A dissenting opinion on the Ikea Ektorp sofa.

A dissenting opinion on 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. 

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216 comments

  1. Lucille says:

    I decided I wanted white slipcovers, but don’t have an Ektorp. I bought the Ektorp covers anyway because they are so inexpensive. My sofa and loveseat are slightly smaller than the Ektorp dimensions, this worked out very well because the cover was easy to put on and I don’t have to worry so much about shrinking fabric. For my large chair, I bought both the chair and the loveseat Ektorp covers, the chair cushions fit but I needed the larger loveseat base piece. Careful tucking made the chair look good.
    I put a lot of pillows on everything to help discourage the dogs from jumping up(and they are brightly colored and beautiful). I do not anticipate having to wash more than maybe once a month.

  2. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I too have read many great posts about this couch and since we are closing escrow on our home tomorrow I have been online picking out what we will need. I have 5 kids and we have a leather sectional from Haverty’s that hides stains but with the cushions non-removable getting every spot clean is difficult! I love all things bright and white and thought maybe I could do this white couch thing after all. Thank you for your honesty. I have to do laundry every single day as it is with 7 people and cloth diapers so adding another load of covers each week is something I need to really consider. I may just stick with the leather.

    Thanks again!
    Ashley

  3. Whitney says:

    I plan to use this couch in a living room with some throw blankets and beautiful pillows. We have little kids but we have another family room and a finished basement so I’m planning on it really being a no kid room. Do you think this couch would hold up better? I don’t wanna be washing it every week and I wanted this couch in white. Thanks for any input

  4. Anna says:

    I am SO glad I stumbled upon this review! I’m on the hunt for a new couch, and blog after blog (in addition to friend after friend) raves about the Ikea Ektorp couch! I’m not usually a huge Ikea fan- I love it for certain things, but generally find that their peices don’t last and aren’t necessarily meant to- and I have been very skeptical about the idea of purchasing a couch there. But the idea of a washable white couch, which looks so much like one from PB but at a fraction of the price? Seemed like a good idea! Sadly, it is really challenging to figure out where to buy furniture… Even “higher end” stores seem to sell a lot of less than quality furniture. Anyway, I digress. It was nice to see an alternative perspective on the Ektorp to help me decide if it’s really for me 🙂

  5. Summer says:

    Hi! I DESPERATELY want the Ektorp (in charcoal I hope! ) but my ONLY delimma is GETTING IT HOME. I, too, live 120 miles away (like almost exactly. Weird, right?) from the closest Ikea store. And if the measurements of the box are correct, there is NO WAY that box will fit in ANY kind of minivan, SUV or any other “mom” car. Should I RENT a small u haul?! That’s going to cut into my IKEA shopping budget.
    So! That’s what I need help with: GETTING THE SOFA TO MY HOME!!

    HAAAALLLLP!!!

    Please?

  6. Nancy B. says:

    I’m so excited about finding this post. I’m a devoted follower of MMD, but missed this one and just found it through Google while dreaming of an Ektorp and wondering if it was comfortable. We’re headed over to IKEA (far away) on Monday to check them out!!

    I’m glad the slipcovers wash as well as they do. We have a dirty lifestyle as well.

  7. Ros says:

    I read this post before we bought our Ektorp, and we’ve now had it for a few months, so: perspective: we have cats, a baby, and are planning another baby. The slipcover was actually a HUGE selling point for us – I was so tired of trying to scrub baby puke off my couch cushions. We needed a couch that would last us to when our kids are of an age to not wrech the couch with bodily fluids and spilled bottles. The cat sheds, but a lint brush will pick up most of that (and clothing lint, and etc) without actually washing everything.

    I think this is a couch for a certain stage of life… the stage where you kind of assume that leaked diapers and puke are a fact of life, and don’t buy ‘investment’ furniture but instead buy what can be maintained to a reasonable degree of aesthetics and sanitation until you get through that phase. A slipcovered and washable couch fits the bill. One that is cheap and comfortable is a WIN.

