Whenever I share a photo of my living room I get a lot of “HOW do you have white furniture with kids?!” or “my dog and kids would destroy that!” or “brave woman….brave.” The truth is that white or cream or beige furniture gets dirty and it doesn’t always look as nice as it does in the photo above. I suppose it’s sort of a good thing that I can see the dirt so I know when my sofa, chairs and stools need a good cleaning.
And…no. I don’t banish my children from the sofa when they’re watching tv. Everyone piles on and I don’t make sure to have a perfectly tucked in sheet on top in case of accidents. It’s real life around here and real life is messy, full of snacks and greasy peanut butter fingers. Which is exactly why I try not to freak out and just accept the fact that if I want light furniture, then it’s going to have to be regularly cleaned like the rest of my house.
See…ew. But not to worry. Everything is washable.
I give my cream colored sofa a thorough cleaning about every 4-6 months. I wash the cushion slipcovers about once a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on how messy my kids and dogs have been. I try not to get too hung up on messes and I’m usually pretty good about it but I won’t lie…the summertime is a bit of a gong show with sweaty bare feet and sandy paws running around ;)
My pillows get pretty icky from everyday use so I wash these every 1-2 weeks. And I only buy pillows with removable inserts so they can be washed in the machine. I tend to stick with twill linen and cotton.
The trick to keeping my pillow and seat cushion slipcovers looking new is that I throw them in the wash with Tide. It’s the only detergent I’ve found that gets all the stains out (chocolate, juice, blood, etc.,) and the occasional wash with Oxiclean. I’m trying a new detergent from Costco today and i’ll update whether or not it removed a very gross (dog related) stain or not!!
To clean my sofa that’s upholstered in a soft khaki fabric I use my Bissell Little Green Machine. It’s a small portable carpet cleaner and it’s seriously the best $80 I’ve ever spent. I’ve had it for years now and it’s still chugging away.
I’ve used homemade cleaning solutions with detergent/vinegar/oxi/etc., and I’ve used the premade cleaning solution that you can buy in-store. For my dining chairs that are mostly white and get very dingy I use a solution of blue Dawn detergent and a little bit of bleach and they end up looking brand new. For my sofa, I do not use bleach.
I have the best results on my sofa when I use Bissell OXYgen Boost Formula (just hydrogen peroxide but I’m unsure of the strength) mixed with the Bissell 2X Spot & Stain Formula. You just mix a small amount with hot water. I like that it doesn’t have a strong scent and it really does clean well. I buy mine at Canadian Tire but it’s also on amazon for a little less money.
Now, for the gag-worthy results:
The left side is a mix of hot water and cleaning solution. The right side is what was sucked back out of my sofa. It’s a guarantee that if I haven’t cleaned my sofa in 6 months, this is what I’ll see. Our house is old and we live in the country so the fabrics in my home hold a lot of dust that you don’t necessarily notice on the fabric.
And the glorious before & after:
Not bad for just 30 minutes of my time. If I clean it in the morning it’s usually dry by mid-afternoon.
Now. If you’re wondering about different fabric types, I’ve green machined my micro-suede sofa several times and it came out beautifully each time. I’ve also green machined my fabric covered stools and they’re some sort of linen polyester blend I believe.
So that’s it. My furniture does get dirty but…I clean it. Same with my white cabinets, my white walls, and my white bedding. It gets dirty, I clean it, rinse & repeat. Heh.
If you’re wondering about how this one above fares in a mostly white house, stay tuned for a whole other post coming up. She’s in a league of her own with all that black cat hair.