Living with a white sofa…and how to clean the IKEA Ektorp sofa cover…
White sofa with kids? White sofa with pets? Would you? Could you?
*This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure policy HERE.*
We have some thoughts and tips. But first, let’s discuss:
“wild” in your 20’s:
Going out at midnight. In heels. And makeup. Drinking one (or four) too many. Dancing like a lunatic with your friends. On a bar. Maybe drunk-dialing an ex. I don’t know. Choose your own adventure at this point. There are many ways this could end. My mom reads this blog though, so I’m not going to fill in any more blanks here.
“wild” in your 30’s – 40’s:
Buying a white sofa.
And you know what’s REALLY wild? Buying a white sofa when you have kids. And a pet. Or three.
Yep. I’m a wild one.
I know that probably more than half the population believes people like me to be INSANE for owning a white sofa with small children at home. It’s not that I don’t agree with them. I AM nuts. But I could give you much better evidence to back up that claim than my white couch. #TrustMe
This IKEA Ektorp sofa has actually been a great choice for our family. And here’s why:
- It didn’t break the bank. In fact, this sectional cost a fraction of what other similar sectional sofas we priced out (this one was under $1000).
- The entire thing is washable.
- When this cover gets completely nasty and unsalvageable, we can purchase a new cover for about $200.
- If I ever get sick of the white…which could happen…they make covers in lots of other colors/patterns.
Now, before you run out and buy a white sofa of your very own, there are a couple of big caveats I should mention here:
- we do not allow shoes to be worn in our home or on the furniture
- our pets are guinea pigs…so as far as I’ve been able to tell, they have not ever jumped upon, nor shed on the white sofa
- we don’t allow food/drinks to be consumed in this space…food is confined to the kitchen/dining room/outside here
So if you’re not a stickler about these things, or you are a cooler mom or dad who is more fun and laid back than I, perhaps you should NOT consider a white sofa.
But since this Ektorp sofa is such a great value, you may want to check out the other covers they have (i.e. anything but white ?). If you like the look but don’t have an IKEA nearby, Pottery Barn has a beautiful, and very similar sectional (though the price is higher).
But if you’re like us, and you’ve already jumped on this crazy train with the whole white sofa decision, or you’re seriously considering the IKEA Ektorp sofa, then you may wonder about cleaning the cover and how (and if ) it actually works. And in my opinion, it works GREAT.
I typically wash ours about 3-4 times a year. It’s not difficult to do at all, but it is a fairly time-consuming process…mostly because of having to un-stuff and re-stuff the covers on the cushions. And then the drying time (about an hour in the machine and then 5-7 hours on the line).
Here are all the details about the cleaning process I use for our Ektorp sofa covers!
how to clean your white Ikea Ektorp sofa cover:
1). Spot treat all stains.
If you’re worried about the stain spray seeping into your cushions, then you can do this step AFTER removing the cushion covers, but I like to at least do some of the pre-treatment prior to taking off the covers because it’s easier to find the stains when the covers are still on the sofa. I personally use spray-n-wash to pre-treat stains.
2). Remove Ektorp sofa covers.
Time to unzip all your cushion covers and remove them. It’s super simple.
Just unzip and pull them off.
If you have the Ikea Ektorp ottoman, to remove the cover from the top, you’ll need to unscrew the feet on the bottom of the cover first. You can wash the cover for the Ektorp sofa frame as well if you want to. Just pull it off. Nothing to unzip.
3). Wash (in batches).
I use my regular, old school top-loading washing machine for this job. You’ll likely have to wash your covers in batches. They will clean up best if your washing machine isn’t overstuffed.
I wash each batch with two packs of this detergent which has a built-in stain booster/stain fighter.
I add bleach as well. About 1/4 cup/load.
As far as the settings on my washing machine go, here’s the setup I use:
washing machine settings:
Water Level: Large
Water Temperature: Warm/Cold
Rinse Options: 2nd rinse
Speeds: Heavy Duty (fast/fast)
* If the covers are really grungy, then I would definitely pre-wash them as well, but just remember that you should treat EACH load of your covers in the exact same way so that they don’t come out looking different.
If you bleach one batch but not the other, or pre-wash one load overnight but not the other batch…you could end up with mismatched cushions, and that’s definitely NOT the look you are likely going for, right?
This is a two-step process. First, I run mine through the dryer…
on AIR FLUFF.
**DO NOT USE HEAT in the dryer! I repeat: do not put the dryer on any setting with heat!!**
If you use heat, you’ll shrink the covers, and then they are a B-I-%^& to put back on. Trust me. I have a friend who did that once ?.
Just like with the washing phase, you’ll need to dry in batches so your machine is not overstuffed. After running the cushions on air fluff for about an hour, I let them hang on my drying rack until they are completely dry. This is when I wish I had a clothesline outside. Or at least one more drying rack.
5). Done! Put your white sofa back together again.
All that’s left to do is to re-stuff your covers back on your couch cushions again.
We’ve had this Ikea Ektorp sofa for years now, and once it’s washed, it looks brand new again. We’ve had guinea pig pee stains on there, dirt, grease…you name it. I don’t think I’ve had to deal with red wine or bloodstains (yet), so I can’t attest to how those would cleanup. But I’ve been really impressed with how sturdy the white sofa cover is. No rips or tears or any negative effects of washing them that I’ve seen.
I hope this has given you a little peace of mind if you’ve been considering buying a white sofa but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. I still love ours, and we’ve had white sofas in our home for over a decade now. Having a removable, washable cover is the key.
So who wants to walk on the wild side and a seat on a white sofa? It may not be as fun as dancing on a bar. But it looks really pretty while you’re staying in and watching Netflix before falling asleep at 9:30 ?… #WildNightsAndWhiteSofas4Ever
Pin this post for later (i.e. when you’re ready to take the plunge and buy or clean your white sofa)!
Pssst…before you go, I sure would love to hang out with you again really soon!! Sign up now and gain instant access to our DIY resource library full of DIY guides, tips, tricks & cheat sheets. And it’s all FREE. Click the image below to get started…