The 11 Best Cloth Napkins (2022)

Cloth napkins elevate your home dining experience from pure convenience to full, in-it-to-win-it adult status. Whether you opt for linen, polyester, or everyday cotton, the best cloth napkins are easy to clean and made from a material that suits your budget, the occasion, and your dining aesthetic. Keep these points in mind while shopping.

In terms of material, napkins made from linen are seen as the most luxe, cotton as a great everyday pick, and polyester as a very practical option. Linen has a sturdier, larger weave, is absorbent, and can give you two looks for your dinner table: one that is a little rumpled and dressed down or one that is pressed and dressed up. Linen softens with repeated washing and is a long-lasting material. Cotton is a good choice for everyday use as it is soft and absorbent from the get go, though it doesn’t have the durability of linen. Cotton also will wrinkle unless you iron it, but choosing a napkin that’s a cotton blend helps to cut that down. Polyester or polyester blends are the most practical of all the options and are frequently used for large parties. Though not as soft or absorbent, polyester is virtually wrinkle-free and particularly stain-resistant.

Cloth napkins typically cost anywhere from around 60 cents to eight or nine dollars per napkin. Depending on your aesthetic and choice of material, you’ll pay more for natural fiber cloth as well as design craftsmanship. If the priority is quantity, there are plenty of affordable options, especially those that come in polyester.

All of the picks below are conveniently machine washable and, in some cases, backed by thousands of reviews on Amazon.

1. An Affordable Napkin That Comes In Bulk

If you’re looking to throw a party for a group larger than two, these 100% polyester napkins are a perfect choice and come at a budget-friendly price. Each set includes 24 napkins, which is two to three times more per pack than most others. The polyester material makes these resistant to stains and wrinkles for maximum festivity-minded convenience. Depending on your party palette, you can choose between classic white and seven other solid color options, such as red, pink, and blue. And if you need even more napkins, you can snag a pack of 288 napkins for a relatively affordable price.

Helpful Review: “Loved these. I have ordered multiple colors in fact. For the price and quantity, this is the best value. Would recommend to get these for your gatherings.”

  • Available Colors: 9

2. A Wildly Popular Cotton Blend Napkin for Everyday Use

With over 7,000 reviews on Amazon, these cloth napkins prove to be especially durable for everyday use. Made from a blend of 60% cotton and 40% polyester, they reap the benefits of both of these materials. The polyester provides stain and some wrinkle resistance, while the cotton gives you softness and absorption. These napkins come in a set of 12, a nice size to hold you between washings, as well as offering you 11 different solid colors from which to choose.

Helpful Review: “These are super easy to launder. No need to iron, just flatten out with your hand & fold once out of dryer. Soft and perfect size, too. I love them!”

  • Available Colors: 11

3. An Elegant Cloth Napkin For Formal Events

This beautifully refined yet minimal jacquard cloth napkin effortlessly elevates your dinner table, perfect for that holiday or festive event. These napkins are made of 100% polyester, making them especially stain and wrinkle resistant. Coming in a set of four, there are 15 gorgeous colors to choose from to help you create that flawless table setting. It’s also noteworthy that these textured napkins comes with matching tablecloths in square, rectangle, and round sizes.

Helpful Review: “These cloth napkins are just as described. The swirl pattern has a slight sheen and they are a heavy weight as compared to my other cloth napkins [...] They look amazing and I would definitely purchase them again. Highly recommended.”

  • Available Colors: 15

4. A Rustic Napkin In 100% Cotton

These 100% cotton napkins are extremely soft and absorbent and come in a delightful denim finish. They come in a set of 12, on top of offering 17 solid color options like bright red and green or neutral black or white. Keep in mind: these are only moderately stain resistant and you’ll have to get out the iron for that wrinkle-free look. However, if texture is a deal breaker, the softness of this material knows no match and the relaxed look of these lends a nice farmhouse vibe to your table.

(Video) CLOTH NAPKIN SYSTEM/ UNPAPER TOWELS/SAVING MONEY!

Helpful Review: “These are great napkins. I rarely used cloth napkins in the past because they weren’t soft. These are soft and work well [...] They are slightly wrinkled when I take them out of the dryer, but that doesn’t bother me at all, as they are used for our daily family dinner. I highly recommend these napkins!!”

