How I Keep Our White Couches...WHITE!

July 06, 2022

How I keep my white sofa cushions white and bright with little effort! 

I'm sharing how I've kept our creamy white sofas clean...and one of the ways may surprise you!

It's been over a year since our two Macy's Radley sofas arrived, and I still love them! We purchased one of these sofas years ago in our first house, and loved it so much we eventually did the same for our family room here. 

**That sofa is still going strong at that house! 

I spent a ton of time researching sofas after our Arhaus sectional did not hold up like I had hoped. I was determined to find a more affordable option that was easy to clean. 

Not only are these sofas and sectionals from Macy's incredibly comfy, but they are easier to keep clean than any other sofa I've had:
open staircase photo wall
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Now, keeping it looking pristine was a little easier with our first Radley sofa that was a light gray, (probably because we didn't notice as much) but even I'm a little surprised at how well these lighter ones have held up!:
symmetrical sofas with fireplace
Our sofas shortly after delivery.

Washing cushion covers in the washing machine

One of the reasons I love this sofa is because the cushions are not attached -- so you can move them around and flip them if needed. The Radley sofas from Macy's have zippers on all of the cushions, both the seat and back:
zippered couch cushions

And, YES, I have washed them in the washer with much success!

I thought this was crazy...until I tried it. ;)

Keep in mind some sofa fabrics are made of materials that should not be cleaned with water. We had a couch like that years ago and every time liquid would touch the fabric, it would change the color and sheen of it. 

I vowed then, never again! 

The upholstery on the Radley sofas can be cleaned with water-based cleaners, so about once a year, I wash them in the washing machine:
washing couch cushion covers

Always wash in the delicate cycle, with the zippers closed! 

A few tips to consider if you machine wash your couch cushions: 

  • If you leave the cushion covers open, the strings from the seams inside will create a tangled mess. Always make sure to close them up before washing. 
  • Make sure to only dry them on low, and not for long. Couch cushion covers are much easier to put back on when they are slightly damp and have some give. And you don't want to risk shrinking them!
  • I don't wash these in the machine often -- just when they need a good overall cleaning. We're hosting a party for our daughter this weekend, so they all got washed and refreshed! This will only be the second time in the 16 months we've had them. 
  • I always take advantage of this deep clean to switch the cushions around -- I flip and rotate them every six months or so, so the wear is distributed. We all tend to have our favorite spots on the couches! :) 
  • After washing (and when completely dry), I give the sofa cushions a light application of this Scotchgard protective spray that repels liquids
  • It's a great time to vacuum all the junk that gets trapped under the cushions as well: 
cleaning under couch cushions

I've machine washed the covers on many upholstered chairs and sofas over the years, and they've all come out perfectly! 😲 The hard part is getting them back on over the seat inserts. 

My trick to get the covers over the inserts with ease is to use trash bags -- put the bag over the insert and then slide on the fabric cover. 

Place the trash bag on the back (zipper) side of the insert first, then pull up:
trash bag over cushion inserts

That way you can pull the trash bag out as you go. When the insert is at least half way in, you can remove the trash bag and reuse it for the next one: 
trash bag hack cushions

The slippery bag allows you to adjust and line up the seams of the covers too -- without it it's nearly impossible to get the cover back on the insert just right. 

I only have to do this on the seat cushions, since the back ones are just loose fill and much easier to reinsert. This trick will save you time and makes it so much easier to put the couch covers back on!

Spot cleaning with water or fabric cleaners

Of course a soft cloth and mild fabric cleaner is the easiest way to clean upholstery. This soft polyester fabric holds up well to cleaning -- there are no worn spots or pilling at all. 

I use a soft rag or microfiber cloth and nearly all of our marks come out with just water: 
easily clean Radley white sofa
Be sure to check your fabric specifications before attempting to clean with water or solutions! 
A handheld upholstery cleaner or the attachment on a carpet cleaner work to clean upholstery as well. Both are a great option if you don't want to attempt washing your covers. It's more physical work, but gets the job done!

