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How to Clean Your Placemats – A Guide 

We all have used the term placemats when it comes to dining table settings. But what exactly is a placemat? Before we begin discussing the cleaning tips, let us understand what these placemats are and why should you use them?

What is a placemat?

Also commonly known as a table mat, a placemat is a cover that signifies an individual table setting. While a table cloth covers the entire table, a placemat covers only a single cover. Placemats come in a myriad of varieties, styles and materials – something that suits every pocket.

Why should you invest in placemats?

While the basic use of a placemat is to protect the dinner table from food spills causing stains, heat damage or water stains, they also come in handy to enhance the appeal of the table. Placemats made of silk, satin or lace can be an excellent decoration accessory. 

In a commercial setting, many restaurants also use placemats to advertise their menu, daily specials or to entertain children with activities. 

What material placemat should you buy?

Like mentioned before, placemats come in a variety of budgets and materials. Which placemats to buy can be a slightly daunting experience, especially if you are not sure what is available. While lace or a silk placemat can be ideal to entertain a fancy group of guests, a placemat made of natural fabric like cotton is much easier to maintain and hence can be used for years to come. There are some beautiful cotton placemats available in the market, as this natural fringe cotton placemat from Ellementry that is stylish and easy on the pocket.  There are some high-end placemats also available in the market which are made of leather or vinyl but they are often used in hotels or more formal settings. These come with the benefit of making the table soundproof due to their thickness, but they are fairly expensive and difficult to maintain. 

How to clean a placemat?

From catching spilt food, protecting your precious table cover from stains to adding a touch of glamour to your table setting, a placemat has a lot to offer to your dining table. But when was the last time you cleaned your placemat? Whether you are using simple cotton placemats or using bamboo or recycled materials, it is important to keep them clean. Here are some tips that may come in handy the next time you decide to clean your placemats:

  1. Inspection is important

When you are ready to clean your placemat, inspecting the placemat for spilt food particles is important. Pick up the spilt pieces of bread or dried food items. If it is an old spill, use a butter knife to gently scrape off the food off the mat. 

  1. Cleansing the dirt as per the material

It is important to be aware of the ideal cleaning method for your delicate placemats. Since every placemat comes in a different style and material, the washing instructions may also vary. You can certainly not wash a plastic placemat the same way you would wash a cotton one. 

  • Vinyl placemats – A placemat made of vinyl or plastic is easiest to clean due to its hard nature. These are hence the best placemats for wooden tables or daily use. A plastic or vinyl placemat cannot be washed in a washing machine, but fret not. Most of the time you can clean it using a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt or wash the mat under running water. 

Clean with a dry towel or let it air dry and it will be as good as new!

  • Fabric placemats – Fabric placemats are commonly found in household settings. They are delicate, soft and enhance the appeal of the table. But at the same time, they are also an easy target for spills and stains. While the cleaning can be slightly tricky, a gentle wash may do the trick. Removing the stains as soon as they occur makes the cleaning easier.

For an old or stubborn stain, simply dab them with a cloth soaked in soap and water till the stain lightens. Leave the mat to dry and that’s it. Your mat is ready to serve the next meal. There are some fabric-safe stain removers to help you with more stubborn stains!

If you are using a satin or silk placemat, avoid using a washing machine as it may ruin the shape and lustre of the fabric. 

  1. It is no rocket science

While it may seem like a daunting task to regularly clean your placemats, it actually is not. You see, placemats are made with the purpose of getting dirty with regular usage and hence, the cleaning process is not very difficult. 

What you need to remember, however, is that prevention is better than cure. Treating spills as soon as they occur will only help you prevent permanent or tough stains. It is suggested to keep at least two to three sets of placemats to ensure sufficient turn around time. The more gentle you are with the cleaning, the longer will the placemat serves you. 


With these tips, we hope you will be able to maintain your placemats for a long time. Make sure you always clean the placemats gently and slowly pick up the pace when it comes to scrubbing. 

What do you think of these tips? How do you wash your placemats? Do you have any more tips to share? Do let us know. Visit Ellementry today to buy the best linens for your tables.

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