  • Available Colors: 12

5. This Luxe Stonewashed Linen Napkin That Will Last You Forever

These durable and high quality linen napkins will be used on your dinner tables for years to come. Made from 100% French flax, these are relatively stain-resistant, especially with a slight pre-wash treatment. The stonewashed process gives these napkins a slightly worn-in look and a softer texture. They emerge from the wash in a charmingly rumpled fashion, but can be ironed for a sharper aesthetic. Although they are priced at a much higher price point for a set of four, these napkins will continue to soften and outlast many of its rivals. The come in 13 solid colors like taupe, purple, and mulberry.

Helpful Review: “I don't usually write reviews but I've been on the hunt for the perfect linen napkin in weight, size, and quality and this is it. I highly recommend these! They wash well and come out of the dryer ready to fold and use. I didn't even need to iron them to make them look great.”

  • Available Colors: 13

6. The Bistro Napkin For A Classic French Touch

If you’re longing for that je ne sais quoi French feel, even if it’s just via the dinner table, these French stripe napkins transport you immediately to continental Europe. Made of 100% cotton and coming in a pack of six, these have a charming French stripe design on a textured off-white background (and come in 11 different colors as well). These are somewhat stain resistant and require ironing for the wrinkle-free look, but will always capture that refined yet relaxed bistro vibe. And the cherry on top: they come with a variety of matching tablecloths, as well as placemats.

Helpful Review: “It looks and feels authentic, like I am in France...what more could I ask for?”

  • Available Colors: 11

7. A Patterned Napkin For The Design Obsessed

(Video) 5 Of The Most Popular Cloth Napkins You Can Watch

Those who appreciate pattern matching will love the fact that this set of 24 cloth napkins includes four unique prints (six napkins of each design), allowing you to mix and match to your heart’s content. Even if you decide to use only one of the patterns for your table setting, each of the prints are visually charming and create nice depth of texture. These napkins are made of 100% cotton and are soft, but prone to wrinkling after washing. Choose between four different colors (one color per set), and keep in mind that these delightful patterns do a great job of obscuring any festivity-induced stains.

Helpful Review: “I LOVE these! They machine wash and dry and iron well. Perfect to fold & put into napkin rings. I love that the patterns are different but colors are the same so I can mismatch the patterns adding visual interest at dinner parties. What a fabulous deal these are!”

  • Available Colors: 4

8. The Perfect Picnic-Slash-Italian-Restaurant Checkered Napkin

One of the most classic cloth napkin looks is that of gingham or buffalo plaid, a checkered design that acts as protective wear from barbecue picnics to spaghetti and meatball nights. This pattern does a great job of hiding stains while giving you that easy-breezy summer’s day or casual Sunday night vibe. These napkins come in a generous set of 12 and are made from 100% cotton, making them particularly absorbent. There are 20 different colors to choose from, suiting any mood or table setting. Though they’re not wrinkle-resistant, but that simply adds to their laid-back charm.

Helpful Review: “I’ve been using cloth napkins for over 35 years these are some of the best I’ve bought. They keep their shape after washing, color is vibrant and they are 100% cotton so they absorb very well. So along with looking great on the table the functionality is the best part of these napkins.”

  • Available Colors: 20

9. A Satin Napkin For Maximum Glitz & Glamour

Your Chair Covers Satin Cloth Napkins (10-Pack)

Amazon

(Video) 6 @ 6: Keep your dog cool, drape bangs and cloth napkin dilemma

Another great choice for larger events such as an elegant banquet is a satin woven napkin with that characteristic glossy sheen that spells luxury. These napkins come in a set of 10 with a choice between 27 different colors and patterns (including polka dots and stripes), guaranteed to fit any occasion’s table design. Employing that satin weave but made of 100% polyester, these are resistant to stains and wrinkles and wash up easily to be reused for the next big event.

Helpful Review: “The color is beautiful!! They add some glitz to your table. Nicely made napkin!”

