Many people wonder how it is possible to live with white slipcovers when we have a dog and 4 children. We have had the same white cotton slipcovers for 6 years and I have developed tried and true methods and discovered the best products to keep our white slipcovers white. Today I’m going to share it all with you!
As I mentioned, these slipcovers are 6 years old. We bought them from Ikea for our Ikea Ektorp sofa and loveseat when we bought our home. They are 100% Cotton Duck fabric.
Throughout all this time I’ve been able to remove almost every type of stain you can imagine! Of course we have rules that no food is allowed in the living room, but sometimes the kids (or parents haha) do it anyways. So, chocolate, spaghetti sauce and ketchup, mustard, soda… you name it… its been spilled on our slipcovers. Additionally, marker or pen marks has happened, blood, and plenty of dirt from muddy dog prints. Ive been able to remove all of those stains.
Affiliate links are used in this post.
The Products I Use
I have tried almost every laundry stain remover out there for pre-treating stains and have been the happiest with Clorox2 for Colors Stain Remover in the Free & Clear option. I also use this to spot-clean in between washings.
If you remember, I also use Clorox2 Stain Remover in a diluted form, to clean upholstery, as I explained in this post.
The other product I add to the drum of the washing machine is OxiClean White Revive.
The Clorox2 Stain Remover has hydrogen peroxide in it, so if you leave it to dry on the fabric it WILL lighten colored fabrics. But for white fabrics, it actually is a huge benefit. When the product dries on the stain, it acts like a gentle bleach– lightening without damaging the integrity of the fabric like straight-up bleach will.
Here is an example of some light soiling one one couch cushion.
Whenever I notice an abnormal stain (like chocolate syrup), something that is especially dark or worrisome, I treat it immediately. Otherwise I cover it with a pillow or throw blanket until it’s time to wash the entire couch (once a month usually).
When it’s wash day, an essential part of keeping white slipcovers clean is to pre-treat stains. This is the most important tip I can give you. Many times, stains will get “set in” when you just throw them in the wash if they aren’t pre-treated.
Get a clean empty spray bottle and fill it with the undiluted Clorox2 Stain Remover. I usually first remove the cover before pre-treating stains but it is easier to see and demonstrate for these pictures when it’s still on the cushion. Then spray the dirty areas and put extra on any darker stains.
After scrubbing the stain remover into the fabric with a nylon brush (to work the product into the fibers), let the product sit on the slipcover between 30 minutes and 2 hours (sometimes longer).
Washing the Slipcovers
Once the slipcovers are loaded into the washing machine, add the OxiClean to the drum, put Tide with Bleach Alternative to the dispenser, and select the “whites” option for cleaning.
The “whites” option takes the longest and it uses the hottest water. When stains have been pre-treated and the fabric is already wet, the heat loosens the fibers and allows the stain to release easier. Together with the other detergent products, most of the time they come out very white. Occasionally, if I see a stain is still there, I spray it again with Clorox2 Stain Remover and let it sit an additional 30 minutes or so, and wash it again.
I always hang dry my slipcovers. The dryer tends to shrink covers covers a bit (from what I’ve read) and I know I would forget to pull them out early. Hang-drying ensures they won’t shrink, but it also allows you to put them out in the sun (if there is a dirtier area and you don’t want to wash the covers twice). Sun exposure does a wonderful job of gently bleaching fabrics.
However, since my husband has severe allergies, outside drying would cause pollen to stick to the covers and exacerbate his allergies. So, we hang dry in the basement and within a few hours they are dry enough to put back on the couch. Slightly damp is the best for putting covers back on the frame, since it has a bit of stretch still, and its a tight fit. I can also smooth out any wrinkles when they are put on slightly damp.
And here they are! The white slipcovers are fresh, clean, free from allergens (which is one of the huge reasons we chose them), and they look so pretty!
I realize white or light colored slipcovers aren’t for everyone, but we love that we can take them off and wash them whenever we need. I talked more about why I love my white slipcovers in this post.
I added a few pillows to our bench since January, but still sticking with the green and blue theme. It still makes me smile so I figured why change it just yet?
I picked a few branches from our trees to add some life to the room– another thing making me smile during these strange and unprecedented time in the world.
Here is an angle I don’t often show. A bit of real life is the dog bell hanging from the back door. 😉
If you notice, no we didn’t get a fancy Frame TV, I just got on YouTube and searched “screensaver Ireland” and all these beautiful images started circulating, which makes for prettier photos, don’t you agree?
I hope you enjoyed this post sharing how I clean white slipcovers, and a little tour around our living room.
Full source list below:
(Affiliate links used)
Couches: Ikea Ekorp Sofa and Loveseat
Coffee Table: DIY
Wood Arm Chairs: Overstock
Area Rug: Wayfair
Sconce Lights: Amazon
Floor Lamp: Ikea
Watercolor painting: Minted
Bookcase Styling Objects: