How To Keep Your White Coffee Table & Other Furniture Pristine

 Choosing new furniture is fun! However, it's often risky to pick white upholstery and wooden pieces. They're hard to keep looking their best.

Still, maybe you've decided to go with white furniture anyway. After all, white furniture is the perfect way to open up your living room and give it a brighter aesthetic.

Good news. White furniture is both aesthetically attractive and beautiful. Bad news: it’s tough to keep your furniture white for long.

Still, there are ways to maintain your white furniture over the long-term. You can prevent stains and scratches from marring your favorite pieces. You just have to use smart strategies.

Let’s break down how you can care for white furniture. We'll discuss tips for both white upholstery and wooden accessories.

The Appeal – And Trouble! – of White Furniture

Halifax White Sideboard with Drawers and Rattan Baskets

There’s no denying that white furniture has a kind of stark, beautiful appeal, particularly when combined with other excellent décor and accessories (like paintings, lamps, etc.).

It can make certain pieces of your collection stand out when someone comes to visit. Or it helps maintain an airy, open atmosphere, even in cramped rooms without a lot of natural light.

However, the purity and vibrancy of furniture like a white coffee table can also make it problematic. This is especially true when it comes to maintenance and regular cleaning.

White furniture seems to get dirty much more often compared to other colors of furniture. Any imperfections are much more noticeable.

But just because it's hard to maintain white furniture doesn’t mean you should give up. In fact, you can keep white furniture white with the right preventative measures. It's also a good idea to have a certain amount of cleaning supplies on hand at all times.

Sure, it takes a little work to make sure your white furniture looks radiant and perfect. But put the effort in and your home’s furniture will be as spotless and appealing as the pieces in the best catalogs.

Keeping White Furniture White: A Crash Course

Halifax Small White Dining Table 160cm

Want to know how to keep your white furniture looking flawless and clean? Follow the below tips and you’ll tackle any potential issues right as they crop up.

Material Matters

You can’t follow the exact same cleaning or maintenance tips for wood or upholstery/fabrics. Wood furniture is typically white due to its paint, which is a layer of material atop the wood itself.

This necessitates different preservation methods compared to upholstery.

You can clean upholstery with stain removers or other washing techniques. Furthermore, you often have to be particularly careful with white upholstery. It's easier to get stains on these pieces compared to white wood.

With this in mind, let's break down some great white furniture preservation tips. We'll break them down based on the material type.

Preserving White Upholstered Furniture

Provence Accent White Painted Console Table

White upholstered furniture includes:

  • white couches
  • white loveseats
  • white futons
  • white pillows
  • etc.

For white upholstery, the big thing to keep in mind is immediate action. Time is always of the essence if you want to prevent stains or long-term spots.

Dirt, juice, or any other spill or smear can become a permanent fixture in white fabric in minutes. So preserving white upholstered furniture focuses on prevention and instant cleaning.

Prevent Stain-Making Behaviors

Most white upholstered furniture ends up getting stains, smears, or ugly marks. But that's mostly because of habits. Lots of us put our shoes on footrests, for example. Or maybe we let our dogs sit on our white couches with us (even though their fur is typically full of dirt, hair oil, and more).

These are the reasons why white upholstered furniture becomes marred over time. Do yourself a favor. Keep your white upholstered furniture clean-looking the easy way. Avoid problematic behaviors in the first place.

For instance, don’t bring a glass of wine when you sit on your white furniture and roll the dice. Or train your dog to sit at your feet instead of jump up on the couch with you.

Stain Guard – Use It

Stain guards are products that you can treat your upholstered furniture with. Stain guards seal individual fabric fibers away from foreign materials. This makes a kind of treatment shield. Over time, it makes it less likely for stains or smears to stick.

Of course, stain guards are not perfect and you shouldn’t necessarily forget the above tip. But it’s a good idea to treat your precious white furniture with stain guard products just in case.

You can also hire carpet cleaners and similar services. These can stain treat your upholstered furniture for a fee. These services offer professional results for a slightly higher price. We'd always recommend going with these services if you can afford it.

Have an Emergency Spot Cleaning Kit On Hand

You won’t ever be able to totally avoid minor spills or small accidents from time to time, of course. No need to worry.

Keep a great spot cleaning kit close at hand. This way, if an accident occurs, you should be able to take care of any spills or stains. You'll also catch them before they become a long-term problem.

With white fabric, it’s imperative that you treat stains, spills, and dirt scrubs ASAP. The longer you take to clean the stain’s source, the more likely it will be that the fabric stains permanently.

In your white furniture spot cleaning kit, you’ll need:

  • A spray bottle of regular water
  • A white blotting rag
  • A stain removing product.

Try to find something that’s extra strong and that is rated for white upholstery. Remember, you don’t need to worry about bleaching your white furniture since it’s already as white as can be.

    Keep this treatment kit somewhere you can reach quickly. It’s a good idea to store it under your kitchen sink or in your cleaning cabinet.

    If and when a spill or stain occurs, immediately go for the kit and start to spot treat the stain. Don’t let anyone rub it around or spread the stain across your furniture. Also, be sure to let the spot dry in the sun if possible. This will prevent mildew from appearing. Plus, it'll improve the likelihood of the furniture’s appearance returning to normal.

