IKEA Ektorp Slipcovers – A Rant

The furniture in our living room is nearly all from IKEA.  It’s affordable and sturdy and has worked out really well for us.

When we first bought the couch, I chose this slipcover…

Wow.  That’s a lot of flowers.  I like the print, but I soon realized that I didn’t love sooooo much of it in one place!

Now I have white slipcovers.

Which I love.

Even with 4 kids and 2 dogs.


It’s about time to replace the current cover.  One of the reasons I’ve been so happy with this couch and the white covers is that a replacement is $50.  Not bad!  So far, I’ve needed to replace it every 12 – 18 months.  The piping around the cushion covers shows the most wear.  It starts to discolor and won’t bleach white again.

Do you have tissues nearby?  Because here is where my story gets sad…

 A couple of months ago I picked up a new, white (Blekinge White) cover.   When I started to unpack it at home, I noticed that it wasn’t bright white.  It was yellowish – kind of dirty looking.

Returned it, bought another.  (If you’ve been to IKEA, you know that the lighting in the help-yourself area is not the best.  I shuffled through the boxes of slipcovers to try to find the brightest one.)  Once I got it outside, I realized it was the same off-white as the last.  ugh!  I went back into the store and returned it.

I figured the store got a bad dye-lot, so I ordered one online.  SAME OFF-WHITE COLOR!!!!!!  Are you kidding me???

I finally made a trip back to the store and actually talked to someone in the sofa department.

 That’s a bad thing about IKEA – if you call the store, they can’t connect you to a department.  And calling IKEA customer service wasn’t helpful (in this case) either. Oh – and way back at slipcover #1, I e-mailed IKEA customer service to ask if they changed the color.  No reply. Not surprised.  grrr…

 Lo and behold, the Ektorp sofa on display with a Blekinge White slipcover was the off-white cover that I have become so familiar with.  booo!     The girl working in the show room confirmed that the covers are now off-white.  (I’m almost 90% sure that she wasn’t just acting as though she knew what she was talking about, and that she had in fact noticed that it had changed from white to off-white, and was possibly even informed of the fact.)

I am really not sure what to do next.  Buy another and use it as-is? Buy another and try to bleach it white?  Try a completely different color???  Try to make one myself? (scared!)

Oh, the dilemma.  Curse you, IKEA!  (kidding. sort of.)


  1. My vote is to make one yourself! You, of all people, shouldn’t be scared of a new project. And if you still have cover #1, you have a ready-made-pattern! Just take the old one apart at the seams.

    • TJ – thanks for your vote of confidence! I am not much of a seamstress though. I am so impatient with my projects, and sewing projects (for me) take so long!!!
      I certainly have considered it – and there are some great tutorials around blog-land. Many of them using painter’s drop cloths which I would love.

  2. Ebay!

    • You’re so right, Heather! I need to get on that! Hopefully all of the pure white ones won’t get snatched up before I get to them!

  3. WHAT! That is not cool. We’ve been saving to buy the Ektorp and we were going to get the white cover! I don’t want off white…I want white. Bummer!

    On a related note, you mention bleaching the covers. Have you had a lot of success doing that? I know they don’t officially recommend it, but I have three kids and I want to be able to bleach it if the need arises.

    • Hi Amanda! I know! And I am still in denial – I keep hoping it’s an off dye lot. It would really help just to talk to someone at the company who actually knows!

      I have used bleach every time that I’ve washed my covers. I wash them often – in the summer, it can be weekly (since the kids are home and making them dirty!). The rest of the year it may be a month or so between washings. They have held up very well despite all of the bleach. I definitely recommend washing in cold water and hanging them to dry. If you put it in the dryer you will NEVER get it back on the sofa. It’s snug.

      Also – I bought a white-ish twin-sized quilted coverlet that I drape over the seat cushions and then up the back of the sofa (behind the back cushions). And I use the pillow sham that came with the coverlet to cover the arm. This just saves me from washing as frequently. And I actually like the look of it – adds some texture!

      (Got more opinions than you asked for! lol)

      Here’s hoping the white comes back. Please let me know what you find. Maybe it was just Pittsburgh’s store (but that doesn’t explain the online order).

      Good luck!

  4. I haven’t dyed slipcovers, but I have dyed a 10′ by 20′ piece of natural muslin. It’s a photo backdrop and the suggestion was to use an entire bottle of bleach in the washer. It worked great and doesn’t seem to have harmed it in any way.