I find those are helpful to touch up the fabric on the actual sofa, like the sides and back (that obviously can't be removed).

For more stubborn stains I use a basic fabric cleaner like Resolve. And I found the most amazing wine stain remover for the really difficult stuff:
best wine stain remover

We've had quite a few RED wine stains on these light sofas, and this gets it all out! 

I may write an entire blog post about this incredible fabric is THAT GOOD. It makes red wine stains disappear before your eyes, and I've found it also works on other "berry" based stains and chocolate.

Honestly...I think it would get almost anything out!

We've used it on upholstery both inside and out, and on light carpet. It erases wine stains from all of them. Here's a look at a BIG stain that completely disappeared with this Chateau Red Wine Remover: 
wine stain removal white couch

Can you believe it?! There's absolutely no sign of it:
white sofa art ledges

There you go...nothing earth shattering, and it does help that our upholstery fabric is so forgiving and easy to clean. If you choose to go with a light fabric on furniture, make SURE it can be cleaned with water-based solutions. It really makes all the difference!

We have two cats, a dog and a teenage boy at there are plenty of messes. Thankfully it's been easy to keep our light sofas looking great with these tips.

Would I attempt it with young kids? Probably not...just because I wouldn't want to worry about it. But it's worked for our family now! Thankfully these sofas come in a ton of colors. :)

Read more about our light gray basement sectional here (I love this one too!): 
LaZBoy sectional review

keep couch cushions from slipping

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  1. I have the same Radley couch and really appreciate your post on how to clean the cushions. We have a senior cat with a hair ball problem who occasionally coughs one up on the our sofa. It's not white but a light tan color so it's a challenge to get it cleaned up. I have been tempted to take the covers off to wash them but was a little afraid that I might not be able to get them back on. Your step by step process will be a lifesaver for me!! Thank you, thank you!! By the way I love reading your makes my day, especially during Covid, always a bright spot in the day. You are truly amazing at building and decorating your home. What a talent!

  2. The Materials and Care section for these sofas on the Macy's site says, "Spot clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner." Is that a change from your sofas' care instructions, or are you "going rogue" by throwing them in the washing machine? (No worries, I promise I won't tell Macy's.)

  3. I have the same sofas and have been washing the covers twice a year for years. I wash them inside out, zipped, gentle cycle, gentle detergent, and line dry. We trim the big thread clusters. I love that the fabric is so forgiving. All the spills and whatnot wipe up very easily. For the backs and sides, when I'm feeling industrious, I just wipe them with a damp towel. We've had them with 4 dogs, a cat, and a family of 5 with 3 teens, now young adults. Best of all, the couches are so, so comfortable :).

  4. I have a sofa and love seat in white, and I have had them since the early 90s. I wash the seat cushion cover and all the loose back pillows. The back pillows look like super-sized throw pillows. The sofas are old but they look terrific. Thanks for the trash bag tip! I usually use both legs and both hands to squeeze the covers back on the seat cushions. I know my sofas are old but man, they still look brand new.

  5. My daughter and I both bought these sofas based on your recommendation and we love them! I also became an avid user and supporter of Furry Freshness based on your recommendation. It has also gotten some stains out of my carpet that my carpet shampooer didn't. I am a believer in your recommendations, knowledge and experience. Now I know how to clean my couches too! Thank you!!

  6. How do you keep your cats from shredding / scratching your furniture?

  7. I have had this exact style (86" Radley from Macy's) for 5 years in a medium charcoal gray (which I noticed is not available any longer), and it still looks new.We are building a new home, and I finally have a large gathering room where I can have my dream of two white sofas, and guess what? I'm going for two Radley sofas in Oyster White! I was concerned about getting white the first time because I had a new 1-year-old granddaughter, but this sofa has been easy to clean. We shopped everywhere before choosing this sofa. We wanted a sofa that fit comfortably for both my husband (6' 3") and me (5' 4"). Firmer, reversible cushions, and my husband can even stretch his full height out on it.) I'm so pumped that I found your site, because now I know I can wash them if needed! Thank you for a great post.


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!