How to Clean a White Desk (Guide)

White desks can be attractive and bring a bright productive feel into your office, but they can also get dirty very easily. Then, you no longer have a white desk. However, if you know how to clean a white desk, then you can do it often to ensure a new-looking, white work area for years to come. 

This article covers: 

  • Step by step directions for cleaning a white desk and how often it should be done
  • How to remove stains from a white desk, including sharpie stains
  • The best ways to protect the desk and keep it clean
How to Clean a White Desk

How to Clean a White Desk

Cleaning a white desk doesn’t have to be hard, but there are certainly some methods that work better. This guide will help you clean it perfectly and without damage every time, no matter what the desk is made of.

  1. Dust and Dirt

The first step, and unfortunately for many people the only step, is to remove any excess dust, dirt, and other dry debris from the desk. Dust shows up easily on white, which can make it look dirty rapidly, but it is also quite easy to remove. 

Use a lint-free cloth to remove all the dust and make sure that you do not solely focus on the desktop surface. Remove the dust from the back, legs, and underside of the tabletop to ensure that remaining dust particles do not travel to other portions soon after cleaning. 

  1. Choose Your Cleaning Solution

The first thing to keep in mind before cleaning any desk and material is that all manufacturers and products are different and some may have specific recommendations. Also, make sure before you use any cleaning solution on the desk, try it on an out-of-the-way part of the desk to make sure it does not harm the material or white color. That being said, there are some general guidelines for the type of material and the cleaning option you can choose. 

For solid wood desks, it is best to use vinegar and water. This is very unlikely to be harmful while also being effective for removing grime and creating a brighter look on your white desk. Mix 2 cups of water with ½ cup of vinegar and see how it works, but you can increase it to 2:1 with a full cup of vinegar if the mild solution does not do the trick. 

For manufactured wood and plastic desks, soap and water work wonders. This is also safe for most other wood options. Just use a moderate squirt of mild dish soap in a small bucket of water. This is gentle but will work away any stickiness that has built up on the white desktop surface. 

Finally, if you have a desk that is glass or metal, or has a glass covering, then you can use window cleaner. This is easy to use and will not stain the office desk. However, you may still have to clean the white part underneath a glass top on occasion using one of the other methods. 

Read More >> Top 5 Best Mirrored Desks (2022 Review)

  1. Scrub and Dry 

When you are cleaning the desk, it is best to use a microfiber or lint-free cloth. You do not want too much of the cleaning solution. It should not be dripping, but be damp to the touch. It is best to be as gentle as possible while still cleaning any type of white desk, but as long as you are careful, you should be able to scrub harder. 

However, if you are having trouble getting something off without heavy scrubbing, then it is better to use methods for removing stains (found later in this article) than regular cleaning strategies.

After you are done scrubbing,  you want to make sure that all soap, vinegar, or other residue is removed with a water-dampened cloth. Do not use the same cloth with the solution to avoid streaks and other frustrations on your white desk. Circular motions work wonders for the final touches. 

Use a soft towel to thoroughly dry the white desk and do not wait to do so. Leaving moisture on the desk for too long can damage it, especially if the finish is delicate or it is made out of solid, absorbent wood. 

How Often Should You Clean a White Desk?

Keeping a white desk clean can be difficult, but doing so can help you avoid heavy cleaning in the future and keep the desk in good condition for longer. Try to clean off dust and other dry debris once a week to avoid buildup over a single layer. This will help keep the desk white and avoid other complications caused by excessive debris. 

Then, every 4 to 6 weeks, it is a good idea to do a more thorough cleaning following the steps above. This is the easiest step to keep it looking bright and white for longer and can also help prevent scratches, stains, and other avoidable grime. 

Cleaning a White Desk

How to Get Stains Off a White Desk

While the cleaning methods above can work wonders for most grime and dirt, stains are a different beast altogether. Stains can be caused by any number of things like pen marks, coffee, food, and even dry cleaning products. Most of the time they are pretty easy to remove, but only if you know how to do so. 

Usually, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can do enough to lift the stain off of a white desk. This solution will foam up and pull the stain right off as long as it hasn’t been there too long. Even if it does not completely remove the stain, it should fade it significantly. This can be a little rough for solid wood, so you should try in an area that is out of sight first to make sure it doesn’t damage the finish or other materials. 

If that doesn’t work, then you can try bleach and a toothbrush. This can be damaging to a lot of furniture, so be careful, but since the desk is white, it can be highly effective. Make sure that you rub the bleach into the stain gently and only over the stained portion of the desk. 

How to Get Sharpie Off a White Desk

In the case of sharpie or other extremely difficult stains, you will have to take it a step further. The first thing you can try for these types of stains is rubbing alcohol. If you get o the stain fast enough, it may easily wipe away the sharpie or other staining product. However, rubbing alcohol may destroy the finish, so be careful and try to only use the amount needed to get the job done. 

In the case of set stains from sharpies and other impossible-to-remove staining, you have one final option besides buying a new desk. You can paint over the stain and that does not necessarily mean you have to repaint the entire desk either. As long as you get an identical matching paint color, you can merely cover up the stained portion and then, if it is raised higher than the desk surface, you can lightly sand it down so that it is unnoticeable. 

How to Keep White Desk Clean

To keep a white desk clean and to protect it and ensure that it stays white, there are some things that you can do. The first is simply to clean off dust once a week and clean completely once every one to two months, Other than that, there are also some other suggestions that you can follow to keep it tidy for longer. 

Read More >> Top 5 Best Small White Desks (2022 Review)

The most important thing to avoid stains and sticky messes is to clean up spills and problematic issues immediately. This means food, coffee, soda, or anything else that gets on your desk. Sure, it can be tempting to wait and stay on task, but it will be bad for the desk and especially bad for the white color. 

Staying organized can also prevent spills. Make sure that you can reach all of your materials and that you do not have too much clutter to freely move around. This can help you prevent the most troublesome spills and issues. The other option is avoiding drinking or eating anything around the desk at all, and who wants to do that? 

Keeping a white desk out of direct sunlight, especially prolonged sunlight, is another step you can take to avoid color changes and fading. White tends to turn yellow over time if the sun hits it too often or for too long. If you need to, you can try to shade the light or rearrange the room to avoid too much exposure to the sun. 

Final Thoughts on Cleaning a White Desk 

A lot of people recommend not getting a white desk at all, but as long as you know how to take care of it and clean it when you need to, it can be a great addition to a room or work area. Following these suggestions can be great for keeping your desk white and in good condition so that it can remain as stylish and bright as the day you got it. 

Recent Guides

Looking to learn more about standing desks? Check out some of our other informative and in-depth reviews and guides!

5 Fascinating facts about treadmill desks

Why not move instead of standing? Here are some fascinating facts about treadmill desks.  Standing desks

Read More »
Why is My Standing Desk Uncomfortable to Use

A standing desk is supposed to make you feel good, healthier, and happier, so of

Read More »
Here’s What Your Office Chair Says About You

In many cases, the style and function of your office chair can say a lot

Read More »
7 Surprising Facts About Standing Desks

Standing desks have become more commonplace and integrated themselves into offices, homes, workshops, and more. This

Read More »
Standing Desk Alternatives: What to Do if You Don’t Have a Standing Desk

A standing desk can be a great way to stay focused, alert, and productive while

Read More »
What Is ANSI/BIFMA and Why Does it Matter for Standing Desks and Treadmill Desks

More and more people are getting behind the trend of standing desks.  Given what we

Read More »
Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!
Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

About Athlete Desk

Learn about standing desks, bicycle desks, treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs & accessories.

Recently Published Guides

Recommended Guides