Can You Wash Placemats? How to Clean Placemats Properly?

Can You Wash Placemats? How to Clean Placemats Properly?

Placemats are an essential part of table settings, offering both protection for your table and an aesthetic touch to your dining experience. However, regular use can lead to stains, spills, and general wear and tear. Knowing how to clean placemats properly ensures they remain in good condition and continue to enhance your dining space. This guide covers cleaning methods for vinyl, plastic, fabric, bamboo, wicker, and cork placemats.

How to Clean Placemats: Vinyl and Plastic Placemats

Vinyl and plastic placemats are popular due to their durability and ease of cleaning. So, how to clean placemats made of vinyl and plastic Here are the steps to effectively clean them:

Step 1: Wipe the Placemats with a Wet Cloth

Start by wiping the placemats with a damp cloth to remove any loose debris or food particles.

It is relatively easy to keep clean placemats that are made from vinyl and plastic. Just use a damp clean cloth, and wipe down the front and back of the placemats to ensure you remove all surface dirt and debris.

You should wipe vinyl and plastic placemats on a regular basis can keep them clean, especially if you use them often for your meals.

Step 2: Scrub the Placemats with a Sponge

For more stubborn spots, use a sponge and a bit of dish soap. Gently scrub the surface to lift off any grease or stains.

Next, scrub the placemats with a mixture of soap and warm water in order to deep clean. Put a few drops of soap on a wet sponge. Continue to scrub the placemats. You should scrub in gentle, round motions to remove dirt and debris. Do not scrub the placemats hard or rub any areas for a long period of time to avoid damag the placemats.

How to Clean Vinyl and Plastic Placemats

Step 3: Soak the Placemats in Water and Soap

If the placemats are heavily soiled, fill a sink or basin with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Submerge the placemats and let them soak for 1 to 2 minutes.

Once the placemats have been soaked, take them out and use a sponge or cloth to wipe them off. 

Step 4: Use a Mild Cleaner on the Placemats

For any remaining stains, apply a mild cleaner directly to the spots and scrub gently with a soft brush or sponge. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the material.

Step 5: Let the Placemats Dry Overnight

After cleaning, rinse the placemats thoroughly with clean water and pat them dry with a towel. Allow them to air dry completely overnight to prevent mold or mildew growth. Do not stack them on top of one another to dry, because the water may get trapped between the placemats.

Washing Fabric Placemats

Fabric placemats can be trickier to clean due to their absorbent nature. Follow these steps to keep them looking fresh:

Step 1: Remove Any Stains or Spots Immediately

As soon as a spill occurs, blot the stain with a paper towel or clean cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Do not let stains or spots sit on the fabric for a long time. 

You need to be careful with foods that tend to stain fabric such as tomato, mustard, and coffee, which should be removed right away if they get on the placemats. 

You may keep 2 sets of placemats, 1 made of vinyl or plastic and 1 made of fabric. Just use the fabric placemats for special occasions, because they will be more difficult to clean if they get dirty.

Washing Fabric Placemats

Step 2: Spot Clean the Placemats with Soap and Water

Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water and use a cloth or sponge to dab the stained area gently. This can spread the stain, so you need to avoid rubbing.

Use a clean cloth or a sponge dampened with soap and water. Dab stains or spots on the placemats until they come out. Note that do not scrub or rub the mats, because this can damage the fabric.

Let the placemats air dry flat on a clean towel after you have spot cleaned them. Or you can hang them on a clothesline to dry. 

Step 3: Use a Fabric-Safe Cleaner on the Placemats

For persistent stains, apply a fabric-safe stain remover and let it sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing. Ensure that the cleaner does not contain harmful chemicals such as bleach or ammonia. Apply a small amount of the cleaner to the mats with a damp cloth or sponge.

Once you have cleaned the placemats, let them air-dry. Make sure all the cleaner is removed from the placemats before you let them air dry.

Step 4: Put the Placemats in the Washer if It's Safe to Do So

Check the care label on your placemats. If they are machine washable, place them in a laundry bag and wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water. Use a mild detergent and avoid bleach, which can weaken fibers.

Sanitizing Placemats Made of Bamboo, Wicker, and Cork

Natural materials like bamboo, wicker, and cork require special care to maintain their integrity.

Step 1: Wipe Bamboo and Wicker Placemats with Soap and Water

Use a damp cloth with a mild soap solution to wipe down bamboo and wicker placemats. Avoid soaking these materials, as excessive moisture can cause damage. Rinse the placements with water after you are done cleaning them and let them air dry.

Step 2: Use White Vinegar on Cork Placemats

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the cork placemats and wipe them with a clean, damp cloth. This solution helps sanitize and deodorize without damaging the cork.

Step 3: Do Not Put Bamboo, Wicker, or Cork Placemats in the Washer

These natural materials can be easily damaged in a washing machine. Always clean them by hand and avoid excessive water exposure.

Sanitizing Placemats Made of Bamboo, Wicker, and Cork


Regular cleaning and proper care of your placemats not only keep them looking good but also ensure a hygienic dining environment. By following the appropriate cleaning steps for each type of placemat, you can maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan. Whether you have vinyl, plastic, fabric, bamboo, wicker, or cork placemats, these tips will help you keep them in pristine condition for every meal.

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