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How to Clean a White Sofa

The Surprising Reality of Owning a White Sofa

When I first spotted my future white linen sofa on One Kings Lane's website, 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. 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. Never mind 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 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 cloth, 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 microfibre 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 handheld vacuum around for sucking up dust and hair biweekly, a faux-fur sheepskin throw draped on the cushions for dog cuddling or picnic-style eating, and a stack of clean white washcloths handy and live my life. No regrets.

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