    It’s not my dream couch, but it definitely is the one that suits our family’s needs for the next 7-10 years. After that, we can consider investment furniture.

  8. Pati Tedeschi says:

    does anyone know why Ikea has stopped stocking the “white” slipcovers? I went to order replacements for my Ektorp sofa and corner sectional and to my dismay, they are not only out of stock but not replacing them…and it appears they are out of stock over the country!!! (beige as well)…I have been a white couch enthusiast for over 10 yrs….I am having heart palpitations thinking this is the end of an era!!! someone must have some inside info…lol! (how am I going to make my covers last now! I fear I took them for granted….say it aint so! (and by the way, I will not spend more on slipcovers than I did for the actual couch!)…stumbled upon your blog while searching for info on covers, great blog!

  9. Beene says:

    my oh my… lots of posts… I guess I would like to politely offer a different perspective… that of a bachelor. I am a bit of an expert as I put these ektorp sofas in my house and in 2 rental properties I have. I have a total of 6 of these over many years. I LOVE THEM. you can alos pick them up on craigslist all the time. the new covers are only 50 bucks… so I replace them once a year. I also don’t wash them weekly wow…. your houses must be cleaner than mine. I use the Oxi products a bit of dish washing detergent and some tide. I spot brush the stains/spots. and these darn things look perfect. I didn’t think it wa s too much of a pain, but Im not doing it weekly. did I say I love these. I have blue/white/and grey. after a while of washing, the colored ones look a bit ‘overwashed’ but those white denim ones are great. yes they get a bit I need of ‘fluffing’ after a couple of years, but for the price….. love them. they also fit into tight places well, if you have a challenging ‘fit ‘ with doors. I gush enough…. love them. but again I don’t have cats and I don’t wash them weekly. Wow. I barely wash me weekly.

  10. Carrie H says:

    it’s a shame that the only white options they have now are polyester. The blekinge are 100% cotton.

    I actually have a complete set (sofa, loveseat, and 2 armchairs) of blekinge covers, still new and wrapped in their packages that I don’t need as we switched to gray. I have no idea what to do with them.

    Should I sell them on eBay? Craigslist? Is there another site that is better?

  11. tamar says:

    I am moving in about a week to a new apartment. I bought the ekotrop 3 seater about a year and a half ago in brown. I use the sofa very often as I study on it allot the slip cover is faded and has cotton pilled so for my new apartment I want to get a new slip cover any recommendation of color or material that is low maintenance and last longer?

  12. Bobette says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to hear that you’re happy with the couch and that it cleans up well. The tips are very useful and appreciated. I’ll have to try that detergent. As a matter-of-fact, I have it in my Amazon cart.

    I’m thinking about buying this couch set. I’m remodeling a room, and I want it to look light and bright with white woodwork and pale gray walls. The white couch would look fantastic with the design I have in mind, but my husband would likely kill me if I bought white.

    In 2010, we’d bought the Friday slip-covered couch from JcPenney, which was a disaster for many reasons. And I couldn’t get more slip covers for it as they were discontinued. I had to make due with very pale butter-colored slipcovers, and they were a nightmare to keep clean. This is mainly, because I have a couch-loving Saint Bernard. So I don’t know if I could do white. The slipcovers on the Friday couch were also difficult to put on and remove and never looked the same after the initial wash. So we’re somewhat reluctant to try a slip-covered couch again.

    We recently bought a leather pit for our rec room, and that seems to work better with giant dogs. All I have to do is vacuum the hair away and wipe it down, and it’s as good as new. I like the look of the Ektorp couch much better though.

    Thanks again and best wishes.

  13. Jaime says:

    I had one when I lived in England. The cover would shrink and wrinkle and if you ever had the opportunity to see the inside it is cheaply made. Is good for single in a NYC walk up. It’s light weight because it’s made from cheap pine.

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