Yes… We Have a WHITE Couch!

posted by Andrea | 01/11/2016

white couch

Over the past 5 years, the number of questions, comments, and emails I’ve gotten regarding our white couch still amazes me!

Many of the questions are simply inquisitory — where we got it, if we like it, how often we wash it, how comfortable is it, etc.

The rest of the comments and questions are from awe-struck readers who think I’m totally insane to have a white couch with 3 small children… who knows, maybe I am!

I suppose it is kind of crazy if you think about it — but I honestly love our couch so much that it’s worth the (very) small amount of time and effort I put forth to keep our couch relatively clean and white.

However, since I get so many questions about how I clean and care for our couch and slipcovers, I thought it might be time for a post detailing exactly what I do to wash and dry our WHITE slipcovered couch!

If you’re looking for more information about why we love slipcovered furniture, read this post.

If you’re looking for more information about how I keep our white couch white (in between washing), read this post.

Where did you buy your couch and slipcover?

Our couch is from IKEA (it’s the Ektorp line). It was roughly $800 for the entire sectional, and then $99 for the slipcover. I found the ottoman on craigslist for $20 and purchased the matching white slipcover for $29 (at the time).

If you want to read a “fun” story, read this post about how we drove 3 hours to IKEA to get this couch only to realize that the measurements listed online were wrong and it wouldn’t fit in our U Haul. It was also 90ºF and I was 6 months pregnant!

I’m sure you can see how excited and happy Dave was to spend time unboxing everything and figuring out how to cram it into our truck and U Haul in the mid-afternoon heat on black asphalt in the IKEA parking lot!


Can you buy an IKEA couch and not use a slipcover?

No, you would not want to buy a couch without a slipcover!

The IKEA couches are made to go with a slipcover. Without slipcovers, the cushions and pillows are a very thin, see-through (almost mesh-like) fabric. It looks very cheap and would look extremely dorky without slipcovers (at least in my opinion).

It’s hard to see from the photos below — but just trust me, you would not want to have this couch in your house without some sort of slipcover!

Also, I wouldn’t suggest buying generic slipcovers to go with the IKEA couches. It’s kind of a package deal, so you’ll want to buy both the couch and the slipcover at the same time.

How often do you wash your slipcover?

I honestly don’t wash it very often — maybe 3 times a year.

And actually, I only wash the seat and back cushions because the slip cover “base” probably wouldn’t fit in my washing machine!

Throughout the year, I wipe up any smaller stains as needed. Sometimes I use upholstery cleaner or wash an individual cushion when needed. I also am not ashamed to admit that I’ll simply flip the pillows and cushions around to cover up a spot until I’m ready to wash it 🙂

Do you dry your slipcovers in the dryer?

Yes, I’ve always dried them in the dryer — normal heat, until they are fully dry. I’ve never had any problems with shrinking!

How exactly do you wash the slipcovers?

It’s not really an “exact” process — but here’s what I do:

1. Pull off the slipcovers from the cushions, the pillows, and the ottoman (there are 12 total)

2. Let kids jump all over the uncovered cushions while I’m washing the covers

3. Spot-treat any dark stains with an OxiClean paste (just mix a little with water and scrub with a brush)

4. Put 6 covers in the washing machine, add a scoop of OxiClean and some laundry detergent

5. Wash with hot water on the quick cycle

6. Toss in the dryer on normal heat until they are dry (I don’t use any type of fabric softener)

7. Repeat with remaining 6 covers

8. Use upholstery cleaner to spot treat armrests and skirt if/when necessary

9. Vacuum the massive amount of crumbs under the cushions while kids are still jumping

10. Put covers back on cushions after kids go to bed.

Are you still using the same slipcover you bought 5 years ago?

Yes! We’re still using the same one.

I have thought about trying out a new color, but I just love the white right now!

I have also thought about buying another white one, just since it’s been  5 years, but I feel like that is pointless since we have so many little kids and I know I’d be more “protective” of the couch if I bought a new slipcover now.

Do you eat on your couch?

Yes… all the time (see picture of crumbs above!)

While we never eat full meals on the couch, we let our kids have snacks on the couch, Dave and I have snacks on the couch, and we frequently eat on the couch when people are over.

I also let my kids color in the living room, and we have frequently had to wash markers and crayons off our slipcovers.

How often do you use this couch?

This is our only couch — so we use and abuse it many, many times every day.

Kids spill, babies spit-up, kids pee (and poop), grownups spill, guests sleep, we nap, we make forts, we make trampolines, etc. etc. Believe it or not, I even let my sister’s dog on our couch over Thanksgiving break!


I will say that I would not have this couch if we had shedding pets (which I can almost guarantee will NEVER happen)… but it sure has held up to daily use and abuse from 3 little rugrats!