  • Available Colors: 27

10. An Eco-Friendly Napkin Made From Upcycled Denim

Sustainability is often a factor when investing in cloth napkins, but there’s a way to take it even further. Salvaged scraps of upcycled denim and cotton are given a second life in these warmly textured table napkins. Four napkins are included in every set and you can choose between two versions of the striped farmhouse chic design. These are reasonably stain resistant but, being 100% cotton, will wrinkle after washing. You can style these more formally or casually, all the while knowing you’re doing the environment some good.

Helpful Review: “These are amazing! Great quality and I particularly love the low maintenance since they pull off a great rustic look when they're wrinkled. You can dress them up by ironing them too. I also love the fact that every time I use them I feel good about where they came from - sustainability!”

  • Available Colors: 2

11. A Fanciful Napkin To Add Some Whimsy To Your Table

This delightful pattern entitled “Birdies On Wire” is just one of many charming designs offered by this popular cloth napkin brand, which features all manner of flora and fauna. Coming in a set of four and made of 100% cotton, these are characteristically soft and can be used for all types of events, as well as serving many other uses in the kitchen or dining room. These won’t resist stains and will wrinkle after washing, so be aware you’ll have to iron based on your aesthetic preference —however, depending on the design, you may be happy with that more relaxed cottage-core look. They come in 33 beautiful prints and some can be matched with complementary placemats and dish towels, as well.

Helpful Review: “These cloth napkins are absolutely gorgeous! They look like paintings on canvas and are beautifully constructed. The quality is very high and I love them! I highly endorse them.”

  • Available Colors: 33

FAQs

What is the best material for cloth napkins? ›

Note: It's best to use 100% cotton or linen as they will be most absorbent, but a blend with at least 80% natural fiber will work too and will require less ironing.

How many cloth napkins do I need? ›

If you're the sort of person, who likes to use a fresh, clean napkin every day to avoid germs, getting seven cloth napkins per person, if you do laundry once a week, might be a better number for you. Your fabric napkins should last a very long time if you treat them right. This should save you money in the long run!

Is cotton or linen better for napkins? ›

When it comes to napkins, both cotton and linen have their pros and cons. Cotton is more absorbent than linen, making it ideal for mopping up spills. Linen, on the other hand, is more durable and less likely to stain. Linen is a natural fiber that is both hypoallergenic and antibacterial.

What material are cloth napkins made of? ›

Cloth napkins can be made from many different materials, but you'll usually see them made from cotton, polyester, or linen. All three materials are great, but they tend to feel a little different. (Cotton may feel soft, whereas polyester may feel smooth.)

What is the best fabric of four napkins? ›

Woven cotton is the classic choice for handmade DIY cloth napkins because it is durable, absorbent and provides a soft touch to the skin. You can also safely wash it with your laundry and will look great every time.

Which is better cloth or paper napkins? ›

One of the biggest advantages that reusable napkins have over paper napkins is sustainability. Not only do they have longer lifespans (and more usage per item) than paper, but they are also more effective to use.

What are cloth napkins called? ›

A napkin, serviette or face towelette is a square of cloth or paper tissue used at the table for wiping the mouth and fingers while eating. It is usually small and folded, sometimes in intricate designs and shapes.

How many napkins do I need for 50 people? ›

For the meal, normally cloth napkins are provided by the venue or you might want to order guest towels or dinner napkins, about 1 per person is sufficient.

How many napkins do I need for 100 people? ›

If you aren't using cloth napkins at your meal tables, plan for 1.5 dinner or luncheon napkins per person. So if you have 100 guests, plan for 150 dinner napkins.

How much fabric do I need for 12 napkins? ›

54" fabric will yield 6 small dinner or 12 small luncheon napkins.

Why do restaurants use brown napkins? ›

These napkins are not only 100% recycled, the brown coloring serves as a reminder to patrons that the napkins they are using were not made with harsh chemical processes.

What kind of napkins do restaurants use? ›

While cotton is favored for its soft texture and high absorbency, polyester blends are the standard in the foodservice industry. Cotton cannot hold up through many rounds of commercial washing; polyester is durable and holds color well.

What size are most cloth napkins? ›

Although their sizes may vary, depending on their use, all cloth napkins are square. The most common sizes for table napkins are 12 inches by 12 inches, 14 inches by 14 inches, 18 inches by 18 inches, and 22 inches by 22 inches.

