A Dissenting Opinion on the Ikea Ektorp Sofa

what you need to know before you buy the IKEA Ektorp sofa

Last fall we bought an IKEA Ektorp sofa. At $399, it was a steal.

Or so I thought.

If you’re unfamiliar with this classic IKEA sofa, here’s what you need to know: you buy your sofa base and choose your own slipcover from a dozen or so options. I had planned to get beige slipcovers, but they were sold out. Since we live 120 miles from IKEA, popping in a few days later to pick one up wasn’t an option. So we went with white.

Before you tell me I’m crazy (four kids and a dog!) let me explain: I’d done my due diligence. I’d read many blog posts (like here, here, and here) from busy moms who love their white Ektorp sofas, and who swore they’re not hard to maintain.

If you read those posts (and the other Ektorp reviews online), you’ll notice a common thread: the people who love their white couches wash their slipcovers all. the. time. (Typical recommendations are to wash weekly or every other week.)

We’ve now had our Ektorp sofa for four months. It’s comfy. It looks great.

The maintenance routine looks like this: I strip the slipcovers from the base and the couch’s six cushions. I wash them in two separate loads (even though I have a front-loader, it’s a bit much for one load). I dry each load separately to 60 % or so and s-t-r-e-t-c-h the covers back onto the frame and cushions. (I hate that last part.)

The whole drill takes about 30 minutes of active time, which isn’t a lot. But it’s not time well spent when I’m actively trying to decrease my time spent on home management.

The sofa looks best when I wash the slipcovers every week, but I don’t wash weekly unless we’re having guests or somebody spills something. It looks pretty good with every other week, and I can stretch it to three if I need to. But that’s still way more time than I want to spend maintaining a couch.

I have found a few things that make the maintenance a bit easier:

Folex. My mom gifted me my first bottle of this nontoxic instant stain remover, and it’s amazing. When I spilled red wine (sad but true) on the arm of the sofa, the Folex made it disappear. Miracle. (My kids have rules about where they can and cannot have snack, yet I’m the one always spilling wine and coffee everywhere. Anne may mean “graceful” but it doesn’t always fit.)

Biokleen laundry powder. This product relies on grapefruit seed and orange extract for cleaning power, and I love its fresh, subtle smell. My favorite part of washing the slipcovers is the way the whole living room smells when they’re newly cleaned. We use Biokleen because my girls and I have sensitive skin, but the important thing is to choose a detergent you really like the smell of–because the smell will permeate the whole room on that first day.

Biokleen oxygen bleach. I use this in every load to brighten and whiten. Similar to OxiClean but I prefer this brand.

Bleach. No, it’s not gentle, but I bleach the slipcovers every 3 washes or so to get rid of the dinginess that comes with having 4 kids and a dog (and a mom who sloshes her coffee).

I like my sofa. I love the look of the white. And I know I can buy new slipcovers or dye the ones I have or cover the couch with blankets to protect it. But what I really want is to not be high-maintenance about my furniture.

My sofa may have been cheap, but I can’t believe how much it’s costing me. This thing should have come with a maid.

A dissenting opinion on the IKEA Ektorp sofa | Modern Mrs Darcy. I know people love their white IKEA sectionals, but can we talk about maintenance and upkeep for a minute? (And if you DO decide to go with one, you NEED to know these tips and tricks (and products!) for maintaining it.

IKEA furniture: tell us all about yours in comments. 

Comments

  1. Amy says

    This is all interesting because we have four cats who like to claw furniture despite our best efforts (we’ve done everything including the cat tape on the furniture and the little guards you put over their claws) and we’re in the market for a new couch. We had planned on leather, which is what I really want, but if we spend a fortune on a leather sofa and the cats claw it it’s going to make me crazy. With something like this I could just replace the cover when/if it looks ratty. Thanks for the idea (I know you have a dissenting opinion) :)

    • Anne says

      Amy, a clawed leather sofa would make me crazy, too! My concern is saving time and energy, and this sofa requires it. But if your concern is your cats, and a washable, replaceable slipcover takes care of it, it might be just the thing for you.

      Just remember you’re going to have to wash it–especially if you choose white!

    • Danielle says

      I highly recommend NOT getting a leather sofa! I have cats and my leather sofa has taken a beating… unless you are going to clip their nails diligently every week or so then a leather couch isn’t a good idea… I still love mine it just looks a little tattered!

    • Biali says

      I have a ratty old sofa that my super pulled out from under a pile in his garage. Since it was free.99 and my husband and I are broke, I decided to make it work. I went onto amazon and purchased a Sure Fit 2 piece (very Important) slipcover in this awesome stretch velour fabric, and I love it. I plan on eventually buying a sofa to fit the slipcover, and possibly getting another one to rotate with. I also have a cat who loves to claw. I trim her nails once a month, but do far, no snags or shreds. I have a cream cover, and I wash it maybe every three to six weeks, and I lint brush it pretty regularly. I say, get a solid sofa that works for you, and plan on getting slip covers.

    • Martegy says

      We have a leather sofa and chairs and cats. Our cats don’t claw the furniture on purpose…but it’s all clawed up anyway. Picture a cat sleeping on the arm of the sofa next to you. Picture yourself scratching kitty behind the head. Kitty doesn’t want to slide off the slippery leather, and kitty doesn’t have to. It’s just so easy to hold on with all 10 (or so) front claws. Sometimes the hind end starts sliding, and then a big scratch occurs.

      I have found that most cats love the flat, round scratching station with the ball. Soooo satisfying.

      We are looking at sunroom furniture, these are good comments. I want the white, but then again…As far as “Scotch Guard” goes, we will use “303 High Tech Fabric Guard” to protect from UV light. It’s waterproof, too. We used that on our outdoor Sunbrella cushions after we washed them. It’s also used for car convertible tops.

    • Anne says

      Well, we’ve only had ours 4 months, but it seems like it holds its own against its (more expensive) competitors. It won’t last forever, but I wouldn’t expect it to. And it is comfortable.

      • leslie says

        I also have 4 kids 17 – 10, when you do spill something on the sofa and wash the slipcover does he stain come out completely? I would love a white sofa but I am nervous it will not look well even after I wash it.

