How to Clean Slipcovers

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Have you ever wondered how to clean slipcovers? Today I am sharing how I wash our IKEA slipcovers. This method works every time.

How to Clean Slipcovers

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, “How do you keep your white slipcovers clean?”. I think most people think I own white slipcovers because our boys are grown and that’s how they stay clean. But look at the photo above! I have a  great method I use to wash Ikea slipcovers and I can not wait to share it with you.

This post is the third of a three-part blog post series about slipcovers. If you are just starting here, don’t forget to read the other posts.

#1 – Classic Slipcovers or Furniture Upholstery?

#2 – How to Buy the Best Slipcover for Your Sofa

#3 – How to Clean Slipcovers

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It doesn’t matter how old your kids are. Or how many pets you have. Keeping white slipcovers looking nice is easier than you think. You just need to wash them. If you look closely at these photos, check out all of the stains!

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I will be honest. Usually, our slipcovers look much worse. Especially here at the beach. To help protect our slipcovers, I usually put a vintage quilt on the couch where our dog Sport jumps up and sleeps. Why? Because Sport is often sandy and wet and well, it’s just much easier that way!

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Let me share with you how easy it is to wash Ikea slipcovers. Or any slipcovers for that matter!

Let’s start answering a few of the most common questions I get about washing slipcovers.

How Often do I Wash my Slipcovers?

I know that laundering slipcovers can wear them down a bit so I probably only wash my slipcovers twice a year. I keep a bottle of resolve on hand and use it to spot clean the cushions. If one cushion gets a stain I may often just wash the one cushion slipcover. I can also flip them and hide the stains and then wash them all at once.

Can I wash my sofa covers in the washing machine?

It depends on the fabric. Read the care label first before you throw the slipcovers on the machine. If you aren’t sure about the durability of washing, you can always have them drycleaned. Otherwise,  wash the slipcover on a gentle cycle in cold water with a mild detergent.

Are Pottery Barn Slipcovers Washable?

According to  Pottery Barn, the Slipcover Care is:

Machine wash cold, gentle cycle with like colors, only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry low. Warm iron as needed, or spot clean with a damp white cloth.  Remove promptly to reduce wrinkling and stretch slipcover back on frame and/or cushion(s) to complete drying. 

How to Wash Ikea Extorp Slipcovers 

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The steps are so easy to wash slipcovers.

  1. Take off all of the slipcovers.
  2. Spray every stain you can find with Resolve. I usually use an entire bottle each time I wash our slipcovers.
  3. Place in the washing machine. To wash the IKEA Ektorp sectional, I run two loads. One with the cushion slipcovers and another one with the couch cover.
  4. Add one large scoop of Oxyclean and one Tide (or any laundry soap) tablet.
  5. Change the setting to reflect HOT wash cycle and run the full cycle. (If you aren’t using IKEA slipcovers, and you don’t know if your slipcovers were pre-washed, USE COLD WATER.)
  6. Take the slipcovers out and don’t dry them. I know that some people dry them but I like my slipcovers loose fitting and I don’t want to take any chances that they will shrink. Normally I hang them but I couldn’t find my clothesline! So I laid them out on towels on the ping pong table in our garage. Usually, I let them hang dry overnight.
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Don’t let them try completely. When they are a tiny bit damp to the touch, go ahead and put them back on the sofa and cushions.  Look how much better they look!

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The key to washing slipcovers is using both the Resolve and the Oxyclean. For some reason, the combination works really well together.

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I can honestly say that there is not one spot anywhere on the entire slipcover! 

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And by the way, my slipcovers are almost five years old. My sectional is the IKEA Extorp with a white cover. I just love how they look brand new every time I clean them.

I get a lot of inquiries about why we have so much neutral (aka white) furniture in our homes. It’s because neutral furniture allows you the flexibility to decorate however you want. You can read more about that here.


Links to Items Similar to This Post

The first row shares available slipcovers for the EKTORP tow and three-seat sofa, the two-seat sofa bed, and the sectional. They all come in assorted colors.

Pin the image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

How to Clean Slipcovers

For more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @My100YearOldHome

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  1. I gave the sofa, ottoman and chair and I love them!! I have the dark gray slips and a set of dark beige which I have yet to put on.

  2. I LOVE having slip covers too. Our Mitchell Gold sofa is nearly 18 years old and the slip covers still look great. I have a few different colors for each season and they wear so well~~especially with 3 children and pets. Thanks for sharing…haven’t used Resolve on them but will now try it.

  3. The hot water doesn’t shrink them and then if you put them on damp do they dry fairly quickly? Mine need done desperately. I have done them before but not in hot water and I put them outside to dry completely which requires nice weather, but I hate to give up a pretty day to this chore, lol

  4. So funny…I clean my white Ikea slipcovers almost same way! I have several of these sofas both at home and at our house on Cape Cod. Those slipcovers wash great! Sometimes I do dry them on low heat for a bit but never fully! I do have a few spare slipcovers for catastrophic stains though more likely in event of my lab chewing the corner of a skirt to sofa! I do also love solution of dish liquid, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for tough stains on white slipcovers (or white jeans…works for red wine spills:).

  5. I have a 3 piece sectional sofa that is a Tuscan gold color. I have washed the pillow covers several times but never the actual couch covers. I have been afraid they would shrink and I wouldn’t be able to get them on. So washing in hot water is ok????

    1. THANK YOU for this! We have an Ikea cream colored sleeper sofa in our Airbnb that needs cleaning! (And I’ve been a bit of afraid to take the sofa part off to clean it.)

  6. Question: How do you keep your couch cushions from losing their form? Have you ever added some sort of filler? I have a 4 year old pottery barn sectional, also white, love it! Only problem is the cushions need constant fluffing.

  7. What sofa can I purchase, what style and store with slip covers? Do they also sell slip covers in different colors? Thanks!

  8. You gave me the guts to buy white furniture. I have washed those slipcovers using your advice a number of times with great success! Coffee spills, tea spills, beer spills (what is with these people?!), dirt on the skirts… all gone!

    Thanks Leslie! Great advice!

  9. J’ai le canape EKTORP depuis presque 20 ans, je les lave également à l’eau très chaude 2 fois par an (j’ai chien et chat qui vont dans le jardin ) et les housses de mon canapé sont encore très bien.
    Bonne journée

  10. Love your posts and the pictures of the dogs is spot on! Just ordered fabric from Big Duck! Thanks for your inspiration and expertise!

  11. I love my IKEA Karlstad white slipcovered sofas. Four dogs & four grandchildren over the last seven summers at the cottage & my slipcovers look like brand new after your cleaning method. I don’t allow my slipcovers to totally dry before I put them back on the cushions. I stand up the cushions to have them fully dry overnight.

  12. which is better machine wash or dry wash or hand wash for my doggy cover couch?i think Using sectional slip covers means never worrying about cleaning your couch again. Most sectional covers can be easily removed and machine-washed at any convenient time.

  13. We recently purchased a huge, Pottery Barn sectional with slipcovers. We love them but it is time to put them in the wash. We have used Resolve (or Shout) and Oxi Clean in the past with great success but I wanted to share a product we found a couple of years ago that has made a huge difference in how often we need to wash our slipcovers. The name of this wonder product is Folex. It’s sold at Lowe’s Home Improvement and I recently saw the small bottles of it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It’s primary purpose is to clean carpet but it can also be used on upholstery and clothes. The great thing about this product is that it doesn’t require rinsing with water after and it doesn’t leave that awful ring that so many stain removers do. We keep a small spray bottle in our vehicles, our kitchen, the living room, and of course, the laundry room.

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