    • Oh my – an entire bottle of bleach! It’s so good to know that you can use that much and it didn’t harm the fabric. I will be adding a bit more when I wash them from now on!!! And if I have to resort to the off-whites, I’ll go at them with the bottle. lol.

  5. Hi Brenda!
    I hopped over to check out your blog, and I just keep reading. :)
    I had looked into this exact phenomenon, and there was one interesting idea. They said to use Rit dye remover. The tip said it even takes color out of the off-white naturally occurring in some fabrics. This is all here-say, but I am going to give it a try. :)
    If it works, I will definitely let you know. That way, it’s only the $50.00 for the new slipcover plus the little packet of Rit. I’ve also heard that boiling water and lemons works – but I don’t have a pot that big! :)

    • Hi Dori! Thanks so much for stopping over!
      So you’ve encountered the off white slipcovers too??? I kept searching the internet, expecting there to be an uproar from someone! I was beginning to think I was crazy.
      I am so glad that there seems to be an option. I looked into slipcovers from a company in Australia (can’t think of the name right now), but they cost as much as the couch! (They are beautiful though.) I would love to know how the dye remover works out. Thank you so much for giving me hope!! haha

    • I just tried this with my Ektorp footstool cover and had great result! I took them new out of the package, washed them withe the Rit color remover and a scoop of Oxiclean white revive in the hottest temperature my machine could do. So happy with the results! The Blekinge white covers now matches my original bright white covers on my couch and chair. Thanks for the fabulous advice!

  6. Just wanted to leave a comment to let you know I encountered the same problem but it has worked out fine! I originally purchased the ektorp sofa with white slipcover. A year later I went back and purchased the ektorp chair and bromma footstool, both with white covers. When I got home, assembled everything and put slipcovers on I noticed the color difference. I was pretty mad but the nearest ikea is over 2 hours away so I didn’t return them. Now I have washed them about 3 times and they look exactly the same as the old slipcover. You should try that, I can’t tell a difference at all now. I just washed them with oxyclean and regular detergent. Just thought I would let you know because I was so upset at first!

    • Jennifer! I can’t even tell you how happy you made me with this information!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I was so glad to have the options of using a dye remover, or just loads of bleach – what a relief that all I have to do is wash the covers normally.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if Ikea would have provided a little disclaimer with these covers? Obviously they’re doing something different with their dye. Or at the very least they could have let their employees know! I love Ikea, but their customer service is crazy.

      Thanks again!

  7. Hi Brenda, I like your blog very much and it’s inspire me a lot. Regarding the sofa, I have the same sofa, but in red. I also have the lycksele lovas in another room, and when I couldn’t find the color I wanted, I just took the jeans model that I bought, to an upholstery. I chose two different fabrics and colors and they were ready in 10 days. I just replace them when ever I want. It cost me as a new slipcover in IKEA but maybe you could find cheaper. Thanks for sharing all your projects!

    • Hi Ronit! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! How wonderful that you were able to find an upholsterer to make you slipcovers so affordably! I am certainly envious. I would love to find someone to make them for me. It would be nice to have more fabric choices than what Ikea offers.
      Thanks again Ronit! Hope you stop by again.

  8. I feel your pain! Just went through this myself. I went ahead and bought the off-white covers, took them home and washed them with bleach and oxyclean. After a few washes this way, they are now bright white!

    • Im so glad to hear that Amy! Someone else mentioned that – I am glad to know there is a consensus. I really am relieved. I thought it would be crazy for Ikea to no longer have bright white covers – it’s been such a standard for them. Did you wash them several times (until they were bright) before you put them on your couch, or did you just use them as-is? Just curious…

  9. Try BEMZ.com if you don’t want to go through attempting multiple washes, it is a pretty amazing site for IKEA furniture covers!

    • I agree! I love their covers – especially the loose-fit version. But right now I’m loving the Ikea price tag. I seriously want the loose-fit cover though. Someday…
      Thanks Becky!

  10. I have the Ektorp sofa, love seat, chair and 2 ottomans. The slipcovers from Ikea have all shrunk after I washed them in cold water and let them air dry. I have even ripped one at the seams trying to get it back on while it was still damp. I have been looking into bemz and knesting.com. Has anyone tried them? I really want some with zippers.