  2. says

    Hi Anne, As one of the “busy moms who loves our white Ektorp sofas” you linked to in your post, I thought I would share that we’ve had our white sofa in our main living room for almost 2 years now and I’ve never, ever washed it yet!

    We had it protected with a stain guard right after we got it home… and that seems to do the trick. I’ve spot cleaned 3 spots in 2 years and also use a lint roller every couple of weeks to remove fuzzies, hair, etc. I’ve probably spent 1 hour total on “couch maintenance” in the 2 years we’ve had it — so not too bad!

    I will admit that I have an odd obsession with white (seriously!) so I’m definitely still loving our white couch! :)

    • Anne says

      Really? Okay, I’m impressed–and a little jealous! Thanks for sharing that.

      You had yours professionally stain guarded–am I right? I did scotch guard at home myself, and I’ve read there’s a big difference between the DIY and the professional route for that.

      • says

        haha — yes, we had our couch professionally stain guarded and I’m told it’s much more effective than doing it yourself. I’ve never tried doing it myself, but we are very happy with how well our couch has held up!

        • Anne says

          Great, thanks for the info! Maybe I need to start over with a new slipcover–and a professional Scotch-guarding. :)

          • says

            SCOTCH-GUARD IS REALLY A THING of the now? Must look into this. Our sofas look… eh… okay. I bought micro-suede which I wouldn’t do again because it looks dirty just because of the movement of the “suede”

        • Kathy says

          Just wondering, where you get the slipcovers professionally Scotch Guarded? At the dry cleaners? Thanks

  3. Maureen says

    I have the ektorp sofa with the striped black and white slipcover. I completely agree with you on the time and effort involved in washing the slipcovers! But I only wash mine quarterly (ish). Admittedly, I don’t have kids living there (though they visit) and my dogs don’t go on the furniture, although they are the reason it gets washed as often as it does. I think buying a new slipcover in a different color would be a good investment for your sanity :) And I love the ektorp for its reasonable purchase price, size, and it is very comfortable.

  4. says

    Thank you for this post! I have been eyeing the sofas at IKEA for years. They are so cheap and look so classic. However, I’ve purchased an IKEA chest of drawers and dresser, and the chest of drawers has not held up well. The drawers fall apart easily, and they don’t stand up well to kid handling. And you better believe all of our furniture is going to be kid handled. Anyway, as much as I love IKEA for so many things, I think I’m going to have to stick to quality Craig’s list buys or make a bigger investment for good furniture whenever we need something. We have a bedroom set for my daughter’s room that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. It was purchased in the late 50’s, and it’s still great.

    • Anne says

      Kelly, I asked for IKEA input on the MMD facebook page and my own personal page before our last trip up there, and I was surprised how many people specifically said to avoid the dressers. Sorry about that. :(

      There are some things IKEA does really, really well…and somethings they don’t.

  5. Julie says

    Did you know that you can now buy online from IKEA? I just checked it out, and it looks like the beige slipcover is an option through the online store. Yeah, you still have to pay shipping, but you’d probably end up paying that much in gas just to get to the store.

  6. says

    We purchased the Ektorp about 3 months ago, as well. (We have 3 little ones, age 5 and younger.) So far, it’s okay. But that’s probably because my husband has done the frustrating work of putting the covers back on. ;)

    I asked for advice on Facebook when we were about to buy, and didn’t get any dissenting views from owners. So, I’d have loved to have read this then! :)

    We haven’t washed the entire slipcover, just one or two at a time as each one has gotten dirty. We also bought a backup slipcover. (We have the 2+2 sectional since it was in the as-is section, and 2 chairs). Our living room is two stories, and I’ve noticed the couch collects the dust pretty quickly. We use a lint roller to pick up some of the excess.

    We don’t have a formal living room, so this is the “family room,” plus where our guests see as our main living room space (as is probably the case for many). For us, I think it’s the best happy medium. I guess I’d be afraid we might ruin something nicer, so I’m glad these can be washed if/when needed. But yeah, if it came with a maid, that would be nice. ;)

  7. says

    Thanks for warning me away from the slipcovers, Anne. We just bought a new sectional sofa last year, so I guess we weren’t in much danger of going that route anyway. We opted for low maintenance by buying leather, The only thing we do to keep it up is shift the cushions around once a month. Two minutes and I’m done.

        • says

          Yes indeed. It came with leather cleaner/polisher and a microfiber, and when we used that up I used only a damp microfiber cloth on it. The only downside is the bottom cushions aren’t removable, which means you can’t really clean under, only around them. But the leather hides everything.

          • says

            Ditto! We have Ektorp but in leather, and I haven’t done a bit of maintenance on our pieces except for wiping up spills when they happen every now and again.

            Love.

  8. says

    I’m glad you posted this as I was looking at a white Ektorp (our current couch slipcover got destroyed in the wash so now the couch is maintained with a very complicated system of layered bedspreads that makes me want to tear my hair out every single day).

    How do you get something professionally stain guarded?

    Also, I wonder if your mother’s helper would do the cover stretching for you? Or if you get someone to clean your house, could that person handle the weekly washing and stretching? Then again, as you said, it makes the cheap sofa kind of expensive in the long run.

    Lots to ponder before I make the leap. Thanks again for the post!

    • Anne says

      In my town there are carpet cleaners that offer professional stain guarding services, but I’ve never really looked into it. I’ll let you know if I do in the future.

      I think you’re right: my mother’s helper could do the stretching, and we’re having our house cleaned later this month, and I think the task could be done by either person. But then I’m paying someone to do a job I wish didn’t need to be done in the first place. That’s still not a great place to be.

  9. Shelly says

    Hi Anne,

    We just bought a white one in Jan. We wanted the grey too, but they were out!! We couldn’t believe it. Should have called first.
    So far so good, we have a few spots, but I don’t know if I should just wash those covers, or wash the whole thing. I hate to take the time and effort doing all that when only a few cushions need it. But, I don’t want some parts of it to look different than the others.
    I have wanted a white couch forever, but I, too, am trying to spend less time on home management. Not sure about how I feel about it all yet.

    • Anne says

      My mama always told me to wash everything at the same time so it wears evenly….but I don’t think an occasional blip will hurt anything. :) If I had a bad spill on just one cushion one time I wouldn’t hesitate to wash only that cushion. But doing that weekly wouldn’t be a good thing.