Why do restaurants use cloth napkins? ›

Switching to restaurant-quality napkins and tablecloths can reduce noise in your restaurant. The cloth acts as a barrier between noisy dishware and the table, and absorbs sound in general as there are fewer hard surfaces for sound to reverberate off.

How many types of napkins are there? ›

Disposable napkins usually come in 1-ply, 2-ply, or 3-ply, and the higher the ply-count, the more absorbent and high-quality they are. While 1-ply paper napkins might be more affordable, you will miss out on the soft, absorbent qualities of 2-ply or 3-ply napkins.

Are cloth napkins cheaper than paper? ›

Cloth Napkins Can Save You Money

Although you might think buying paper napkins in bulk can save you money, you're just adding more waste to your household. Cloth napkins will be a bit more expensive. You're looking at roughly $1, but thrift-store napkins can cost around $0.30.

What is the best ply for napkins? ›

We find that 2-ply napkins are the most popular type of napkin because they provide good value for money and suit a wide variety of settings. 3-ply napkins are full dinner plate sized napkins, larger than 2-ply napkins.

What weight linen is best for napkins? ›

Weighing in at 8.5 ounces per square yard, European linen is a middle weight linen that can be used for clothing and upholstery. This fabric has body, but still flows well. Irish linen is another great lightweight linen that weighs 6.7 ounces. This fabric is popular for bedspreads, tablecloths, and napkins.

What is the best type of table cloth? ›

Linen and Egyptian cotton are widely considered the finest materials for table linens because of their long, durable fibres. Once you've chosen the fabric, consider the color of your tablecloth and other table linen pieces. If you want a more formal look, choose plain white, off-white or ivory table linen.

Should you wash cloth napkins before using? ›

A: Washable fabrics are usually best washed before use, to remove any chemical residued used in the fabric's manufacture.

How often should you replace cloth napkins? ›

In our experience, daily use cloth napkins last for at least three years. The more sets you have in rotation, the longer each set will last.

What is the best size for a dinner napkin? ›

For Buffets or Place Settings we recommend the Dinner-sized napkins, which measure a generous 8 by 8 inches approximately and are available in many styles.

How do you wash cloth napkins? ›

All it takes is a good washing in cold water on the gentle cycle and finished off with a cold rinse to keep linen tablecloths and napkins happy. As with cotton, wash linen tablecloths and napkins with other linen items. Use a mild detergent. Then, let linen dry until almost dry then let air-dry or finish with an iron.

Who invented a napkin? ›

During the 15th century, the poor eating habits preoccupied Leonardo da Vinci and so he created a small tablecloth to clean the mouth and hands with, we call that now, the napkin.

Why is table napkin is important? ›

When dining, using your napkin properly is an important part of the experience. Not only is it handy for blotting spills and patting your mouth, but it is also essential when you need to clean your hands.

What is standard napkin? ›

The normal and most popular napkin size is approx. 45 × 45 cm. It is suitable for high demands in everyday life and will do justice to any kind of occasion. The usually somewhat cheaper and less demanding alternative are cloth napkins measuring 40 x 40 cm and smaller.

How many napkins do I need for a party of 40? ›

If you are serving a sit down meal, plan on 1-2 luncheon napkins for a daytime event or 1-2 dinner napkins for an evening affair per guest.

How many yards does it take to make 10 napkins? ›

Yardage Estimator: Napkins
12"15"
82/3 yd1-1/4 yd
101 yd1-2/3 yd
121 yd1-2/3 yd
141-1/3 yd1-2/3 yd
6 more rows

Is it cheaper to make your own napkins? ›

I love decorating our dinner table settings with beautiful linen napkins but with so many colours to choose from, the costs of buying multiple sets of napkins can really add up! This is when DIY can come in handy because napkins are actually really easy to make at home and it's cheaper to do so as well.

What are the 2 standard size of table napkin? ›

In terms of size, napkins can range from 12-inch squares for luncheon napkins to 18-inch squares for luxurious dinner napkins.

How many napkins can you make from a meter of fabric? ›

1 metre of fabric makes 4 napkins.

