Tips to Keep a White Couch White

posted by Andrea | 12/28/2011

A few months ago, I showed you our new ALL white couch that we purchased on our crazy IKEA shopping trip! I’ve always wanted a white slip-covered couch so when we finished our first round of home renovations, I knew exactly what couch I wanted for our living room.

However, I got a lot of grief from people who thought I was crazy for buying a white couch — I even got emails from people who said I was making a HUGE mistake and would totally regret the white couch…

Well, it’s been 5 months; we’ve eaten on our coach, we’ve napped on our couch, we’ve had spit-up on our coach, we’ve spilled on our couch — basically, we’ve used and abused our couch, but it’s still white!  So I thought I’d give you a little update and a few tips for keeping a white couch clean.

1. Get a washable slipcover.

Obviously, this isn’t always possible, but I’m a huge advocate for washable slip-covered furniture… because it’s just so easy to clean. I actually haven’t had to wash our entire slip-cover yet, but I have washed the ottoman cover and it came out bright white again.

IKEA and Pottery Barn are two stores with a large variety of slip-covered furniture — but IKEA will probably be 1/3 the price! And just an FYI, we were told that IKEA furniture was “cheap” and “poor quality” but Dave and I are both super happy with our IKEA purchases and we’ve  been told several times how comfortable our couch is.

2. Have the fabric treated with stain guard.

When we had our carpet cleaned, we also got our couch slipcover professionally treated with stain guard {which is WAY more “protective” than any stain guard you can buy from the store or do yourself}. I was honestly a bit skeptical if it would actually work, but I have to say I’m pretty impressed.

We’ve had a few small spills that never really turned into spots or stains because we were able to quickly wipe them up thanks to the stain guard.

3. Keep fabric cleaners handy for small spots.

If you have white furniture, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll see a few spots here and there. We’ve already spilled a little pop, juice, and even pizza sauce on our couch; but since we had it protected with stain guard, we could quickly wipe most of it up before it stained. However, if there is a little of the stain left behind, I’ve just used carpet or fabric cleaner to get it out.

4. Use a lint roller regularly.

This might sound crazy, but I use a lint roller on our couch every couple of weeks — which removes all the blanket fuzzies, hair, clothes lint, etc. and helps it instantly look more white!

5. Rotate the cushions. 

Dave and I tend to sit in the same spots on our couch, so those cushions get more wear and tear. To compensate for this, I shift all the seat and back cushions to the left every couple of weeks {usually when I use the lint roller}.

Yes, this might sounds somewhat anal, but it really has made a difference in how our couch looks and feels! I also think it will help our couch last a lot longer since we aren’t always sitting on the same cushions all the time.

As you may have guessed, we definitely do NOT have a formal house and our living room is used all the time. So, even though I fully expect to buy another $99 white slipcover at some point, I am really happy with how clean it still looks after several months of use.

Do you have any tips for keeping your furniture clean?

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18 comments

  1. Barker Brown

    12/28/2011

    We have had this same L-shaped, slipcovered white couch from Ikea for years and LOVE it. It’s so versatile for decorating and actually very easy to clean. I’ve even managed to get crayon stains out of it. As long as you wash it gently in cold water and dry it on low, the covers clean up beautifully. Only thing I haven’t tried to wash is the slipcover that goes over the frame, but it hasn’t really ever needed it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Glad to hear your couch and slipcover have held up over the years — I have an extra slip cover just in case… but am hoping I don’t have to use it for a long time!

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  2. Angie

    12/28/2011

    I have a similar white slipcovered couch and three active kids. My hubby and I have coffee on Saturday mornings on this couch. The children and I homeschool daily on this couch. I surf the internet on this couch (as in now when I came across your wondeful site). In short, we live on it continually. It has had coffee, red wine and the everyday grime kids trek in ground into it and still looks as good as it did when purchased 14 years ago! Friends said I was nuts to buy this color, but its as good as new any time you want to take the time to wash it. One tip, Spray and Wash stain stick. The spray is good for large areas like the skirt area or seat, but pretreat heavier stains with the stick. It is more concentrated. Then wash it with bleach and don’t dry it all the way. A little dampness helps you ease it back on. Voila! It always feels brand new.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for the tip about putting the slipcover on when it’s still a little damp — that probably is a good idea! plus, that might help smooth out any wrinkles too… because there is NO way I’m taking the time to iron it after I wash it!