  10. says

    I love the look of white, and I’ve read posts where people rave over how great they still look. And then I’ve read where they wash them regularly, and think no no no. I want things that will minimize the time I have to spend on housework so I have more time for fun things like reading. Realistically, I would *never* wash it that frequently.

    Last year we bought a new couch & loveseat, and when we went to buy it I told the salesperson my preferences: a real back so not a series of pillows (because I knew otherwise my kids would eternally be tossing the pillows around and I would lose my mind at having to mess with them), and the most forgiving-of-stains material they had. Oh, and in stock because we needed it asap.

    She led me to four options, and it was so nice only having a few choices to pick from. We went with a subtle patterned one that has brown and grey and navy. And within a few days of having it someone spilled coffee all over the cushion and didn’t tell us, and I wondered if perhaps the subtle pattern was perhaps too good at hiding spills. ;)

      • says

        Too good in that it was a few days before we discovered it; would have been nice to find it sooner. Perhaps that also says something about how observant I am though, haha. We knew when it had happened since we don’t drink coffee & had only had people over drinking coffee once since we brought the sofa home.

        Although perhaps if the spiller had just told us about it when it happened that would have worked too, instead of hiding it under a toss pillow. :)

  11. says

    I’m a big fan of slip covers, but I’ve never had a white Ikea sofa. So far I’ve been able to get away with washing just the pieces that need it with a big spring cleaning wash once a year. It does seem like you’re doing a lot of work for your couch!

  12. says

    I really considered getting an Ektorp, and I read the same reviews from the same busy moms. :) But in the end we went with an Ashley couch from a local store. We ended up paying only $499 for it, so not much more than a Ektorp and I felt more confident about the quality. It really came down to the same thing you’re dealing with-time-and I just couldn’t imagine myself spending time each week washing more laundry.

  13. says

    I only have the white Ektorp chair–it was my big purchase back in college, lol–but it’s held up great over the years! Mostly just sitting in my sister’s room gathering dust after I got married, and now in our sons’ room (where it’s mostly used for reading time and a jumping-off point for little boys). I’ve only washed the cover 2 or 3 times, but it’s starting to look a bit dingy, so will have to do so again soon! Wish I could get the sofa, too, but we’re moving overseas soon :(

  14. Marie K says

    Thank you for the review. I’m considering buying an Ektorp. Does anyone know how the frames hold up? I have read a couple of chair reviews claiming the frames snapped, and the people were small in size. I’m afraid my 6’4″, 250 pound, husband will break the couch. It is a petite couch, which I like. He’s also a flopper. He doesn’t sit on furniture, he flops onto it.

    • says

      My husband’s also 6’4″ and probably about 220; he flops on that chair nearly every night to read to our boys, who like to climb all over it and bounce on and off of it! Our almost-4-year-old is around 45 lb., too, so it gets plenty of use as he uses it to climb onto his bed. So far so good! (We’ve had it for three years together; I bought it in college a few years before we had kids.)

  15. says

    Very interesting. We glanced sideways at the IKEA sectionals last time we were at the store, but ultimately decided against them. Leather has always been our material of choice – the upkeep is so easy!

  16. says

    I missed this post the first time around. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our Ektorp sofa…BUT. We went with white, I’ve washed them twice, and I’ve got the tan cover on my wish list. :) Otherwise – the couch is super comfy and I do not regret going with the $399 couch at all. Just wish I’d gone with the more expensive slip cover (because of the color).

  17. says

    I always knew people who bought white furniture were crazy.

    Of course, people who own black labs pretty much shouldn’t have anything white, ever.

    We own: a green couch inherited from the DDH’s mom and a brownish-green couch he brought home from when he worked at a disaster restoration company (if the insurance company totals out the furniture, most people just tell the shop to go ahead and keep it–even though a lot of times it’s not that badly damaged. So we got a couch and some armchairs and a few other things that way). They’re ugly, and not at all what I would have chosen, but given the constraints of dogs, children, and laziness, I’m not entirely sure what I would choose. And for free, I guess I don’t care too much how they look. ;-)

  18. says

    I just stumbled on this blog whilst googling Ektorp covers and really enjoyed your post! I have a white Ektorp sofa which I have had for 10 YEARS and it’s had an eventful life, it was mine when I was single and had a cat, it was used by tenants for a few years, then it spent a couple of years with my sister and her young kids (whilst I was working abroad) and it’s now back with me and in a house with a toddler and two dogs! It’s been back here for a couple of months and I haven’t washed it yet, BUT it does have a quilt over the main bit of the seat, which protects it a little. By the way, the reason I was googling covers is because I have a blue Ektorp too, the covers on that are two years old and they have washed up terribly and are faded.

    • says

      Clare, that’s good to know about the fading on the blue Ektorp covers, because I definitely had that in mind as an option for my house.

      It’s good to know your sofa has lasted ten years! I don’t think IKEA has even been on my radar for that long. Impressive. :)

  19. Lynn says

    I just ordered an white slipcover from Ikea’s website for $49.00! Absolutely amazing that you can have a spare slipcover for your couch for that amount! I can’t wait until it arrives!

      • Anne says

        And once a year they are on sale for $1!! I think it’s with the purchase of other furniture, but how great would it be to show up that weekend to buy your sofa!!!

        • says

          I’ve been in IKEA before on days when if you buy any slipcover, you get a white one for free. Too bad I didn’t have an Ektorp at the time!

        • Courtney says

          When is this sale? I have ektorp sofa/loveseats, and I would really love to buy slipcovers for them. I’ve been online for 20 minutes now trying to figure out when it is ;)

  20. Helena says

    I just stumbled upon this review as I was looking for decoration ideas involving the Ektorp. We’ve had ours for more than a year now and I am very happy with it. Yes I have to wash the white covers regularly (every month probably. We have a strict “no food or other drinks than water on the sofa” policy my 3 kids – under 4 years – and hubby need to follow) but I love the smell of the freshly cleaned sofas. Just because you don’t SEE any stains or dust or slowly built up dirt on the sofa doesn’t mean it’s not there. To me the thought of sitting and putting my head on a dirty sofa is pretty yuckie.
    Before these white covers I had another sofa with a grey slipcover. I washed it before putting it on the first time (as I do with all washable things, due to the chemicals used in the production process). After 6 months of use I washed these covers again and saw how extremely dirty the water was in the machine! (as I’d washed it before I knew it was not the color running) It was as if the cover had been lying in the mud. Same thing with leather. Whenever I used to clean or old leather chair, the rag was unbelievably dirty.
    I mean we wash our hair and hands and shower regularly and wash tablecloths, so why not our slipcovers?
    What I want to say is: yes it’s time consuming to wash slipcovers regularly but I think it’s time well spent to have a clean sofa.

