If your La-Z-Boy makes you a snee-z-boy, it’s time we sat down (but not on your allergy-triggering couch) and had a talk about furniture allergies and why your couch might be making you sneeze, itch, or cough.
While more than 50 million Americans struggle with allergies, most don’t know that their sofa could be the hidden culprit in their home.
What is Sofa Dermatitis?
Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US, warns the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. When you reach for a tissue or look in the mirror and notice red, puffy and itching eyes, you might be quick to blame pets or dust. Alas, you might actually be suffering from a furniture allergy.
Top 4 Common Furniture Allergy Symptoms
Sofa dermatitis is the clinical term that allergists use to refer to the persistent allergies triggered by upholstered furniture, leather loveseats, couches or sofas, and other furniture pieces.
Sofa allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes
- Sneezing, coughing, and other respiratory symptoms
- Hives, red skin, or itching when sitting on the couch
- Eczema where you come in contact with your furniture like your buttocks or the back of your legs
Couch Materials to Avoid Right Away
Here’s a weird trivia fact you can use if you’re ever on the game show Jeopardy!: If you’re the proud owner of antique upholstered furniture, it’s most likely stuffed with horse hair. Horse hair is incredibly allergy-triggering, and it was only in the 19th century that many furniture makers stopped using it.
Beyond this shockingly common furniture-stuffing ingredient, those who struggle with allergies may want to avoid couches made with:
Furniture made with organic materials like hemp is often marketed as being hypoallergenic, but these couch materials can still trap dust, dander, and other allergens.
4 Surprising Reasons Your Couch Makes You Itch
There are a few other culprits that may be causing you to feel uncomfortable on your couch. If you’re not ready to give up on yours yet, before you can treat it, you need to determine why your couch is making you itch. The following are a few things to take into consideration.
1. Furniture Chemicals in a Brand-New Couch
Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is an anti-fungal chemical that furniture makers put into little bags or sachets. These sachets are usually attached to the frame of your furniture, or tucked into the cushion material.
The chemical helps keep your couch smelling fresh and prevents mold (which is good, because mold can trigger an array of health problems), but a growing amount of people are allergic to DMF.
You might even have a new furniture allergy. New couches can also emit various fumes used in the furniture-building process (i.e., formaldehyde in the glossy coating on your couch’s wood frame), and many people are allergic or sensitive to these fumes.
2. Dust Mites
It might not be Halloween, but your couch may be teeming with millions of creepy crawlies.
Dust mites are microscopic pests found in four out of five homes, and a single couch cushion could have millions of these pests living in it. The mites feed on your dead skin cells (gross!), and their tiny fecal droppings are one of the most common causes of allergies and asthma in people.
3. Pet Dander
Man’s best friend may be your sinus’ worst enemy.
Pet dander from dogs, cats, and other pets can cause sneezing, itchy eyes, and itchy skin, and your upholstered furniture traps and holds a lot of this dander.
4. Dead Skin Cells
By the time you’re done reading this paragraph, you will have shed approximately 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells off the surface of your skin. If you’re sitting on your sofa right now, where do you think those dead skin cells ended up?
Besides being an all-you-can-eat buffet for dust mites, new research shows that breathing in your dead skin cells can lead to allergies, and even the development of food allergies!
How to Remove Allergens From Couch
Now that you have an idea of what might be causing your discomfort, check out the following ways for getting your furniture back to being that big comfy couch you once loved.
Step 1: Clean Your Furniture Frequently
Don’t wait until spring to do some deep spring cleaning. Vacuum your furniture daily, including under any removable couch cushions. Don’t forget to vacuum up those dust bunnies lurking under your sofa, too.
Step 2: Reupholster Your Furniture
If you have an upholstered couch, it may be easiest to simply toss it. Using a fast, affordable and hassle-free couch removal service like Couch Disposal Plus, you can safely get rid of a sneeze-inducing couch as early as tomorrow.
For beloved upholstered furniture that you simply can’t let go of, consider reupholstering it with vinyl, leather, or synthetic leather. These materials are much easier to clean thoroughly, and they do not trap dust mites, pet dander, dust, and other allergens as easily.
Can’t imagine yourself relaxing without the cozy comfort of soft upholstery? Switch to the same material you love, but choose the tightest weave possible. This makes it harder for dust, dander and other allergens to penetrate the fabric (and also makes it easier to wipe or vacuum your couch).
Step 3: Get an Allergen Barrier Couch Cover
Cover your furniture with a zippered, plastic or allergen-resistant cover. This is one of the best ways to keep dreaded dust mites at bay.
Once a week (or more often, if you still find yourself itching or sneezing), unzip the furniture cover and wash it. For the best results, use hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter) to zap and kill any mites stuck to the cover.
Step 4: Run a HEPA Air Filter
The air in your home can be up to 500% more polluted and dirty than the outdoor air, warns the U.S. EPA. Run a HEPA air filter near your furniture to trap mold, dust, and furniture chemicals that could be causing your allergies.
You may also want to invest in a dehumidifier. Humid air makes allergies worse, in part by causing mold and fungal growth in your furniture.
Should Toss Your Couch For a Hypoallergenic Couch?
There’s no true hypoallergenic couch, because all furniture can trap and hold allergens. However, there are some sofa materials that are far less likely to trigger allergies, and customers and furniture brands alike often use the term “hypoallergenic.”
Example types of hypoallergenic sofas include those made from:
- Performance fabric
When All Else Fails: The Best Way to Get Rid of Your Couch
In the end, most allergists and medical experts recommend tossing out your allergy-triggering furniture for one made of leather, vinyl, or an allergy-resistant material.
Once a couch causes rashes or hives, it may be too infused with allergens and chemicals to be saved.
Yet, getting rid of bulky furniture can be a pain.
Sit back and relax (on your new allergy-free couch) with Couch Disposal Plus. Our trusted couch removal experts do all the heavy lifting and provide fast, affordable and stress-free couch removal near you.
Plus, our couch removal and disposal experts will do everything we can to recycle or dispose of your unwanted sofa in a green, eco-friendly way.
Find your free couch removal price online today, and rest easy knowing that our couch removal service prices are 20% to 30% cheaper than other junk removal companies. All quotes are upfront and guaranteed, so you’ll face no surprises on pickup day.