Do you own an Ikea Ektorp sofa? What about an Ektorp sofa with a WHITE sofa cover? Ikea sofa covers generally wear and wash well, but about a white one? Here’s everything you need to know about washing white Ikea couch covers (it’s easier than you think!) so they continue to look amazing…even with kids. 😉
Do you live with a white sofa in your home? How about a white sofa with kids? White sofa with pets? Would you? Could you?
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We have some thoughts and tips. But first, let’s take a short side trip.
What “Wild” Looks Like 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.
What “Wild” Looks Like 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. #fact
I get it and know that probably more than half the population believes that people like me are 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.
The Case For Buying an Ikea Ektorp White Sofa
Surprisingly, this IKEA Ektorp sofa has actually been a great choice for our family. Here are four solid reasons why:
Four Reasons our family recommends The IKEA Ektorp white sectional sofa:
- 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, let’s be real, it could happen…they make covers in lots of other colors/patterns.
If you’re already an IKEA die-hard (or even if you haven’t yet caught the bug), then grab this list of 25 IKEA must-have items for a stylish home on a budget! These are my favorite IKEA products as many of them can be used in amazing, outside-the-box ways, too.
The top 25 IKEA products list is free, just click here, or on the picture below to begin⤵️:
The Secret is in the Rules: How We Keep Our White Sofa…White
Now, before you run out and buy a white sofa (or white Ikea sofa covers) of your very own, there are a couple of BIG caveats I should mention:
- We do not allow shoes to be worn inside our home or on the furniture.
- Our pets are guinea pigs…so as far as I’ve been able to tell, they have never 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, or outside.
So if you’re not a stickler about these things, or you are a cooler parent than I am who is more fun and laid back, perhaps you should NOT consider buying a white sofa.
But, if you’re in the market for a sofa and just don’t want a white one, since this Ektorp sofa is such a great value, you may want to check out the other covers Ikea has (since the Ektorp sofa is such a great value and all).
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 much higher).
Do Ikea Ektorp White Sofa Covers Clean Well?
However, if 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.
Does it actually work? In my honest 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. That’s mostly because of having to un-stuff and re-stuff the covers on the cushions. Plus 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 Couch Cover:
Here is the exact step-by-step process I use to clean my pretty white Ikea sofa slipcovers.
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. I prefer to do at least 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 Ikea sofa Covers
Time to unzip all your cushion covers and remove them. It’s super simple.
Just unzip and pull them off.
For the Ikea Ektorp ottoman (if you have it), you’ll need to unscrew the feet on the bottom of the cover first in order to remove the cover from the top. You can wash the cover for the Ektorp sofa frame as well if you want to. Just pull it off – there’s nothing to unzip.
3). Wash Your Ikea Couch Covers (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 since 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 1/5 cup of bleach per load.
As far as the settings on my washing machine go, here’s the setup I use:
Washing Machine Settings for Cleaning the White Sofa Covers
- Water Level: Large
- Water Temperature: Warm/Cold
- Rinse Options: 2nd rinse
- Speeds: Heavy Duty (fast/fast)
Important: If the covers are REALLY grungy, then I would definitely pre-wash them as well. Remember that you should treat EACH load of your covers in the exact same way so that they don’t come out looking different.
For example, 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. That’s definitely NOT the look you are likely going for, right?
4). Dry Your Ektorp Sofa Covers
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 will shrink the covers, and then they are a B-I-%^& to put back on. Trust me. I have a “friend” who did that once…hah.
Similar to the washing phase, you’ll need to dry in batches so your machine isn’t 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 Ikea Sofa Covers Back On Your White Sofa
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.
Question: How do I clean stains from the sofa cushion (underneath the cover)?
Great question! If you live with babies or larger pets, or allow food, etc. to be enjoyed on your couch, then chances are, you may have stains that have penetrated below the white sofa cover, and onto the actual sofa cushion.
If this is has happened to you, I have two recommendations for you:
1. My favorite spot cleaner:
Usually, I must say most spot cleaners I’ve tried have left me WAY less than impressed, but this one has never let me down. We recently had a worker in our house who spilled something on one of our rugs.
He asked for something to clean it up with, which was very kind. I gave him this spot cleaner, and the guy was literally blown away by how well it worked. It seriously felt like we were in an infomercial 😂the way he reacted when he saw how well the product worked.
Now, the product is called a “carpet cleaner”. But personally, I don’t hesitate to use it on any fabric surface. But as always, make sure you spot test before saturating a huge area with any product.
2. Homemade sofa cushion cleaning solution:
I learned a cleaning technique/cleaning solution recipe a while back while we were overhauling a camper we renovated. The mattress had some staining on it, so I decided to try and clean and remove them rather than replacing the whole mattress.
I watched this YouTube video (embedded below this recipe), and mixed up the solution they recommend, which is:
Homemade Sofa Cushion/Mattress Cleaning Solution Recipe:
- 8 oz. hydrogen peroxide
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 drop of liquid dishwashing soap (such as Dawn)
- Optional: couple drops essential oil, scent of choice (lavender or a citrus such as lemon or orange would be great choices)
- **You have to use a heavy-duty spray bottle like they recommend in the video, if you don’t, the solution will clog a regular spray bottle (and trust me, I didn’t follow their advice at first on this front, and quickily realized I should have!)
Now, they are specifically discussing removing urine stains, but frankly, I think it would work for lots of other types of stains, as well. Here’s the cleaning tutorial video. Hope it helps you!
Living With an Ikea Ektorp White Sofa: Final Thoughts
Our white sofa covers have stared down guinea pig pee stains, dirt, grease…you name it. Well, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve had to deal with red wine or bloodstains (yet). 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.
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I hope this has given you a little peace of mind if you’ve been considering buying a white sofa but haven’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 and washable cover is KEY.
So who wants to walk on the wild side and a sit 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)!
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Amanda L Schulz says
It says not to bleach my white covers. I washed them for the first time yesterday and the fronts and seats of the cushions are still grungy looking. Im so disappointed. Do you use color safe bleach or straight up chlorine bleach? Im worried they will yellow. My mother used Mrs. Whites Blueing I think it was called on her nursing uniforms back in the day. I wonder if this would be a better option than the bleach.
Hi Amanda! Well, I definitely bleach mine, and I use regular ol bleach. But I certainly don’t want you taking my word for it if your covers say not to, and ruining them!! Our couch gets some pretty good wear and tear and so if I just washed ours without the bleach, I’m pretty sure ours would stay dingy also. That’s an interesting product you’re talking about that your mom used! I have never heard of that. When I worked in the hospital and wore my lab coat every day, I used regular ol bleach on that, too (I’m probably not a great rules-follower when it comes to garment labels 😉 Good luck! Hope you figure out a method that works well for your covers!!
Hi, Do you have any tips for how to clean the top and sides of the sofa, where there aren’t any removable covers? Thanks, Erica
Hey Erica! On the Ektorp, the sides and top do come off as part of the cover, so they can be pre-treated for stains and thrown in the wash as well :). Easy breezy.
Jane Richardson says
Thanks for this, timely article for me. I’ve been thinking for a while now about swapping our old red leather sofa and red fabric one for two white Ektorps and spare covers, but we have a black dog, two kitties, and two teenagers (and two guinea pigs!) so I didn’t think it could really work….!! Reading your post and seeing how well they come out after laundering is making me wonder if it could be manageable after all. Spot treatment sounds essential, and I can line-dry in the sunnier months – and I vac and brush away pet fluff for England as it is, anyway! You’ve given me food for thought – now I just have to convince hubs!