    • says

      Helena, I’d never thought of it like that…but of course the dirt and filth is there even if you can’t see it. Thanks for pointing that out–it helps to redeem the time I spend maintaining my slip covers!

      Glad you like your Ektorp. :)

  21. Lindy says

    Was searching the web to find out if Ikea sell washing solutions for their sofa covers. We have had two white etkorp sofas for 15 years (living in Europe) and wash them every spring. They have got paler over the years but freshen up nicely to last one more year. I was wondering if anyone has ever put one of those waterproofing rinses in the wash to help protect the fabric afterwards. Was just a thought I had as we use it regularly for or outdoor gear…
    NB the idea of washing sofa covers every week is just amazing!

  22. Anne says

    Did we end up disclosing how to have the slipcovers professionally stain protected? I don’t see it? I have the chair and ottoman and five cats (plus a foster cat). I wash my cushion covers every other week and the base monthly. I’m really fussy about housekeeping, so I wash them fir freshness rather than soiling. They never seem dirty or dingy (and I do use oxyclean and fabric softener). Adore the white and its softer with each wash!! We are planning a trip to Denver in two months to buy the sofa and I’m beyond excited!!!

    • says

      Anne, professional carpet cleaning companies can apply professional-grade Scotch Guard treatments. I did a DIY Scotch Guard job on my Ektorp, and I don’t think it makes a difference at all. It’s worth going the professional route. :)

  23. AnnMarie says

    I wanted mention a bit on the Ektorp durability factor. I bought one 7+ years ago, our only couch. We have 5 kids, the oldest being 8. This couch doubles as a jungle gym. The arms seem especially strong…they are constantly jumping off of them (yes, not the best habit…we mention often that they may only do this on OUR couch), and we sit on them. I have been impressed. I am only sad the middle back cushion always seems a bit saggy.

    • says

      That’s so good to know–not very many people have had an Ektorp for that long, and it’s great to hear about your long-term experience with it. Thank you!

    • Judy says

      Thank you for this information….good to hear the Ektorp from IKEA stands the test for durability. I too have loved the look of this sofa for years and know it is very comfortable. I believe one of their best sellers. We have built our retirement home in the Canadian Rockies and the style of this sofa would fit beautifully with our decor plans. I will be buying two of them with different covers they offer.
      Cheers

  24. says

    After living with my white IKEA slips for almost a year, I had had it. I saved up and bought the Velinge Beige slips, which are like microfiber, and could.not.be.happier!! Totally worth the investment and better yet, they can be dry cleaned. I’m sooo happy!!

  25. Alison says

    Thanks for all the helpful info here. I’m considering buying an Ektorp. One question about its functionality as a sofa bed– is it comfortable for sleeping? What do the guests report?
    Thanks!

  26. Patricia says

    I am so happy to have Googled reviews on Ektorp sofas and found this blog. I have been looking for a new sofa and recliner. It has been hard because I am 5’2’’ (100 pounds) and my husband is 6’3 (230 pounds).

    We have five cats and five dogs, shelties. I love white furniture and would have never considered getting a white sofa until I read your posts. I like the idea of taking the covers off and washing them, but not every week. So, I will get the Folex and eventually get another cover to change the look of the room. I will also cover it with a doggy cover.

    I was looking at the Collins from Lazy Boy, but the price is double. Does anyone know anything about the Collins?

    Now, does anyone have any ideas on a recliner for a 6’3’ 240 man?
    Blessings to all of you

    • says

      My parents have a Lazy Boy recliner (can’t remember the model). The men in my family are all just shy of six and a half feet tall, and that recliner has been comfortable and sturdy for them for at least ten years now. I wish I could help you out with affordable alternatives, but that’s the only recliner experience I have. Good luck!

  27. joy says

    ladies, let me tell you i have the ektorp sectional with a white slip cover and we love it so much! here is why: i have three kids, ages 2, 4, and 6. we also have tons of little nieces and nephews in and out of the house all the time, so this thing takes a beating. when my son drew his first drawing ever, it was ball point pen on an entire sofa cushion. did i stress out about it? nope, i just took off the cover, scrubbed it with a paste made of resolve and oxycleaner, washed it in bleach, and it was as good as new! so many mom friends were amazed at how much easier it was for me to deal with his “accident” than it would have been for them on their microfiber sofas, or sofas with cushions that don’t come off.

    the sofa is so comfortable, i regularly slept on it when i was pregnant with #3 and couldn’t get comfortable in my super soft bed. i just needed more support for my back! now, my husband likes to take naps on the weekends on the sofa. he’s 6′ so he has to curl up a bit, but he still swears it is comfortable. it hasn’t started to sag, like some of the sofas in friends’ houses do. and we’ve had it for five years now!

    we know that once the cover gets a stain we can’t remove, we can always buy a replacement instead of having to scrap the whole sofa. so much more cost efficient and environmentally friendly!

    i do, however, flip the cushions when company comes over. we have a “family” side and a “guests” side for obvious reasons. :)

  28. Michelle says

    Does anyone have trouble with the cushions slipping out? Also, are the back cushions attached to the sofa? We don’t have an IKEA store where I live, but love this style. My only fear is that I will constantly have to push the cushions back in place after lounging around. GRR!

  29. says

    I’m kind of intrigued by the IKEA couch but am hesitant to purchase. Not because of the white slipcover — but the “stuffing.” Does it hold up well? My current couch’s back pillows are constantly needing fluffing because they sag so terribly, and the bottom cushions seem to have lost all of their support too. The couch is from Ashley’s (I think?) and is less than 5 years old! Granted, we bought it on super-sale, but still. I just want a couch that I don’t have to FLUFF all the time! Anyone have any input on that?