We do have plans for potentially changing the layout of our living room (and getting different furniture) at some point in the next few years… but until then, I’m pretty sure we’ll be sticking with our white couch.

What are your thoughts on white furniture?

Filed under: HomeCleaningMisc.

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  1. Lorraine


    I wish I could post a picture here, but I’m curious if your cushions underneath the slipcovers are as wrinkled as mine. No matter how smooth the slipcover is, my Ectorp always looks rumpled. It sat in a warehouse in Florida for weeks before the delivery company finally got it to our house.


    Andrea Reply:

    nope, not wrinkled at all — it has held up so well over the past 7+ years. Have you tried contacting IKEA?


  2. lyss


    It’s one of those things that works for some, but not others! I love the look of white sofas, but don’t think I’d do it. My mom got that sofa on craigslist recently in white. She soon had plenty of dirt and mud on the “skirt” part of it, which you said you don’t wash. But, she lives in the country and everyone wears shoes in the house, so…
    I really love the slipcover idea, though, and when we couch shop next, that’s what I’m going for, but think I’ll stick with another neutral like brown or gray. : )


  3. Susanne


    Our two big dogs do not get on the furniture, but they love to rub up against it. The off-white chair I had looked terrible (of course, it had no slip cover to take off and wash!). I’m afraid I’d have to wash them every other week!


  4. Edie


    My husband and I just bought an Ektorp for our new home! He assembled it a couple days ago and the kids have already started breaking it in. I didn’t go with white though. I’ve tried white towels and sheets, and I’m terrible with white! I also avoid white clothing and bedspreads that have a white background. I don’t know if it has to do with laundering with the extremely hard water we have, or if I just don’t do enough upkeep, but I just can’t make it work! Oh well! I went with a textured khaki colored slipcover instead, and might pick up one of the khaki canvas covers for the summer months.


    Andrea Reply:

    Edit, it’s probably because of your hard water. I know others who have issues with white because of their water. 🙂


  5. Emily


    Love IKEA! When we moved (and downsized) we sold all of our oversized furniture and purchased a bunch of stuff from IKEA. I wanted the same couch you have but we ended up getting one of their leather couches instead. (Hubby has always wanted leather :)) Have always loved your couches and how your living room is designed. The fort picture and the cushions all over the floor with jumping kids made me chuckle. Our home often looks like that too! We just used their room planner online to redesign furniture for my sewing room to make it multipurpose for sewing and homeschool. We’ll be heading to the IKEA in Chicago in a couple weeks to pick everything up. And we’ll be taking our flatbed trailer along 😉


    Andrea Reply:

    I love that you downsized after your 5th baby 🙂

    Also, have fun at IKEA! Dave and I have only been there twice because it’s a long drive for us — but we love everything we’ve gotten there!


    Emily Reply:

    Haha, we actually downsized when I was pregnant with our fourth, knowing we desired more children. It has been a wonderful blessing, almost forcing us to live more simply and get creative with the space we have. Our big drive was to get rid of a big mortgage on our last home and pay off this home quickly, which we did after living here for only a year and a half. Very thankful for the Lord’s blessings!


  6. Lauren D.


    We just purchased the IKEA Ektorp sofa, ottoman, and chair about 2 weeks ago. I got the gray slip overs for all! The sales assistant said the white is being discontinued so they were on crazy sale! Of course I needed to get those just in case! I paid $21 for the sofa, $11 for the chair and $7 for the ottoman!
    It is a very comfortable furniture line!!


    Andrea Reply:

    what!!! What IKEA were you shopping at? I just checked online and the white slipcovers are full price!

    I would buy 2 or 3 more if I could get them that cheap!!


  7. Janet


    We have an Ektorp sofa that I bought online from Kijiji( a Canadian site like Craig’s List) a few years ago. I replaced the slipcover it came with and bought the white one. We have teenagers and a Golden Retriever. I have never been sorry. I wanted one for a long time and finally realized it was probably easier to keep clean than a coloured one. I also have all white towels and sheets for the same reason. Love it!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, we have another Ektorp sofa in our heated outbuilding that we got off Craigslist. It has a tan slipcover and we really like that one too.


  8. Virginia


    I have had the Ikea Ektorp sofa for 7 or 8 years now. I have two slipcovers….one in a dark denim and a white one. This is the best sofa ever! We have been married for 40 years and through the years have purchased many pieces of furniture. I would have to say this rates near the top of the best purchases I have ever made. I love the look of slip covered furniture and the ease of care makes this a great addition to our home. I wish now that we would have had this sofa when our kids were small….we spent much more on sofas back then and had to pay to have them professionally cleaned only to have them look dirty again within a week of two.


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — glad to know you are loving your Ektorp sofa so much! We like ours, but we also don’t have much to compare it to!