Is there such a thing as a urine-resistant sofa?
July 31, 2009 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as a good looking, comfortable, urine-resistant sofa?

One member of my household has bladder problems. The sofa in our living room -- a cloth-covered foam one from Ikea -- is gross. Whenever he has an accident we wash the cover and spray the foam part with enzyme cleaner, but there's only so much we can do to get it clean.I want to get a new sofa, but I know it's going to get peed on. What kind of sofa would put up the best fight?

I like plain, simple furniture: West Elm, DWR, that sort of mid-century thing. I'm in the US, near a big city with all the usual stores.

I'm not looking for advice about the person with the problem or how to clean up urine -- just sofa-buying advice, please. Specific sofa models from specific stores would be great.
posted by anonymous to Shopping (19 answers total)
What if you got one of the ones you like from Ikea, with a slipcover to go over it (many/most have the option to get the slipcover), but before you put the slipcover on, you cover the actual body of the couch in plastic somehow (even just fixing together some trash bags or use a shower curtain or something, to cover the entire seating and back area)? Then you can wash the slipcover as much as necessary, but the couch itself would never be touched.
posted by so_gracefully at 11:21 AM on July 31, 2009

I think so_gracefully is on the right track with the idea of some kind of waterproof undersheet-under-a-slipcover type thing. Maybe (and I feel sort of terrible suggesting this) check pet supply places?
posted by Neofelis at 11:24 AM on July 31, 2009

Buy whatever couch you like, and cover the couch itself with something waterproof, then put a blanket over that to absorb the urine so you can just toss it in the wash as necessary.
posted by crankylex at 11:25 AM on July 31, 2009

The problems with enclosing the cushions in garbage bags and then putting the covers back on are 1) every time you shift, it makes a rustling noise, and 2) it's extremely hot, because the plastic just traps your body heat and reflects it back at you. I tried this method on a chenille couch that one of my cats loved a little too much and eventually I just conceded the war and threw the couch out.
posted by crankylex at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2009

Place a puppy training pad underneath the slipcover.
posted by HotPatatta at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2009

There are mattress covers that are waterproof and not crinkly. Here and here for example.

Maybe they make something similar for couches, or you could cut the mattress cover down to fit.
posted by chiefthe at 11:32 AM on July 31, 2009

How about faux leather covers rather than fabric?
posted by penguin pie at 11:32 AM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

Crib mattress pads are waterproof, to protect the mattress, and they might be a decent fit to a sofa cushion. You could put one over each cushion, and put the slipcovers over that. If they are too big, you could try a porta-crib mattress pad.

There are also baby changing pads that are flat, which you could maybe stitch together to make a cover, if the mattress covers don't work.

These options don't make rustling noises, and they're relatively breathable. What they have in common is a vinyl layer sandwiched between layers of fabric, so maybe you could look for a sofa slipcover with that construction.
posted by palliser at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2009

You don't necessarily have to get a special kind of couch, or even a full slipcover, you can buy incontinence pads/liners that sit on top of the couch cushion. There are disposable ones and washable ones to choose from, in various price ranges. Most pharmacies carry them, and there are several mail-order catalogs and online suppliers that sell them. Here's an example.
posted by amyms at 11:51 AM on July 31, 2009

I've had faux leather and a too-enthusiastic cat, and if you get right on it, it cleans up fairly well. The funk eventually became unbearable, but cat urine is particularly horrid.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:54 AM on July 31, 2009

A leather or vinyl couch will be your best option here. Vinyl moreso, because it will clean easily and you don't have to use leather-specific cleaners.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2009

There are people versions of the pet pads (which usually have an odor attractant in them). If you put one under the sofa cover to absorb moisture and a rubber or latex cover under that, you could wash the covers and change the pads without too much effort. My uncle had a very nice, washable version of the pads for his bed, but I'm not sure where he got it. It would have fit the whole sofa, would be washable, would not leak, and would not make noise.
posted by clarkstonian at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2009

Regardless of the sofa you buy, have it upholstered with Crypton fabric. It's what they use on hospital furniture, among other places where they need easy-clean fabrics. Any good furniture company should offer upholstery choices, and they'll know about Cryptons.
posted by gyusan at 12:39 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Your incontinent resident could buy a chair pad for their regular seat, or several to cover the whole sofa. In Australia and the UK there is Kylie pads such as these, which I would recommend over buying a whole new sofa.
posted by goo at 1:38 PM on July 31, 2009

The pads they use in hospitals are called "chucks"
posted by yodelingisfun at 2:32 PM on July 31, 2009

posted by yodelingisfun at 2:33 PM on July 31, 2009

crap, chucks
posted by yodelingisfun at 2:33 PM on July 31, 2009

This isn't specifically about the sofa, but in case you've been so focused on the sofa issue that you've overlooked it: Depend or other incontinence underwear would protect not just the sofa but anything the person sits on.
posted by Houstonian at 3:46 PM on July 31, 2009

Definitely get leather. You might peruse Natuzzi's selection and then check their dealer locator for a dealer near you.
posted by nightwood at 7:13 PM on July 31, 2009

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