3 Cleaning Secrets You Should Borrow from People Who Love White Sofas

published Jul 27, 2019
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White furniture is nothing short of iconic. While the crisp, fresh look of a white couch or loveseat is a statement piece all on its own, it comes with tons of other benefits, from brightening up a space to making a room feel instantly larger.

“White, larger-scale furniture pieces can visually appear smaller than their actual proportions due to the way that light reflects off of white surfaces, unlike how it does with darker colors and surfaces,” says Kenneth Boyer of Atelier k. “White furniture can be used to brighten, lighten, and make any space more feel more expansive.”

If you’re into color but don’t want to overdo it with a bold color palette, a white couch is the perfect way to provide a sense of balance, says Kate Lester of Kate Lester Interiors. “White furniture pieces enable you to add a pop of color and pattern and change things out when you tire of them,” she says. “I always think of a white sofa as the perfect building block to a versatile space. Then I don’t worry about overkill when adding color and pattern in rugs, pillows, and art.”

Regardless of the benefits white furniture brings, if you have a child, a pet, or a thing for red wine, you’re probably hesitant about incorporating a white couch or loveseat into your home. No matter what’s standing in the way of you and your dream couch, we have good news: Enjoying the aesthetic benefits of white furniture will likely take less effort than you think. Especially with a little bit of planning.

Here are three tips our white-sofa-loving experts swear by:

Treat it with stain guard, or choose outdoor-friendly materials from the start

To maintain your crisp, white furniture (not to mention protect your investment), Boyer recommends treating it with an eco-friendly stain guard. Or, if cleanliness is a major concern, he suggests opting for outdoor fabric, which is usually pre-treated to repel stains and discoloration.

“Today’s white performance outdoor fabrics can be used for interior upholstery and are often more resistant to damage,” Boyer says. “We especially recommend these performance fabrics for people living with young kids and pets. They’re much more durable than strictly interior fabrics and are fade and stain resistant.” Try a sofa made of Sunbrella fabric—these Crate & Barrel finds look great indoors or out.

Find a white sofa slipcover instead

Another great way to pull off the white aesthetic, Lester says, is to go for a super tight-fitting slipcover. “When done right, a fitted slipcover will give the illusion of a fully-upholstered piece and give you the ability to launder (delicate wash on cold) and/or dry clean when you have spills. A really well-done slipcover is a godsend, and has saved my white sofa many a time!”

For longevity, Lester recommends cleaning a slipcovered piece every three months, depending on traffic and usage.

Create a White-Furniture Emergency Cleaning Kit

Since spills and spots are inevitable (regardless of if you have little ones or animals), it’s important to keep a white-furniture emergency kit on hand. Take a small caddy and fill it with a clean white blotting rag, a spray bottle of water, and your favorite stain removing products. Lester swears by Shout Wipes, which she keeps in her installation kit. “These disposable detergent wipes are great for getting fingerprints, scuffs and small spots off lighter upholstery pieces!”