    Consider Using a Slipcover

    Many of us prefer to sit on our white furniture directly. But slipcovers can provide excellent protection. If you look hard enough, you may be able to find a slipcover for your sofa or armchair that fits snugly. Your guests may not even notice the difference.

    Slipcovers are basically second fabric skin that goes over your white upholstered furniture. Every once in a while, you can wash these slipcovers and restore them after being cleaned. The result? Crisp, pure-white furniture everywhere you look.

    This does mean that you may not get the same experience as if you sat on your white fabric furniture yourself. The texture will certainly feel a bit different. But many folks believe the price to be well worth the cost. Their white furniture lasts for a lot longer when using slipcovers.

    Just be sure to splurge for a worthwhile slipcover and not a cheap fabric sheet. The latter won’t do a good job of protecting your white furniture underneath. Additionally, it may even tear with only a little friction.

    Pro Tip – Use a Lint Roller Regularly 

    Even with all those tips, you won't be able to stop minor dirt particles, debris, and pet hair. All of these can and will appear on your white upholstered furniture over time. The best idea? Use a lint roller.

    Lint rollers allow you to collect fabric residue, fluff, and hair from your white fabric. You won't have to thoroughly clean the fabric itself. This can boost the crisp appearance of your white upholstered furniture. Plus, it'll ensure that your fabrics appear as bright and clear as possible.

    Protecting White Wooden/Faux-Wooden Furniture

    Halifax Library Hutch Unit (on the left), Halifax Storage Cabinet (center) and Halifax 2 Level Pantry Display Cabinet (right)

    Want to protect your white coffee table or white corner desks or other wood furniture? Time is of the essence. You'll need to focus on regular preventative maintenance and repair, too.

    White wooden furniture includes:

    • dressers
    • coffee tables
    • cabinets
    • etc.

    Use a Wood Furniture Polish 

    White furniture polish is a lifesaver when it comes to getting rid of minor scratches. It's also great for buffing your white furniture to a matte glow. This makes the white colors pop and can help your white wooden furniture look like new.

    To polish correctly, be sure that you only apply a little bit of your wooden polishing product. Put it on a clean rag, too.

    Rub in the polish using small, concentric circles to buff scratches away progressively. Don’t dump a bunch of polish over your furniture in an attempt to take care of any deep scratches. These can only be repaired by a professional service.

    Additionally, try not to over polish your white wooden furniture at the same time. Only do this a few times a year and you’ll avoid damaging your décor or stripping away its paint.

    Microfiber Cloths Are Your Friends

    White wooden furniture often ends up looking poorer over time. This is often due to finger smudges and dust accruing. If you want your furniture to look its best, be sure to regularly clean away any finger or hand smudges. Try to get dirt, hair, and other small particles, too.

    You can use microfiber cloths to great effect.

    In a nutshell, soft microfiber cloths don’t damage your furniture or strip away the paint over time. They’re excellent dusting tools and can even be used to get rid of finger smudges. They just need a little extra pressure on your part.

    Regularly wiping down your white wooden furniture will keep it clean and spotless. Remember, any minor imperfections with your furniture are easier to see if the paint is white. So you may need to do this every week for the best results.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Repaint

    Most wooden furniture with white coloring has its hue from paint. It's not white due to any natural properties of the wood itself. But this is a good thing when it comes to restoration and maintenance. It means you can repaint your furniture as necessary.

    This may be easier said than done depending on the exact shade of white your furniture has. It may help to take a picture of your white furniture in bright light. Then take that picture to a home improvement store like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

    There, you can compare the picture to the selections of white paint they have on offer. You can then choose the one that appears to be the best match.

    You can then paint over any imperfections or discoloring. It also works if you’ve purchased a new piece of white furniture but found a scratch.

    If the paint you chose is slightly off, you may need to repaint the entire piece with the new shade of white.

    Tackling Mildew? Use Vinegar

    White wooden furniture that’s exposed to too much moisture may get mildew. This can not only ruin the look of your furniture, but might also lead to a nasty smell and even mold.

    But don’t try to scrape away the mildew with a scraper or another hard tool. This can damage the paint of your furniture. Instead, use this DIY home recipe to tackle any vinegar issues. Combine:

    • 1 cup of white wine vinegar
    • 2 cups of warm water
    • Pour the above ingredients into an empty spray bottle and mix well

    Once you've made your vinegar mixture, spray the mixture onto any mildew you notice. Let the mixture sit for between three and five minutes – it'll lift the mildew off the wood. Then you can scrape it away with a washcloth or sponge. Easy!

    Pro Tip: Avoid Sunlight

    Halifax White Emperor Bed 200x200cm

    To make your white furniture last longer, try to avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for too long. In fact, sunlight on your white furniture can cause it to become yellow as time passes. That’s the exact opposite of what you want.

    A better idea is to place any white wooden pieces in areas with window shades. Other areas protected from direct sunlight are good picks, too. Keep this in mind when planning your initial room layout. Then you won’t have to make big, sweeping changes later down the road.


    Keeping white furniture as white as possible for as long as you can requires a lot. It's an exercise in patience, preparation, and diligence. But if you keep your furniture looking radiant and crisp, you'll take pride in each room in your home.

    White furniture truly changes the look and feel of a space far beyond what other colors can manage. It provides a level of elegance and aesthetic appeal that can’t be matched any other way. Suffice it to say that all the effort you put into keeping your white furniture white will be well worth it in the end.