    • says

      Kati, we had a sofa in a style similar to the Ektorp before this one (can’t remember the store, but it was more expensive than IKEA) and had the same problem with the sagging back pillows after about 5 years. I’m expecting the same thing to happen to the Ektorp. I wish IKEA sold replacement cushions, but they don’t at this time.

      Of course, I’m speculating–we haven’t had our Ektorp a year yet.

  30. Peg says

    I have a blue slipcover for the Ektorp chair. It looks faded and has stains. Do you recommend pre-soaking or anything else like that?

    Also, has anyone tried dying their colored slipcover after stains and fading? How do you do it in your own washer? Is it dangerous for your washer or future washes?

    • says

      A good stain treatment couldn’t hurt, but might not help–especially if the stains are old.

      But before my eyes even made it to the second paragraph I was already thinking about dyeing the old slipcover. I’ve only done home dyeing in a big bucket, never in my washing machine, and have had good results so far. If you try it come back and tell us!

  31. wendy says

    I bought the sofa almost a year ago with two white slipcovers.

    I still have a new set of the Ektorp white slipcovers in my linen closet. I live primarily alone but have two cats (one black and long haired) and a son who frequently visits.

    Today, I decided the couch needed freshening. I tested with the originals and did two pillow covers.

    I want a man! However, they washed beautifully and I was able to stuff them back in.

    The best advice I read was to do in cold water and only dry to damp. Stuff them back in and let them dry for a day after that.

    I do love this couch and will buy more slipcovers before Ikea discontinues the model.

    The cushions are still perfect and it is so comfortable.

    I will do the rest of the originals tomorrow and my boyfriend will be here to do the stuffing.

    Not to be snooty, but I have had the best sofas money can buy. The Ektorp and the white slipcovers are the best buy for the money.

    • says

      Wendy, that’s not snooty! It’s really good to know. I’m all about a good value (even if I am considering switching to beige. :) ) Thanks for sharing!

  32. Kevin says

    I have the Svanby Gray color 2+2 sectional here, and I haven’t had to wash it yet. Granted, I don’t have kids over all the time, but there have been a few spills that i’ve managed to clean up with no problem. I also rotate the cushions around a bit to keep them fresh (I generally sit on one side most of the time. I washed my slip covers for the first time a year in, and there wasn’t that much change. The Gray does cost more than the White, but it shows spills MUCH less.

    • Celia says

      Is the 2+2 sectional two pieces? I have seen sectionals that are 5 pieces which seems like it would not be very comfortable.

      Our current sofa’s back cushions are smooshed after 7 years and no amount of fluffing will get them back in shape! Maybe an upholsterer could refill.

  33. Riva says

    I think I have you all beat! I’ve had my Ektorp sofa and sofa bed for about 15 years now and love it! It’s still as comfortable as the day I bought it. But here’s my biggest issue. My sofa has 2 (large) cushions for seating and 3 back pillows/cushions. I’m searching for slipcovers but they only make them for the 3 cushioned sofas. I went to IKEA to try to buy 3 cushions to replace mine but they don’t sell them separately from the sofa. I’m totally confused as to what to do.
    Any suggestions?

    • Sarah says

      Check out Bemz. They might have your version of the sofa. They are a 3rd party company that makes slipcovers for IKEA furniture, including Ektorp.

  34. says

    I just spent the day at IKEA on Saturday to make some decisions about what to get and the Ektorp was my decision. Don’t think I want the white, but after reading all your messages, perhaps it’s the way to go.

    Just me, no pets/kids. But I am ill with stage IV carcinoid cancer and don’t need the weekly/monthly maintenance. I’m doing okay right now, but there will come a time I won’t be able to manage that. Still working part-time, and writing a lot (website linked to name) and making jewelry. Want furniture where things won’t get lost in the underneath of the couch frame.

    Am buying mostly all new furniture in this move I’m making. Time for me to have nice things so I can enjoy them. :)

    Glad I stumbled up this site re: Ektorp. :)

  35. Tammy says

    I have had my Ektorp couch and love seat with the white covers for 2 1/2 years, and have only washed them twice. I don’t have small children, however I do have a teenage daughter and her friends who are here regularly and somewhat hard on it, as well as a couple cats. By the time I do wash it, it is necessary and dingy.
    What I am curious about is what a few people have mentioned about drying it to 80% or so and then stretching onto the frame and cushions, do you dry it partially in the dryer? The tag says not to so I haven’t, when you don’t they are very wrinkly when put back on, so I have ironed them, which is the biggest reason I don’t wash them frequently! If I could partially dry them in the dryer it would sure make it easier.

    • says

      I dry mine in the dryer, after washing them on hot, which is also not recommended. :)

      I did think I ruined my slipcover once because I disregarded the instructions on the tag: I dried them in the dryer and could not get the slipcover onto the sofa base. But I’d just dried it too much–after rewetting it a bit it fit just fine.

  36. Karen says

    I am planning on getting an Ektorp but I live in St. Louis, MO, with no store close by. Does anyone know if Ikea will send fabric swatches?

    Thanks.

  37. Zahra says

    I have had ektorp 2 and 3 seaters for 12 years and am happy with them. The blue covers have faded so was looking into getting new covers. At the ikea store however the new ektorps didn’t look as sturdy which got me thinking if they changed the materials maybe they changed the size. Will the covers fit my old sofas? The 3 seater is 3 cushions.

  38. Kim says

    Thank you so much for your honest opinion about the Ektorp sofa. I’m redoing my living room into a beach cottage motif and came across that sofa when looking for white slipcovers for our existing couch. Unfortunately, the slipcover I bought didn’t fit our ginormous sofa so I’m sending it back. I guess I’ll have to break down and buy the Ektorp (le sigh). I’m assuming that the base is sold separately from the covers…is this right? Or does each base come with a color and you pick which one you want? Our nearest IKEA is 3 hours away (this might be a GOOD thing for our bank account) and I’d hate to get up there and find out they are sold out. I’ll probably get two white covers just to have an extra. No kids but I have a very messy husband and two black labs – all of whom will be banned from my new living room. Knowing me I’ll probably drop wine or chocolate on it the first night it’s up. :)

  39. Amit says

    Why are people putting these in the wash?
    It says dryclean only

    Care instructions
    Removable cover
    Do not wash.
    Do not bleach.
    Do not tumble dry.
    Iron, low temparature.
    Iron on reverse side.
    Dryclean, normal cycle.

