Spring Cleaning a Slipcovered Ikea Sofa: Try This at Home!

1 Materials
$0
20 Minutes
Easy

Now that Spring has sprung, it's time for a little spring cleaning! Upholstered couches are great, but washable slipcovers are even better! Each spring we like to get a fresh start by starting with our sofa and switching up our decor. Our Ikea Karlstad couch is white, so it shows every speck of dirt, and was in dire need of cleaning. However the washing instructions say not to put the slipcover the dryer, so we'd be without it for the full day it takes to dry. What happens when the cover is in the wash and you don't have a spare in the interim?The solution? A full-sized (double) fitted bed sheet, the kind with the elasticized corners like the retro one shown below. We just happened to have it in our linen closet and it fits perfectly in a pinch while the slipcover dries!
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
In hindsight, another colour sofa might get more mileage between cleanings but I love the fresh look of white. For that reason, I don't think it's a hardship for the sofa to look like this for a day while we launder our one and only slipcover:
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
Our interim solution allows us to continue to use our sofa while the cover is air drying - and it's a great repurpose of a full-fitted sheet!We only removed the seat and back cushion covers - to remove the back and armrests would have meant we'd have to take the entire couch apart to get it all off. Since it was in good shape, we found that a good vacuum with a special upholstery attachment was all it needed to freshen it up again.
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
The upholstery attachment has a nubby strip that catches all the dust and lint so it's definitely worthwhile to invest in one:
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
We vacuumed not only the parts we left out of the wash, but also the fabric on the seat cushions and back to get as much dust off before washing. Since they can't go into the dryer, if you don't remove the dust first, most of it will still be there when it comes out of the wash.
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
I removed the seat and back cushions so I could vacuum underneath them and in all the crevices along the back and sides. Once everything was vacuumed, we unzipped all the cushions and stripped off the slipcovers.
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
Then we put all the bare cushions back on the sofa and threw on the fitted sheet. I was surprised that it fit so well in both the width and length and there was still plenty of extra to tuck it all in!
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
If we had gone to the extent of taking apart the couch to wash everything, I would've added in a few regular pillows with matching pillow cases to protect the ends of the sofa while the cover is in the wash, as shown below:
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
Once the sofa covers came out of the wash, we had to get creative finding a place to dry them. We used the shower rod in one of our bathrooms and a clothing rack to drape them as they dried. Even if they could be machine dried, air drying is a much more sustainable option and saves $$'s too, so it's a win-win!
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
After they're dry, the slipcovers will be quite wrinkled so should be ironed. I used a steam iron on the cotton setting and pressed them on the wrong side. Even after vacuuming, there's still going to be some lint! To finish them off, I went over each one on the right side with a lint roller to get off all remaining traces of lint.
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
At this point you can take off the temporary floral sheet, put the slipcovers back on the couch and your spring cleaning is done! The floral sheet is great for spring cleaning purposes, but if you have a white Karlstad couch like us, you could even consider using a solid white fitted sheet as a slipcover for everyday use and then whip it off for company. We picked one up at Ikea (Somntuta) and find that using a fitted sheet on a daily basis gives the Karlstad slipcover even more mileage between washings!
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
To de-winterize our look, we switched out the artwork and accessories and plumped out the sofa with some seasonal pillows; now we feel ready for the spring and summer season ahead :)
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
If this project has inspired you to tackle some spring cleaning around your home, please pin and share!
spring cleaning a slipcovered ikea sofa try this at home
We've used Ikea pieces in other areas of our home, but we have more fun when we hack them. In the kitchen, for instance, we took an  Ikea Stenstorp Kitchen Cart and added in removable drawers (in case we ever wanted to convert it back).

At Birdz of a Feather, we're feathering the nest... one room at a time. Follow our blog here on Hometalk and/or on our own site (link below) if you're interested in seeing other DIY projects and hacks, in and around the home. You can also follow us on:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/BirdzFB
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Suggested materials:

  • Retro full fitted sheet  (Had on hand)
  • Lint remover  (Had on hand)
Birdz of a Feather

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 11 questions
  • Tbu26554551
    on Sep 3, 2018

    Where can I find an upholstery attachment

  • Debbie Rose
    on Sep 3, 2018

    I am completely confused. It sounds like you used 1 fitted sheet (what size?) to cover both seat cushions and both back cushions. How did you get the fitted ends to match up with the ends of the cushions? How or what did you do the take care of the excess material? How did you get it to look so streamlined?

    • Bonnie Jackson
      on Sep 11, 2018

      She did mention it was a full size sheet she fitted the corners on the back cushions on the outside corners and then started tucking, she tucked between the center of the back cushions and tucked down the center of the seat cushions and fitted the fitted corners of the sheets on the seat cushions at the outside corners of the seat cushions,.... so it's tucking and putting the fitted sheet corners on the outside corners of the sofa cushions.......GREAT IDEA!

      I have a much larger sofa, I will be using a king size sheet.

  • Debbie Rose
    on Sep 4, 2018

    I truly appreciate the attempt to explain it, but I am still confused. Would it be possible for you to video the steps? Thank you.

    • Birdz of a Feather
      on Sep 5, 2018

      Sorry that there isn't a video Debbie. I think that if you try it with a sheet on your own couch, it will start to make sense. Treat the sheet like it's a slipcover and tuck in the excess. Give it a shot :)

Join the conversation

3 of 138 comments
  • Alison Bulick Gilroy
    on Sep 10, 2018

    That is very clever! My mom always bought flat sheets ( usually on clearance) to use as shower curtains and sometimes extra for matching bathroom curtains. Her theory was they are durable, pretty and machine washable! But you could do that in your family or living room! Wherever the couch lives! New couch and mew matching curtains!

  • Lovesunique
    on Sep 26, 2018

    I bought a sofa cover in gingham check, but the sofa cushions never looked right underneath. So I bought a checked tablecloth and I put that on top of the cushions tucked in. The tablecloth comes off more often (obviously because we are sitting on the cushions) than the sofa cover and is easy to wash and dry. The sofa cover is washable and dryable (either in the dryer or on the line depending on the weather). I even found matching bed pillow shams in the gingham check and use those as accent pillows. When you have cats you are constantly washing covers!

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