Use this DIY couch cover idea as an interim solution when you’re cleaning IKEA’s washable slipcover. It also works as a cheap & cheerful permanent slipcover. 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?
DIY Couch Cover
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!
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 one day. For the sofa to look like this while we launder our one and only slipcover is a minor inconvenience.
Our interim solution allows us to continue to use our sofa while the cover is air drying. Plus, it’s a great repurpose of a full-fitted sheet!
We only remove the seat and back cushion covers. To remove the back and armrests, we’d have to take the entire couch apart to get it all off. Since it was in good shape, a good vacuum with a special upholstery attachment is all it needs to freshen it up again.
Suck it Up
The upholstery attachment has a nubby strip that catches all the dust and lint so it’s definitely worthwhile to invest in one:
We vacuum not only the parts we leave 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.
I remove the seat and back cushions so I can vacuum underneath them and in all the crevices along the back and sides. Once everything is vacuumed, unzip all the cushions and strip off the slipcovers.
Then we put all the bare cushions back on the sofa and throw on the fitted sheet. Surprisingly, it fits so well in both the width and length.
There’s still plenty of extra to tuck it all in!
See how well those corners fit?
It couldn’t be more perfect for the couch.
If you ever go to the extent of taking apart the entire couch to wash everything, add in a few regular pillows with matching pillow cases to protect the ends of the sofa while the cover is in the wash as you see below.
Once the sofa covers come out of the wash, we get creative finding a place to dry them. We use the shower rod in one of our bathrooms and a clothing rack to drape them as they dry. Even if they could be machine dried, air drying is a much more sustainable option. And it saves $$’s too, so it’s a win-win!
After they’re dry, the slipcovers will be quite wrinkled so should be ironed. I use a steam iron on the cotton setting and press them on the wrong side.
Even after vacuuming, there’s still going to be some lint! To finish them off, I go over each one on the right side with a lint roller. That gets off all remaining traces of lint.
At this point you can take off the temporary floral sheet, put the slipcovers back on the couch and your spring cleaning is done!
Make a DIY Couch Cover a Permanent Slipcover
The floral sheet is great for spring cleaning purposes, but if you have a white Karlstad couch like us, 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!
To de-winterize our look, we switch out the artwork and accessories and plump out the sofa with seasonal pillows; now we’re ready for the Spring/Summer season ahead 🙂
We’ve used Ikea pieces in other areas of our home, but it’s a lot more fun when we hack them, like this upcycled idea cart! We also love a good household hack; browse our cleaning hacks here.
At Birdz of a Feather, we’re feathering the nest… one room at a time. Follow our blog here to get tutorials on other DIY projects, in and around the home. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Pin DIY Couch Cover
If this DIY couch cover project has inspired you to tackle some Spring cleaning around your home, please pin and share!
There are so many great uses for bed sheets. I made my swing cover out of a fitted bed sheet last summer. It worked really well. Isn’t it nice to be spring cleaning at last?
Yes, it is nice! I remember that swing cover; I hope the squirrels didn’t get it again:)
I put it away for the winter, grateful that it made it through the season. This year I will put out fluff and fabric scraps at the same time I set it up for the summer, and hopefully they’ll take from that. Wish me luck!
love to know where to buy the upholstery attachment.
You should be able to find it at a store that sells central vacuum systems.