  40. Tins says

    I have been driving myself insane! So, please help me stop the insanity…we have built a “craft shed” outside the house..It’s all mine and I need a chair where I can crochet and decipher patterns, I need it to be comfortable! We live in Florida and I have been reading every single review on every chair made to man. I was looking at the Bradley on Home Decorators (div of Home Depot bonded leather red color everyone aid comfortable. And, then I stumbled upon your blog. There’s an IKEA about an hour from here. I was thinking about a red slipcover but, I’m afraid to get into that “clean it every week” pattern, I want to keep it simple. Opinion? best comfy chair is the IKEA?
    Thans!!

    • says

      Tins, I’m confident the reason ours needs so much cleaning is because it’s white (and I have four kids and a dog. I think I would be washing our slipcovers quarterly (if even that often!) if they were tan or blue or red.

      I like my Ektorp armchair just fine–especially with a big pillow–but I wouldn’t say it’s the comfiest I’ve ever sat in. But it looks great with the couch and you can’t beat the price….

      Good luck! Your craft shed sounds delightful.

      • Tins says

        Hiya Anne…
        We went to Ikea and I decided on the denim slipcover…goes great with the indoor outdoor rug I got…my husband and I only had one “disagreement” putting the chair together…You are right…not the most comfortable…maybe I will break it in…on the hunt now for a desk…I don’t know about Ikea with the 5000 pieces it will come in!
        The shed is certainly shaping up!
        Tina

  41. Annamary says

    I have had my Ektorp for almost 12 years. I got it when my kids were 4 and 1. I also bought two extra slip cover sets from “as is” that first year. It was the sanest choice I’ve ever made. The first month we had it, both kids got the flu. I washed the hell out of them in rotation and never looked back. I loved the ability to change the whole look of the room with a different color, too (we have covers in butter yellow, red, and grass green). Alas, the couch is looking pretty saggy and the red covers are becoming threadbare. It’s time for a new sofa and it’ll be another Ektorp.

  42. Thirkellgirl says

    I’ve had an Ektorp loveseat for three years in our tiny living room, and an Ektorp loveseat-with-chaise for a year now, both with Blekinge white covers, as well as an ottoman for each, and I have washed them once a year. I hit them with a lint roller every other week (I’d do it every week, but there’s no lint or even dust to pick up). We love them. They’re very comfortable, equivalent to our previous custom Basset denim sofa, and I’ve got an extra set of blue and white stripe covers for the sofa/chaise that I got for $49 because they were on clearance at my Ikea. I cannot IMAGINE washing them and wrestling them back on weekly, even monthly, and fortunately, it’s not necessary for us. No shoes in our house… maybe that makes the difference?

  43. Anne says

    We don’t do shoes in our house either, but I love washing them for the fresh smell and look. I have had mine since August, and have washed three times. Once for cat barf (yuck), once for a spilled cup of coffee, and once just because I wanted to. Honestly, it takes my husband and I literally 5 minutes to recover the entire thing. I have a big front loader, so I can fit all six cushions in one load and the base in one load. I wash on cool, with Oxy and detergent (and fabric softener…yum). I tumble on low for 15 minutes only. They are dry in a couple of hours on the furniture, and I just keep my kitties off them until they are dry by bribing them with a heating blanket in the den. :-)

  44. says

    I have the white ikea ektorp. I have never had a problem with getting on. However, I don’t put it in the dryer. I let it air dry. Putting it back on is quite easy, when you don’t let it shrink in the dryer. However, ironing it is what gets me. I hate wrinkles so I painstakingly iron it every time I wash it.

  45. Anne says

    Mine has never shrunk Ashley. And, by drying on LOW for just 10-15 minutes, it gets all the wrinkles OUT. I’ve never touched mine with an iron since I originally put the slipcovers on. And I swear they have not shrunk a bit.

    • says

      Once I thought I shrunk my slipcover base because I accidentally dried it thoroughly (instead of 75% like I usually do) and it would not stretch to fit on my sofa. But I dampened it again and it stretched beautifully. Phew!

      • Ashley says

        When they are brand new or never put in the dryer, they are easy to put on totally bone dry. But once you put it in the dryer or wash it on warm or hot, it is no longer easy to put on unless you put it on damp. It also may vary a bit from cover to cover, as they are hand sewn.

  46. Lori says

    I have owned Ektorp sofas for years — first the sofa and an armchair in 2001, then the sectional w/sofa bed (they don’t make this version anymore!) in 2008. Got another armchair and a Bromma ottoman I repurposed into a rocker for my little girl’s room (yay for upholsterers!) in 2009, and finally, in 2013, a sofa bed in our office cum guest quarters when my mom comes to visit. I have owned pretty much EVERY color of this sofa between slipcover purchases — so far, the cordoroy-esque ones have held up the best. I’ve never washed a cover, though I did dye the chair for my daughter’s room (Dharma Trading for dyes). That being said, I feel the “bones” of this sofa are great, so purchasing slipcovers doesn’t faze me. Even purchasing one or two (or three!) slipcovers is cheaper than a Pottery Barn sofa that has the same look but no slipcover options. I cannot recommend this sofa enough — you’ll love it!

    I will say the cushions can be irritating after a while — we’ve had our sectional for five years and the sagging was beginning to get noticeable. However, I just whipped out the back cushions from their slipcovers, sliced the covering open and fluffed the stuffing, adding some polyfill batting to plump the corners, and we’re back in business! :D

  47. Anne says

    Quick question. As much as I simply adore my sofa, I do have the sofa/chaise combo. Does anyone else have it, and notice the foot part sort of tips up at the end, so when you are sitting back on that seat, it almost feels like your legs are a little elevated. It’s not a huge deal, but it does bug me a little. I’ve looked to make sure I have it assembled correctly, and have moved the chaise part around, but it’s always the same; just a little tipped back.

  48. Rosie Quigley says

    A to the men! Oh how I wish this post was available when I bought my white Ektorp sectional. I have a 2.5 year old and 9 month old so no matter how hard we try, we will always have little stains and handprints on the sofa. Also, having a 2.5 and 9 month old, I don’t have time to wash the slipcovers weekly. I am heading to the nearest ikea in a couple of weeks and am going to pick up another slipcover in another color. My question is, is the gray dark enough to hide said stains and handprints? I’m looking at the browns and grey. I want to keep the color as light as possible while still being able to hide the stains.

