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New Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial Helps Americans Kill Bacteria Living On Their Soft Surfaces

Febreze survey reveals Americans aren’t sanitizing the soft surfaces in their home

Here’s the hard truth about soft surfaces: our homes are one of the most active areas of our lives, with people—and bacteria—coming and going frequently. A new survey from Febreze reveals that although 73% of Americans say they sanitize hard surfaces like their toilet regularly, about 1 in 4 admit they have never sanitized the soft surfaces in their homes, like their sofas or rugs.

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New Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial (Photo: Business Wire)

New Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial (Photo: Business Wire)

That may be because Americans believe that hard surfaces like their toilet seat (45%) host the most bacteria. But research shows that bacteria also grow on the often-forgotten, hard-to-clean, soft surfaces. In fact, according to Meghan May, Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, fabric surfaces that accumulate dust have substantially higher microbial burdens than hard surfaces that can be wiped down. What’s more, studies have shown that bacteria can be transferred to upholstery and fabric cushions, and then back to people.1,2

“We know sanitizing hard surfaces is part of everyone’s cleaning routines, but we found people are missing a large portion of their regularly used surfaces, their soft surfaces,” said Angelica Matthews, Senior Brand Director at Febreze. “In fact, according to our recent survey, more than half of Americans claim their sofa is the central piece of furniture in their homes, however 47% say they sanitize it less than once a month or have never sanitized it at all.

Enter Febreze’s newest fabric refresher, Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial, a multi-purpose fabric spray that kills 99.9% of bacteria3, eliminates odors, and prevents the growth of mold and mildew on soft surfaces4.

“It’s no secret that kids, pets, and parents are bringing a lot of bacteria into their homes daily,” said Morgan Brashear, Senior Scientist at Febreze. “Research shows that large numbers of bacteria can live on the bottom of shoes, averaging 421,000 colony forming units (CFU)/cm sq5 – more than 2,000 times more bacteria per square centimeter than on your toilet seat6. Yet over half of Americans leave their shoes on when they enter their home, and over 70% place shoes – along with bags and clothes they’ve worn outside - on their couch. These bacteria can also produce unwanted bad odors. Febreze created the new Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial to address both concerns – sanitization and odor elimination- at the same time in one simple product.”

To use Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial, clean soiled soft surfaces. Then, spray the surface evenly until it’s wet, keeping the fabric visibly wet for five minutes. Let dry completely before use. For mold or mildew prevention, repeat every fourteen days or more often if new growth appears.

Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial can be found online or at major retailers nationwide with an MSRP of $8.00.


The Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial Survey was conducted on behalf of Febreze in partnership with a trusted third-party vendor, among a sample of n=1,008 Americans. The sample is nationally representative as it relates to age, gender, region and race/ethnicity. The 15-minute online survey was conducted between August 27-30, 2021. The margin of error (MOE) for the total sample is +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.


In 1998, Procter & Gamble (P&G) gave households a breath of fresh air with the launch of Febreze®, known today as the preeminent brand for providing a fresh, clean scent and eliminating odors from fabrics and the air. Febreze® features a line of products with freshness capabilities that range from ridding of pet odors and tackling sweat stink to decorating the home with scent and freshening on the go. Febreze® continues to be one of the fastest growing brands in P&G’s portfolio of household brands and bring innovative products to market.


P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands. For other P&G news, visit us at

1 Neely, A.N. (2014). Persistence of microorganisms on common hospital surfaces. Infection Control Resource, 4(4).

2 Noskin G.A., Bednarz, P., Suriano, T., Reiner, S., Peterson, L.R. (2000). Persistent contamination of fabric covered furniture by vancomycin-resistant enterococci: implications for upholstery selection in hospitals. American Journal of Infection Control. 28(4):311-3.

3 Effective against Enterobacter aerogenes and Staphylococcus aureus

4 Effective against Aspergillus niger and Penicillium variable

5 Maxwell, S., & Gerba, C. P. (2008). Rockport Shoe Study (pp. 1–9). Tucson, Arizona.

6 Rusin, P., Orosz-Coughlin, P. & Gerba, C. (1998). Reduction of faecal coliform, coliform and heterotrophic plate count bacteria in the household kitchen and bathroom by disinfection with hypochlorite cleaners. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 85, 819-828.


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