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How to Clean a White Couch

The Surprising Reality of Owning a White Sofa

When I first spotted my future white linen sofa on One Kings Lane, I knew it was the kind of piece that could catapult my living area into real adulthood. The beige, nailhead-trimmed, round-armed corduroy version that I was living with at the time was a hand-me-down from my parents. Sure, it was comfortable – and let's be really honest, free – but the home editor in me knew that investing in a sofa of my choosing would make a world of difference. It was time to make a big girl purchase. Nevermind that I take my meals in front of the television, have a tendency to get chocolate everywhere when eating it, or occasionally invite our dog up for a couch cuddle. I was ready to cautiously indulge in my white linen sofa fantasy, come what may.

When I spotted the first stain, I of course freaked, even though I knew it would inevitably happen. It was a salad dressing splash from the previous night's dinner. After cursing myself, I grabbed a clean, white washcloth, wet it with lukewarm water, added a small squirt of gentle cleanser (I used Method's Sweet Water hand cleanser), and gently began to spot clean. Miraculously, the stain completely disappeared after some delicate scrubbing. When another stain showed up a few weeks later – this time, a chocolate smudge – I figured my sofa stood a chance. I repeated the same process, and it worked like magic even though the stain wasn't exactly fresh. Who knew that a white linen sofa could be easier to clean than the microfiber version I shared with my college roommates? Blogger Julie Blanner has had equal success maintaining her slipcovered linen dining chairs from Restoration Hardware after getting these helpful tips from a customer service rep, and this guide for deep cleaning a natural-fabric sofa includes an easy DIY cleaning solution.

Two years later, I can honestly say that I'm really happy that I pulled the white linen sofa trigger. My living room lives in a perpetual state of beachy minimalism that I just couldn't have achieved with the old sofa. I keep a small hand-held vacuum around for sucking up dust and hair bi-weekly, a faux fur sheepskin throw draped on the cushions for dog cuddling or picnic style eating, a stack of clean white washcloths handy and live my life. No regrets.

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