  49. Mandy says

    I was just wondering, now that it is almost a year in, how is the couch holding up? We are debating between the Ikea and Pottery Barn white slip-covered couches. The Ikea version is such a savings, but with delivery added on it will run me about $750. I think one big savings will be when I need to replace the slip-covers. However, although I like to save money, I do want something that will wear well. Do you have an update on how you are liking your couch?

  50. tracy says

    HELP! I have the ektorp, but the slipcover doesn’t cover the back. I have tried washing and leaving it wet to stretch it on the back but it barely gets over the back to cover the bottom of the inner sofa. I have an ever-present strip of white on the bottom of the sofa! What have I done wrong… Should I forbid anyone from sitting on it?!

  51. Sellie says

    Mandy, I think the great thing about the Ektorp is Ikea has a 10 year warranty on it. When we first bought our house, we purchased the Pottery Barn Basic sofa which is identical to the Ektorp….except there is no warranty. About 6 months after we had it, the middle section on the front(where the back of your legs would hit)kept sliding down. I would try to fix it and push it back up but it kept happening till there was no more fixing and now i am stuck with $2000+ regret. i stapled foam to the middle section to mask the “dip” but it’s still aggravating. Also, the ektorp slipcovers fit the pottery barn basic sofa we have.

  52. Lina says

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. We just purchased a home and I have been wanting to purchase a white couch to brighten up my living room, which is another entertainment room for us. Done with dark couches as it makes the whole space feel dark and depressing IMHO. LOL

    I have a question regarding the depth of the couch. It says its 34 inches in depth. Is that pretty comfortable to sit on? Is there enough leg room?

    Appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance!

    • says

      We have tall family members (well over six feet) and everyone seems to like it and find the leg room acceptable. Hope that helps!

  53. Jason S says

    Frames – are they covered under the 10 year warranty? I don’t mind washing slip covers or even buying new ones. But I am 6’1″ 230lbs and want to make sure if the frame breaks it is covered. Also, does anyone have the Rutna slip covers? Any durability issues with these covers? Thanks

  54. jenn says

    I have a white 3-seater Ektorp since 5 years and its been great. we also have 2 leather sofas in the family room bought in Ikea in Germany back in 1991 and they still go strong after 3 kids and many visitors (I sometimes wish they would fall apart so I could buy new ones but they still look so good that I have no excuse to get rid of them!). Funnily enough the frame broke in the first month (Ikea came and repaired it) but then no more problems for over 20 years!

  55. Joan. says

    Just a tip…they have these things called dining room tables. You could eat and drink at that and it would save you a lot of time having to wash food out of the sofa. They even sell them at IKEA!

  56. holly says

    There are a number of very reasonable firms that make slipcovers for the Ektorp sofas. I used BEMZ which is european and they had a fabulous selection, it fit perfectly on my discontinued 2 seater Ektorp sleeper sofa and was cheaper than the IKEA options, with better furniture. Mine is in a more “formal” apartment but the wild patterns they have would be ideal for a kids room or more modern setting

  57. susan says

    When I washed my white ikea slipcovers they came out with yellowish stains all over the seat, it seems to be in the areas that were most soiled. Has this happened to anyone else? I know the ikea website says no bleach but wondering if I should try it – nothing to lose as I will need to buy a new one if these stains don’t come out. I did not try oxyclean when they were washed, just regular detergent. Maybe I should try that first? Any thoughts?

    • Krista says

      I use a bleach pen on the stains before I put it in to wash and use a small amount of bleach with the wash and have no problems. Stains magically disappear!

    • says

      If it were me, I would definitely try the OxyClean. You don’t have anything to lose! I also bleach mine, which is certainly worth a try if the alternative is buying a new one.

  58. says

    I have two white Ektorp chairs and love them. With teens/tween ages 16, 14 and 12, our living room is a TV (and unfortunately snacking) room. My covers need a wash every month or so. I use a bleach pen on any spots and a little bleach in with the wash and they come out beautifully. I put them in the dryer for exactly 8 minutes on low and put them on the chairs and cushions still really damp which is so much easier than when they’re dry and don’t stretch. As the covers dry it’s easy to smooth out any wrinkles and get the pleats to lay flat.

  59. Nicole says

    I have 4, yes 4 ektorp sofas with white covers. Only one gets regular use and I agree it is a pain to wash. I loved the price, but mostly not having to worry about buying a new sofa everytime trends change. You know all the people that bought those tapestry look sofas.., not they are out of luck. I can buy a new slipcover or add different pillows if I want to change the look.

  60. Kris Smith says

    I wanna thank everyone for their ektorp experiences; most helpful. I just scored my first Ikea (ektorp) piece today from Craigslist. The white slip cover and cushions were in bad need of a good washing. I used Oxyclean, Tide, a bit of bleach and Downy softener. Although they look a 100% better, they still have some stains. Ikea sells slip cover replacements for $50, but do they also sell the back & seat cushion covers? I’ve checked out Bemz (they have an awesome selection and seem to use quality fabrics), but sheesh, they cost more than the sofa brand new!

    • Paula says

      Try our http://www.soferia.com. They also have a wide range of covers. Before getting my new covers I ordered some samples from them and other sites. Soferia won by a mile with their quality. I’ve been using those covers for over a year now and they still look as new.

  61. Kate says

    I have a question about the shade of white…does it match other white? We’re buying a white Willow sleeper sofa from C&B for our lake house and would like to go cheap and buy an Ektorp loveseat in white as well…is the white ACTUALLY white or is it like more Ikea white and kind of off?

    Thanks!!

    • Anne says

      I would call it a creamy white. It’s not crisp, stark white, but it’s not off-white. It has warmer undertones that a cooler, crisp white. Does that make any sense at all? LOL. I LOVE my sectional more than I can express.

  62. Ann Marie says

    While we were in looking at the loveseat with a chaise lounge, the salesman at IKEA recommended to buy an extra cover to keep as a back up. We lucked out and bought two beige covers for $19.99 ea that were being discontinued. My daughter also picked up a floral cover for $5.00, so I can change up the decor with the seasons. IKEA also brings new styles in about every six months according to the salesman. I love the idea that as trends change you can change the cover to update your sofa. How many of us has had a sofa that was still in good shape, but the pattern or color has gone out of style.

