how to wash ikea couch covers
Kristina Davis

We have an IKEA slipcover couch with Ektorp slipcovers. With kids, I needed a way to easily clean that furniture!

So, I did my research on how to wash Ikea couch covers easily.


Well, if you’re like me, your sofa probably gets a lot of love.

In our family, the sofa is where we gather for storytime, where we eat snacks, take naps, where my husband and I unwind together at the end of a long day…you get the picture!

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IKEA couch covers are machine washable. First, vacuum up any residue. Spot clean to remove stains. Wash gently in warm or cold water. Dry on low. Allow them to air after drying. Remember to protect your couch with a blanket while the covers are washing.

How Often Should You Wash Ikea Couch Covers?

how often to clean covers

Honestly, this depends on how much use your IKEA sofa gets, but you might not have to wash your couch covers as often as you think.

I have young kids and pets and a light beige sofa (I know, I’m crazy.)

I wash our covers about once every two months unless there’s been a total disaster like a bad spill (spaghetti sauce, I’m looking at you!)

When it comes to pets, you can deal with a lot of the mess by vacuuming. I have the Dyson V8 Animal vacuum, and it has literally changed my life.

The upfront cost is a bit steep, but I promise you, it’s worth it if you have pets (or kids.)

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If you can afford it, keep a couple of sets of slipcovers on hand. It makes washing easier and less frequent and means your slipcovers will last longer because they get less use.

It’s also an easy way to change up your decor. I have a winter slipcover and a summer slipcover.

How to Wash IKEA Couch Covers Easily

wash couch covers

Okay, down to the nitty-gritty. To keep your white and light-colored slipcovers looking sharp,

I recommend following these steps on how to clean IKEA sofa covers exactly.

The following steps assume that you live in a house with kids and pets. If you don’t, then some of the steps (like spot-cleaning) may not be necessary.

Step #1: Vacuum the Sofa

Vacuuming is a step many people forget, but it’s critical if you want a super clean couch. Vacuum all the cushions to get rid of hair, dirt, crumbs, etc.

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Next, take all the cushions off and vacuum inside the sofa. Finally, vacuum underneath and vacuum the back of the sofa.

Tip: The Dyson V8 Animal makes this part easy.

Step #2: Remove the covers

This part should be easy—just unzip the covers and pull them off.

The most important part here is to cover the cushions with something once you remove them!

The whole wash process takes some time (especially the line-drying), so you need to protect your couch while it’s…um, naked.

Note: If you have an extra set of slipcovers, just put those on when you're done. Otherwise, a couple of blankets or a sheet work great.

Step #3: Spot Treat Stains

using stain removers

You can do this before you remove the covers, but I prefer to do it after I remove them. That way, the spot remover doesn’t soak into the cushions.

Spray the product onto the problem area and leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub with a soft-bristle brush.

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Leave the product on—you’ll put the cover into the laundry with the stain remover still on the fabric.

I use OxiClean Laundry and More Stain Remover Spray. Other products that I’ve used and liked include Shout and Tide Rescue Laundry Stain Remover.

Step #4: Machine Wash the Covers

I have a regular top-loading washing machine. It works fine for washing my covers.

Before washing, I add Oxi-Clean and Arm and Hammer Powder Detergent. I highly recommend adding Oxi-Clean or using a detergent that contains OxiClean.

For my white slipcovers, I also add Clorox Bleach. Always read the label of your slipcovers to make sure that they are safe to bleach before adding bleach!

I use the following settings for the wash cycle:

  • Water Level – large
  • Water Temperature – warm/cold
  • Rinse Options – 2nd rinse
  • Speed – heavy-duty (fast/fast)

You will probably need to wash the slipcovers in batches. If your covers are very grungy, you might want to pre-wash them as well.

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Just make sure that you use exactly the same settings and process for each batch—otherwise, you might end up with different results!

Step #5: Dry in the Dryer

using dryer

Drying is the step that could cause problems if you do it wrong. Don’t dry your slipcovers on high heat!

They could shrink.

I put mine in on low heat for one hour. Some people recommend using no heat at all.

I think you can get away with low or medium heat. If you’re nervous, use the air-dry setting.

Tip: You’ll want to dry them in batches so you don’t overload your dryer.

Step #6: Line/Air Dry

You don’t necessarily need a line for this step, but it helps. I like to hang mine in the backyard if it’s sunny out.

If not, I string up a line in the laundry room and turn on the ceiling fan. You can also spread the covers out on the bed and point a fan at them.

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If you use no heat, this part will take quite some time. If you use low heat, it should only take an hour or so for the covers to completely dry.

Step #7: Put the Covers Back On

This part is pretty self-explanatory. Just put the covers back where they came from.

It can be hard to remember which couch part came from where and which way round they went. I like to mark my covers on the label with a sharpie to help me remember.

If you’re gung-ho, you could even sew little labels into the seams to help you remember where they go.

That’s it!

You’ve now learned how to wash IKEA couch covers easily. Read on to learn how to keep those newly washed covers looking fresh for as long as possible.

How to Protect Your IKEA Couch Covers from Stains and Damage

protect couch covers

Once your covers are back on, you’re going to want to keep them looking gorgeous for as long as possible. There are a few things you can do.

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Treat Stains Immediately!

It’s so much easier to remove a stain immediately than one over 24 hours old.

Even if you don’t remove the stain entirely, treating it immediately will increase the chances that the stain will come out in the wash.

Vacuum Frequently

You can eliminate grime buildup with frequent vacuuming. If dirt doesn’t have time to get ground into the fabric, it won’t make your couch dingy or grubby.

You’d be surprised at how much fresher your couch will look simply through vacuuming.

Steam Clean

Honestly, white couches do require some work, especially if you have kids or pets (or both, like a crazy person…).

I started using a steam cleaner to keep our sofa looking fresh and bright between washes about six months ago, and it has been awesome. After the Dyson V8 Animal, I’d say this is my favorite home appliance.

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I use the Conair Turbo Extreme Handheld Fabric Steamer. It’s inexpensive, available at Target, Walmart, and many other places, and it works.

It stretches the time between washes. It also keeps covers looking fresh and wrinkle-free.

I’m not going to lie, it’s also kind of fun to use. Does that make me a huge nerd?

Probably. Do I care? Not one bit!

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Final Word

You don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort just because you have kids and pets! With a little bit of effort, you can enjoy the sofa you want and keep your sanity.

A slipcover couch is a great option if you want a beautiful home without a lot of hassle.

White and light-covered couches might seem like a headache, but once you know how to clean IKEA sofa covers, the process becomes very manageable.