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  3. sarah

    12/29/2011

    I love white couches and wish I had one. We have light coloured carpets and they have taken a beating with 2 kids their friends and general entertaining. But the upside is when they start to look grimey I clean them. Because they are cleaned more frequently they are healthier for our family and i think it can be said the same for white sofas. It does get a little challenging with little ones but you manage somehow

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Sarah, we have one room with light carpet and I feel like I want to clean it all the time. So you’re probably right — that room might actually be the cleanest room! I’m also in the habit of cleaning our white couch more frequently than some of our other furniture so it’s probably cleaner too!!

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  4. Cortney

    12/29/2011

    So glad your still loving your white couches, I am telling you they are the best pick me up when you wash them all and they look brand new. The whole house seems cleaner. I still need to try the scotchguard. That would probably cut down on some of the washing with my crazy boys ;). The extra slipcovers are really affordable too and nice to have.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we’re absolutely LOVING our white couch. My sister actually just slept over last night and she just loves how comfy it is!

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  5. jackie

    01/04/2012

    Hi Andrea,

    We have also had our Ikea L shaped sofa for over 2 years now and still love it. We did not opt for the white with 3 indoor/outdoor dogs and red clay in our area but went with beige. We have cleaned the cover for the frame once a year at the local dry cleaner because we could not fit it in the washer. It was only $25 to clean the frame cover, well worth the money.

    We do have the white (still in the box) because it came with the sofa as promotion. I would love to dye it but because of the size I am hesitant.

    Hope your family continues to enjoy yours as well. Blessings, Jackie

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jackie — we’re definitely getting LOTS of use out of our couch!!
    You could actually try to sell your white slipcover on Craigslist too — it sells for $99 or $129 in the stores and you could probably get at least $50 for it since it’s brand new. Just an idea!

    [Reply]

    Jackie Reply:

    Thanks, at this point it is my emergency backup..hoping I will not have to use it, LOL. Thanks for all the money saving tips, I am enjoying following your blog!

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  6. Dena

    02/09/2012

    Does anybody have a white couch with a big dog and a little dog who thinks she is big? We actually want them on the couch for cuddling, so is it possible to have both the white slipcover and the pets?

    [Reply]

  7. Wendy Jahns

    03/22/2012

    Hi Andrea,

    What model is your couch?

    You totally convinced me. Now, I’m dreaming to have one when I move to my new house next month :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wendy, it’s the Ektorp line from IKEA — we LOVE it!

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    Thank you! I’m so glad you replied back :) I love your website!

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  8. Vanessa

    04/24/2012

    I bought the Ikea Poang chairs and the white slipcovered couchs a few years ago. We had five kids and back then the majority of them were under 5. The couchs held up wonderfully, I was able to launder them every month and they kept coming back looking like new. It brightned up my northfacing, low light living room. Two years ago, I bought dry cleanable brown, nubby fabric covers but at double the price I am reluctant to buy more. I don’t pay for the expense of dry cleaning them and the definitely will shrink if washed. With the brown slipcovers I can afford new ones every two years but they start looking ratty after 6 months. With the white slipcovers at 50% less the price and equal to the price of a professional cleaning I can purchase new white slipcovers every year, reuse the 100% cotton fabric, or keep the old ones for emergency replacements and keep laundering monthly with excellent results to show but it is work!

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  9. A Dissenting Opinion on the Ikea Ektorp Sofa

    03/11/2013

    [...] a dog!) let me explain: I’d done my due diligence. I’d read many blog posts (like here, here, and here) from busy moms who love their white Ektorp sofas, and who swore they’re not hard [...]

  10. aiza

    11/20/2014

    My Mother in law gave me a sofa and love seat with white cover they say they both it at ikea i want to buy another cover but i dont know what kind of cover that will fit in this sofas i try to look at ikea get me so cunfused where i can find what kind of safa i have i looked over the sofa cant find anything

    [Reply]