  63. Juliet says

    I bought my Ektorp sofas in 2002 or 2003 and they still are going strong. I had white covers for 5 years with two boys and they were fine. We went beige in 2007, and I’m going back white. The back cushions need help so we are refilling but they have taken the abuse of four children and out lasted my first marriage!

    • Peg Dunn says

      I bought my Ikea Ektorp full 3-cushion sofa in 2002 because of it’s small footprint (new house, old couch way too big!). At the time I bought two slipcovers, one tan and one off-white damask. I still use both! Stains have always come out of both. Since they are 100% cotton, they wrinkle when washed, and I sometime have to steam them a bit when I first put a clean one on. A few years ago my daughter bought a red corduroy cover from Ikea. They still carry many different covers for this sofa (just looked yesterday and the white one was on sale for only $50). We change the covers seasonally for different seasons, although the tan one stays on the longest. My cats have clawed the arms some, but we don’t care that much. Some family members have loved mine so much that three of them have bought the same sofa!!!

      However – we do have one problem with some of the covers; the bottom cushions slide forward and we have to get up, lift the back cushions up and push the bottom cushions back into place. The main cover has a velcro strip along the back to keep this from happening, but it doesn’t really connect well to the seat cushion bottom. The red corduroy is the only cover we don’t have that problem with. I have found no similar comments in this and would be interested to find out if anyone has this problem and how they solved it.

  64. Lisa says

    Okay, I reeeeaalllly hope someone can help me! I just bought the 2 Seater Ektorp Sofa Bed of Craigs List. Just what I wanted etc. However I live far away from the purchase place so daughter and her BF brought it over in his truck. I think he may have pushed too hard when putting in the small truck bed, and when they got here the are was broken! We looked at You Tube, Google and Ikea to try and find how it was put together but there isn’t one anywhere that looks like ours. So maybe it’s older, I don’t know. But it looks like the only way to even see if it’s fixable is to take all the staples out of the white this fabric that is covering it. I don’t quite get this because I don’t understand then how it was put together? Has anyone else had problems with the arm breaking? Thanks!

  65. Michele says

    Im currently shopping for a new sofa as well. I like the fact that the Ektorp has a free 10 yr warranty. Also, I like having the option to change slip covers. Maybe, white in the summer… red in the holidays…? I have no children, but we do have a bichon puppy. So, not sure if white is the right choice though. Im sute leaning towards purchasing, the classic style looks great, and the price is just right! (I shop at the Houston, Tx location.)

  66. Jodi says

    I just had to comment on this. I have an Ektorp sofa, have had it for 2 years and the slip covers look like brand new. I think I might have washed them 3 times simply to freshen it all up. It’s called Scotchguard people. You can get this stuff by the can but spend a little more first up & get it professionally scotchguarded & your sofa will have hardly any maintenance. Red wine? No prob, it just beads & rolls right off. The most I have to do is lift and vac under the cushions to get all the crumbs, & yes I eat on the couch all the time.

  67. says

    This is the thread that never ends, and I’m super happy about this as it helped me pull the trigger on getting an Ektorp. You see, I’m a total princess and do ridiculous things like pay high dollar for quality merch. This tendency + a cat that gets urinary infections and pees on things brought me to a crossroads in my life. I had to mourn for 3 whole days after my giant leather Lancaster sofa from Restoration hardware, plus 2 similar quality leather recliners had to be taken to the dump due to cat pee. I won’t sidetrack this thread on cat-pee issues, but suffice it to say I had to rethink my existence. I too am all about simplicity and not spending one iota of time more on something than needed. I have nothing decorative! Everything is functional. I’m about the crossroads of function and art. SO – we have lived with no couches/seating for several months now. I was going nuts. Family time screeched to a halt as there was no place to sit! I had a couch epiphany. What if I could get something washable where I could put plastic under the cover. . .

    After pricing things out at Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn I ended up checking out Ikea. Sectioinal about 5K cheaper including shipping. I bought it. I had to take a red-stripe cover as it was the only one in stock on 15% off Ektorp day, but I figure I’ll buy another one anyways.

    So, I was thinking of wrapping the cushions in saran wrap before putting the covers on. . anybody with experience with this? Are those cushions something you can wash cat pee out of?

    We have made some headway on catpee fixing, but there is always the next bout to think about. . .which is why I can’t bring myself to plop down any more $ on Leather.

  68. Deb says

    I bought 2 sets of the white slipcovers since they are just $50. I can change them and not worry about washing them right away. Also helps if I just need to replace one cushion due to a spill.

  69. Suzanne Stokes says

    Hello, I am a huge Ektorp fan!! My college aged sons say it is the best sleeping couch ever. So that is a huge plus as well. I have always had gray covers but since we are building our new home “modern farm house” I am considering going White instead. I see that Ikea has two whites to choose from. Which one is the favorite?

  70. Christine says

    I have an IKEA Karlstad sofa in Blekinge white — the same basic white the Ektorp comes in. However, washing all of the pieces of the slipcover requires either turning the sofa upside down or maybe even disassembling it (I can’t remember which). I live alone, so neither is possible.

    I decided to wrap each of the cushions and the side pieces in an IKEA Polarvide white fleece. Since the Karlstad model (unlike the Ektorp) doesn’t have a skirt, I can just line up the edge of the fleece with the edge of the side piece. I also covered the front of the sofa (under the bottom cushions) with a fleece, again lining up the edge of the fleece with the edge of the sofa. It actually looks pretty tailored.

    I wash the fleeces that serve as the cushion covers every 1-2 months, and I wash the ones from the side/bottom pieces once every 4 months or so. I’m amazed at how dirty they can get — I can’t imagine taking off all of the slipcover pieces and washing them once a week!

    I probably wouldn’t have considered a white sofa otherwise, but IKEA doesn’t make a Karlstad slipcover in navy blue (I’m envious of the Jonsoda blue that’s now available for the Ektorp)… and shortly before I got the sofa, I got a white cat.

  71. says

    Based on the comments, I’m going with Ektorp white. No kids, no pets, I’m the only clumsy one so I won’t then eat on the couch. Thanks all.

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