Why do Millennials not use napkins? ›

Millennials prefer convenience. While paper napkins seem to be useful when you're eating, they are a one-use tool. Instead, millennials are gravitating towards using paper towels instead of napkins.

What should we not do when using a napkin at the dinner? ›

Do not wipe your mouth with the napkin; instead, blot it. Your napkin should remain on your lap during the meal. If you need to leave the table temporarily, place your napkin in your chair and push your chair back under the table - this signals to the wait staff that you will be returning to the table.

Is it rude to put napkin on plate? ›

Don't place your cloth or paper napkin on your plate after eating. Don't place your napkin back on the table while others are still eating. Don't crumple your napkin. Do place your napkin on the seat of your chair when you leave the table during a meal.

Why do restaurants have black napkins? ›

At the start of the meal your waiter may ask if you'd prefer a “black napkin.” You're wearing black pants or a black skirt or dress. Some people worry that a white napkin will leave white lint on those black clothes. So, some restaurants have black napkins available to avoid this possibility.

What are American napkins? ›

(ˈnæpkɪn) noun. 1. a small piece of cloth or paper, usually square, for use in wiping the lips and fingers and to protect the clothes while eating.

Do people still buy napkins? ›

The use of paper napkins has been declining for 20 years. According to Georgia-Pacific statistics, six out of 10 households purchased paper napkins on a regular basis 15 years ago; today it's slightly more than four out of 10.

What kind of fabric makes the best cloth napkins? ›

Note: It's best to use 100% cotton or linen as they will be most absorbent, but a blend with at least 80% natural fiber will work too and will require less ironing.

Which is better cotton or polyester napkins? ›

While cotton is favored for its soft texture and high absorbency, polyester blends are the standard in the foodservice industry. Cotton cannot hold up through many rounds of commercial washing; polyester is durable and holds color well.

Is it cheaper to make or buy cloth napkins? ›

The cost per year of making your own cloth napkins and washing them with your regular laundry is essentially zero, whereas purchasing nicer cloth napkins and rags, and washing them separately, is comparable to purchasing paper products over the long term. The longer you use them, the lower the overall cost.

Is it better to use cloth or paper napkins? ›

One of the biggest advantages that reusable napkins have over paper napkins is sustainability. Not only do they have longer lifespans (and more usage per item) than paper, but they are also more effective to use.

How Big Should cloth napkins be? ›

Here are the approximate standard napkin sizes, in inches:

Formal: 22-26 inches square. Dinner: 18-20 inches square. Lunch: 14 inches square. Tea or Kids: 12 inches square.

What is the best color for table napkin? ›

napkin color and design

Napkins at a formal meal should match the color of the tablecloth (generally ivoy or white).

How often should you wash your cloth napkins? ›

As much as you might want a hard-and-fast rule here, I'm sorry to say it doesn't exist. Unfortunately, I can't tell you to wash them after every three meals, or after every pasta dinner. The best advice I can give you is to check them out after each meal.

Should you wash cloth napkins before using them? ›

A: Washable fabrics are usually best washed before use, to remove any chemical residued used in the fabric's manufacture.

How long can you use cloth napkins? ›

I would estimate that most of my daily-use cloth napkins last about 5-7 years. Some hold up longer than others. But the great thing about cloth napkins is once they are too stained or dingey for everyday use, they can still be put to good use.

What makes napkins strong? ›

A three-ply napkin has higher wet strength. It resists breaking better than its one-ply counterpart. More fibers = more strength. More strength = fewer tiny pieces of tissue to coat your sticky hands during a messy meal.

Videos

1. Holiday Napkins - (Facebook Live 11/2/18)
(Pro World)
2. Just say NO to paper towels! How we use cloth napkins!
(Gooseberry Bridge Farm)
3. 12 Fancy Napkin Folds - Easy Napkin Folding Tutorials - Year in Review - Episode 13
(Epic Napkin Folding)
4. How to Make Cloth Napkins | A Shabby Fabrics Sewing Tutorial
(Shabby Fabrics)
5. Going Through my Table Linens, Cloth Napkins, Placemat's, and Dish Towel Collection
(Only-In-My-Dreams *)
6. Cloth Napkin Revival
(Food for the Ages)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 11/14/2022

Views: 6201

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.