    • Jennifer – I would also love to hear from people who have tried their covers! The same thing happened to me. It’s so frustrating. I have finally gotten a groove with putting them back on. If I adjust things just so as I put the cover on, it doesn’t pull as much and the seams aren’t stretched. Although I think that sometimes you just end up with a cover that’s a little smaller or a little off. And no matter what you do it ends up tearing. :(

      I will be sure to pass along any information that I get. Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your search.

  11. If your old ones are in acceptable shape and just yellowing, I have 2 suggestions. The first is Lestoil. Its a multipurpose liquid stain remover/ cleaner. It smells a little weird, but soak the slipcover in that for a while and then wash it with normal detergent and it comes out bright white. I use it on my lab coat, which has all sorts of ridiculous chemical stains, and they (almost) all come out. I swear by it. You can usually find it in the floor cleaner or laundry aisle. I don’t use bleach often because (a)it degrades the fabric and (b)it does little to make my stuff whiter. The other option is Smith’s Blueing. It’s a sort of dye that was used along time ago to make things appear whiter. If you use that, try it on a piece of one first to make sure you’re happy with the outcome. Good luck!

    • I didn’t know you could use lestoil for that. I am going to get some on my next shopping trip. I’ll be looking for Smith’s also. They’re in good shape, and I’ve been replacing them 1-2 times a year because of the yellowing on the high-wear areas. If I can extend their wear, I will try it! Thanks, Kam.

  12. mommaof5 says:

    I just bought the Ektorp chair to go with 2+2 corner sofa and it was almost a yellowish white UGH! I was so freaking out. I oxyclean the heck out of my sofa with 5 kids and 2 cats! So I will just do the same with the chair. Thanks for the post on this!

  13. I just tried the bleach and laundry detergent method on my off white chair slip covers hoping to get them white white and when they we’re done washing I pulled them out and you can see streaks of bleach. I’m so upset, I just bought them a few hours ago. I’m now soaking them in more bleach hoping it works this time around :(

  14. No luck….There are streaks of white in them and it looks like I’ll be making a trip back to ikea to buy new slip covers. I don’t recommend using bleach, at all.

    • Oh no!!!! I am so bummed for you. I’ve always used bleach on mine (but mine are still the old ones – from when they were white from the start.)

      Are you going to try to exchange them? Ikea is terrible about returns. How many and which ones are ruined (chair, couch?)?? I feel so bad – I’d be sick about it.

      I have never used OxyClean, but one of the commenters said that’s how she whitened her new covers.

      This really irritates me about Ikea. I really think that they should have given customers some information about the new ‘white’. No one in the store even had an idea about the change, and it’s impossible to actually contact someone from the company. Very frustrating.

      I hope this works out for you Kathryn!

  15. Kathryn,

    We just bought 2 Ektorp love seats with the linen covers which I like…of course it states on the tag to dry clean. I told my husband that is ridiculous as I wash and dry all my linen clothes in the machines. Needless to say, after two weeks of owning the new sofas (which took us 20 years to replace!) our new kitten peed on one – both cushions. You can bet I washed it – in cold water with Woolite and air dried. They came out just fine. They are comfortable…I will say that & this cannot be said about alot of IKEA furniture.

  16. Hi Brenda,
    Did you try putting them our in the sun to get bleached out a few times? The suns bleaching power is so powerful it bleached our children’s outdoor plastic little tikes toys! Then maybe try using indigo to further whiten and put on the sun. I think you should then have your white slipcovers.

  17. Hi Brenda,
    I got my Ektorp sofas a few months ago (from Tampa). I bought extra slipcovers, too. They still come in white. I bleach mine like crazy and yes – after they are bleached they are a little whiter than they were before. I have two messy kids and they always come out fine. I also let them air day and after a few hours while they are still a little damp I put them back on so they don’t shrink. Never had a problem. I just googled Blekinge because I wanted to see if I should start putting them in the dryer at all (I won’t). I use 1/2 cup of bleach for a large load and let it soak for 15 minutes. So far every stain came out.

  18. I purchased three club chairs from plus slip covers from ikea and I’m very disappointed , the covers have a very disgusting odour (smell like fish) they been outside now for three days in the sun and the smell remains,can anyone advise.thanks jean

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  25. ok…Solved it!!! Finally! Bought an ektorp chair cover two weeks ago. Have a washer that will take all 3 pieces. First, mixed 4 boxes of Rit color remover in hot water, got slipcovers wet and covered w I th warm water (filled tub). Added color remover mixture to water…not directly on fabric. No soap. Ran load with 2nd rinse and extra large setting. (From here on in, each load had a 30 minute soak, then extra large, warm wash, cold rinse, and, 2nd rinse. Next…refilled tub with warm water and added liquid laundry no-additive soap, as well as full dose of Oxiclean White Revive…about 2/3 way up on cap from liquid laundry soap. Did this 2 times…maybe 3. Last, no soap…did 30 minutes soak then full cycle with no soap…just warm water and a full cup of bleach, which I diluted first in water, before adding. So 4 loads…maybe 5. First color remover, then 2 or 3 with both soap and oxiclean white revive, then just water and a cup of bleach. Finally pure white! Yay!

