Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage

how this Belle saved a couch cover


I have always loved white couches. Unfortunately these guys love white couches, too.

Every couches worst nightmare: four cats who love soft spots.

In our house getting rid of cats in order to have white furniture is not an option, nor is waiting for them to go to kitty heaven. Considering that our cats are all rather young we will likely (and hopefully!) be the owners of four clawing, fur ball producing, shedding monsters for many years to come.

Bird vetoed my initial suggestion for a white slip covered couch when I moved in and vetoed his current living room furnishings (Big Lots sofa and wire metal racks). It seems he had already pegged me for a neurotic, obsessive woman that would spend more time than anyone should obsessing over the whiteness of her sofa. And so a compromise was made and we selected a black and white sofa cover for my cute Ikea Ektorp sofa.

“I think the print will hide some mess,” I said and Bird agreed. Foolishly we purchased this cover and brought it home. The new cover brought instant life to our rather dull living room – a splash of print amongst a sea of bland taupe walls. We were delighted. And so were the cats.

In about 2 minutes all four cats were on the new couch, sniffing, kneading and nesting into its fresh black and white awesomeness. And there the cats have stayed. I would venture a bet that during one 24 hour cycle the couch only spends about 15 minutes without at least one cat on it. During the other 23 hours and 45 minutes there are small furry bodies snuggled in the cushions and it is really starting to show.

For being such fastidious groomers, cats really are quite disgusting. Despite our weekly furniture vacuuming regime with this bad boy (an absolute must for pet owners) the couch was starting to look really dirty, especially in the cats’ favorite spots (arm rests and the cushion under the window – also known as “The Cushion of Contention” as many-a cat fight have started over that primo spot).

The first item on last weekend’s house-keeping agenda was to address the disgusting couch cover. The black and white nature of the cover presented a bleaching challenge so I opted for OxiClean, which currently holds third place on the list of Belle’s Favorite Obsessive Cleaning Supplies (the first being vinegar and baking soda). Cleaning the cover was done in two phases: first the couch cover and then the cushion covers.

1. Put four large scoops of OxiClean in the bathtub and fill it with warm to hot water (depending on what your cover will tolerate).
2. Soak the nasty cover for an hour, stopping by to stir it around every now and then.
3. After an hour rub the extra funky parts together, drain the tub, carry the cover to the washing machine and wash it on the most heavy-duty setting with an extra rinse.
4. Hang the cover up to dry and then repeat with the cushion covers.

I’m pleased to say that about 90% of the funk was removed from the cover using this method. 5% of the remaining funk are a few tiny dinner stains and the other 5% can be deemed “character.” I am certain that had I been a better Domestic Goddess during the last year and washed the cover on a regular basis using OxiClean it would probably still look new. Alas, we live and we learn!


7 thoughts on “how this Belle saved a couch cover

  1. Ah yes, after reading this post I have to agree that we have the same situation. However, on occasion one of our cats (we think it’s the female…but we aren’t sure) will ‘leave a mark’ on our new couch. I’ve soaked the cushions, washed the cushion covers, and sprayed the heck out of it with the Nature’s Miracle ‘no spray’. This last time (meaning in the last 7-10 days) I did it uber super well…hoping that whomever decides to go won’t. I used a whole bottle of no mark on the cushions inside and out and all over the couch.

    If you have any suggestions to neutralize the couch so Bear (male) or Kitty (female) don’t go, that would be great. I still think it’s the female though, just because of Bear’s disposition. 🙂

    • Oh Claire, that is just the worst thing ever to have to battle. We have problems with “spotting” around the litter boxes in the basement. We have found that if we do not keep them meticulously clean a cat will “protest” and leave us a treat. Granted, this is on a basement floor so it is easily to clean and destink. Maybe you need to scoop daily to keep fussy kitties happy? No one likes a dirty potty, not even dirty cats!

      How many boxes do you have. EVERYTHING i read says you need one box per cat. This is REALLY hard to do in small spaces, though. In Birmingham and here we hide boxes behind furniture, potted plants, etc. (See my bedroom renovation to see how we “hid” Yum Yums huge box). In Birmingham I had the box hidden behind my TV (see here: There is actually a box hidden back there and the TV stand is on casters so I can roll it out. OR I would just move the basket under the stand (which holds the cleaning supplies) and pull the box out that way. And finally, has some great cat box disguising techniques that are all cost-effective. This also gives the kitties a little privacy, too. My cat is a very private popper, while Bird’s three will go in front of whomever cares to watch.

  2. I guess I am lucky that Izy stays on one end of the sofa. That end of the sofa has her heating pad, mat, and blanket. The blanket is rolled up and curled around the layers of heating pad and mat to form a nest. In front of this end of the sofa is her little set of stairs (she is almost 19 and needs a little help these days). She has no need to migrate to the other end of the sofa or to any other piece of furniture, this spot is all hers. It becomes a problem if we have guests and a person needs to sit there. I relocate Izy and all of her gear to the ottoman carefully placed beside the chair I will sit in. She will eventually settle in but it takes her a while. Like all cats, she does not like change. I don’t know what I would do if there were three more furry faces to deal with, I think I would move out.

  3. In your household, you two are badly out-numbered

    At least your four felines don’t go outside, roll in the dirt, and then come back in (as our two do, and yours would if they could). So, I have towels over much of the furniture (a real decorating statement, no?) which are easily thrown in the washer. I remember MA calling me a cat slave early on–little did I know!

    • Sally! I love it! We had white table clothes draped over all the furniture for quite some time. I finally got so tired of seeing white blogs instead of my pretty furniture that I just gave up. Also, Jay tells me you have had a third join your herd? You are entering the cat collecting danger zone… 🙂

      • Well, we don’t technically have a third cat, but there is a stray that we feed twice per day and have named (a bad sign, no doubt). Our stray acts like a neutered male and gets along fine with our other two (waits for them to come outside). The stray is probably the fattest of the bunch which makes me think he has another benefactor in the neighborhood. I am really NOT planning on having a 3rd cat in the house!

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