9 Things in the Living Room That Are Really Dirty

Living Room

 Superb Image / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Our living room is a place to gather the family, recoup after a difficult day, and simply relax. While you may not think of it as a room in your home filled with dirty items, unfortunately, it is.

Take a look at 9 things in your living room that are dirtier than you think and may require some extra attention next time you clean.

  • 01 of 09

    Remote Controls

    Remote Controls

     Christina Reichi Photography / Moment/ Getty Images

    Remote controls for the TV, music, game systems, and ceiling fans are touched dozen of times every day. Did everyone in your house wash their hands completely each time before touching them? Of course not.

    Remote controls and other electronic accessories like keyboards and earphones attract soil and bacteria. And if someone in the family is ill, there are even more bacteria just waiting to infect the next user.

    Use a disinfectant wipe that is approved for use on electronics each day to wipe down remotes and accessories. If someone is ill, take time to wipe down after every use before passing along for the next person to use.

  • 02 of 09

    Wall-to-Wall Carpet


     Banks Photos / E+ / Getty Images

    Even if you are meticulous and vacuum every day, wall-to-wall carpet is a dirt magnet. But replacing older carpet with newer carpet is not always the best solution.

    If you have wall-to-wall carpet, clean regularly with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, have the carpet cleaned by a professional on a seasonal basis, and consider removing it and using smaller rugs that can be easily washed.

  • 03 of 09

    Air Fresheners

    Air Fresheners

     carlo salvares / E+ /  Getty Images

    Whether you use a plug-in air freshener, commercial potpourri, or spray air fresheners to cover up stale odors, they are contributing to indoor air pollution. Home fragrance products, candles, and some oils for diffusers often contain chemicals like petroleum distillates, limonene, formaldehyde, esters, and alcohols that can cause respiratory distress, headaches, and eye irritation.

    Instead of a commercial product that simply covers up bad odors instead of eliminating them, open the doors and windows and welcome in some fresh air. Or, place bowls of baking soda, activated charcoal, or distilled white vinegar around the room to absorb odors. If you like the addition of scent, make your own potpourri from dried flowers and add essential oils.

  • 04 of 09



    Tammy Hanratty / Corbis / Getty Images 

    Candles can add fragrance and a decorative touch to the living room and a certain ambiance when lit. Unfortunately, since most candles are made from paraffin wax which is produced with petroleum, they can also release chemicals like ketones and benzene which are irritants to the respiratory system.

    You don't need to get rid of candles completely but opt for those made of soy or beeswax. Look for wicks that do not contain wire or metal and avoid heavily scented candles.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Heating and Air Conditioning Vents

    Air Vents

    Banks Photo /  E+ / Getty Images 

    Heating and air conditioning systems are a must in most homes, but filters and vents can become full of dust. Filters should be changed regularly and a filter that captures fine particles is best. Vents should be dusted weekly and ductwork cleaned yearly.

  • 06 of 09

    Vacuum Cleaner


     Sofie Delauw / Cultura / Getty Images

    A vacuum is one of the essential cleaning tools to keep living areas dust and dirt free, but if you don't clean your vacuum, all of that dust and dirt will stick around. Look for a vacuum that is equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). Then, clean or change the filter regularly and empty the bag or cup after every use to remove dirt and dust from your home.

  • 07 of 09



    Carlos G. Lopex / Moment / Getty Images 

    While we love and value our pets, they have the potential to make us sick. Just like humans, cats and dogs shed microscopic bits of dead skin called pet dander that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Pets can also bring in pests like ticks and bacteria from outside play and toilet areas.

    The best practice is to keep pets off upholstery and carpeted areas and in their own beds. If that's impossible, clean and vacuum regularly to prevent health issues.

  • 08 of 09


    Picture of a pile of firewood

    Tuan Tran / Moment / Getty Images

    A basket filled with firewood is both convenient and decorative. However, stored firewood can introduce pests to a home. Leave wood outside until it is needed and promptly clean away fireplace ashes and soot.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Your Shoes

    Shoes on porch

     Rafael Ben-Ari / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Think about where your shoes have been throughout the day. Do you want that on your carpet or upholstery? Your shoes will track in dirt and other particles from outdoors and deposit them throughout your living room and beyond. The easiest way to prevent this is to have everyone remove their shoes at the front or back door. Wash welcome mats and entry rugs frequently.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rose, Joan B. "Cleaning And Disinfecting Electronic Devices". Water Quality And Health Council, 2014, https://waterandhealth.org/disinfect/cleaning-disinfecting-electronic-devices/.

  2. Dominguez, Karen D. "Air Fresheners: Are They Safe?". Poison Control, https://www.poison.org/articles/air-freshener-171.

  3. "Are Candles Bad For You?". Missouri Poison Center, 2021, https://missouripoisoncenter.org/are-candles-bad-for-you/.

  4. "Pet Dander". American Lung Association, 2020, https://www.lung.org/clean-air/at-home/indoor-air-pollutants/pet-dander#:~:text=Pet%20dander%20is%20composed%20of,specifically%20allergic%20to%20these%20triggers.