  26. I bought an ‘Ektorp Kniva Brown’ set to re-cover our existing sofas 2 weeks ago. The swatch in the store was a hard wearing twill/denim just like our blue and beige covers.
    When they were delivered, the fabric was like trouser material!
    Customer services suggested I take a cushion cover back to the store, show them the swatch and then they could open a ‘case’ for me.
    I did this, they checked the stock to see if it was the same as mine (which it was) and then suggested I have a refund.
    NOTHING ELSE was offered, but I want the covers AS PER THE SWATCH!
    What was the point of me going back? What ‘case’ is there? NOTHING….
    I came home with the swatch, called the central customer number t be told I can refund them and be without.
    So, They are picking them up on Monday, I’m going to put the beige clean ones back on, buy a cheaper set of Blekinge white as they are the same quality material, and DYE them.

  27. I just got off the phone with IKEA and they have discontinued the Blekinge white. They are coming out with a “new white color” that is supposed to be online Feb 1 and is already in some stores. It starts with a “v”. Im bummed too, as I wanted the white white. She said that color had been out since 2002 and they needed to update the line.

    • The new “white cover” for the ektorp sofa is called vittaryd which looks identical to the blekinge white cover, I have not actually compared the two yet. I want to bring one of the blekinge white cushion covers to the store and compare it to the vittaryd cover to see if they are actually the same. But one huge difference is the price: The blekinge was only $49., this new vittaryd is $149. So change the name and raise the price $100. Way to go, IKEA!!.

      They discontinued most of the Karlstad furniture which I have the sofa and loveseat. They just carry the sofa now with the white cover and a grey cover (which I can’t seem to find). Even if I did find it, I wouldn’t have a matching love seat. I bought this set to have the option of changing. Another disappointment from IKEA.

      And my final rant is the replacement of the Expedit series shelving with the Kallax series. The expedit was thicker around all the sides compared to the Kallax shelving. So if you want to add to what you have already, the pieces are not going to match up. Nice job, IKEA

  28. Mary Beth says:

    Regarding the new white cover (Vittaryd): They didn’t just change the name – the tripled price point also gets you 65% polyester instead of 100% cotton. I have NO IDEA why that would be considered an improvement. It sure isn’t for me. Yuck.

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  30. The change in blekinge white colors was due to the phasing out of optical brighteners in the production of the fabric to help reduce damaging waste water in the production areas. That’s true for ALL IKEA fabrics moving forward.
    While the Kallax are smaller on they outside than Expedit, the interior dimensions at least remained the same and they use much less wood to produce because of the redesign. Better use of natural resources to the tune of 400 tons a year, so I’ll put up with the annoyance.

    The Vittyard is just annoying and stupid though!

  31. So I have the bright white slip covers and also what was the off white slip covers but mine are now white (bright). The secret is get yourself some finish liquid dishwashing soap, borax and the whitener that borax puts out, very very hot water and a tub. use a 1/4 to 1/2 of the bottle of finish (depends how dirty your used covers are), 1/4 of a box of borax and several scoops of whitener. mix it all in a tub or an washing machine that you can just shut off and leave with water in it. Let it set for a few days swish it around every so often then rinse them out and hang them on the line outside in the hot sun. the sune will finish bleaching them for you. I have had my slipcovers since 2006 and they still look brand new even with all the abuse and wear and washed with all the chemicals. The new ones will come out white white if you add about a half of the container of whitener to them. hope this helps everyone have bright whites again.
    By the way the finish liquid dishwashing is a awesome stain remover too for everything.

  32. Elizabeth says:

    I’m eyeing the Ektorp sofas, but want to know if it’s difficult to change the slipcovers. I have a slip covered sofa now that has similar curved arms and changing the cover is a beast! Is the Ektorp a matter of carefully tugging or is there massive cursing and shoving and drinking involved?

    Thanks ,

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