such as quartz, which, unlike marble, limestone and granite, doesn’t have small fissures, veining or indentations. A combination of pulverized stone and resin, “Quartz is poured in a mold, and doesn’t have nature’s flaws,” he says. “It cleans like glass.”

To keep bacteria such as E. coli and MRSA and mold from getting into cushions, homeowners can upholster their furniture with germ-resistant fabric such as Crypton, which incorporates, according to the company’s website, EPA-approved silver-ion antimicrobial protection (it also repels stains).