outdoor picnic with green  vinyl tablecloth

Tips & Tricks: Vinyl Tablecloths

Written by: Aslihan Yilmaz



Time to read 4 min


Vinyl tablecloths have gained popularity for their durability, easy maintenance, and aesthetic versatility. If you're considering using vinyl tablecloths but have questions about their safety, maintenance, and reusability, read along.

ūüí° Did you know

Vinyl tablecloths are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) material which is known for its waterproof and stain-resistant properties. PVC is a popular choice for tablecloths due to its ability to protect your table from spills and stains.

Types of Vinyl Tablecloths

Regular Vinyl Tablecloths

These are made entirely of vinyl without any additional backing. They are typically more lightweight and flexible, making them suitable for casual use and easy to clean. They are designed to protect your table from spills and stains while offering a wide range of colors and patterns to suit different décor styles.

Flannel Backed Vinyl Tablecloths

Flannel backed vinyl tablecloths  combine a vinyl top layer with a soft flannel backing. These have a layer of flannel fabric on the underside. The flannel backing provides prevents slipping and offers extra protection for the table surface. This construction not only provides excellent protection against spills and stains but also adds a layer of softness and stability to your table settings.

family picnic outdoors

How to Get Stains Out of Vinyl Tablecloths

To remove stains from vinyl tabelcloths, using soap and water will do the job. For difficult stains such as ink stains, you may use a dab of nail polish remover to treat the stain.

  • For Food Stains: Wipe with a mixture of mild soap and water. For tougher stains, use a baking soda paste.

  • For Grease Stains: Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain and rub gently with a soft cloth.

  • For Ink or Marker Stains: Dab with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball, then wipe clean.

  • For Stubborn Stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub gently.

What Causes Stains on Vinyl?

ūüí¶¬†Spills from food items like sauces, oils, or drinks can leave stains on vinyl surfaces if not promptly cleaned. Residue from cooking oils, greasy foods, or cosmetic products can leave stains on vinyl surfaces. Certain chemicals, such as harsh cleaning agents or solvents, can discolor or stain vinyl surfaces if used improperly.

Can You Reuse Vinyl Tablecloths?

Yes, vinyl tablecloths are reusable. With proper care, they can last through multiple uses. After each use, wipe them clean with a damp cloth and store them flat or rolled to prevent creases. 

How Long Do Vinyl Tablecloths Last?

A ballpark estimate for the lifespan of a vinyl tablecloth would be approximately 2 to 5 years. This range accounts for variations in quality, maintenance practices, frequency of use, and environmental factors that can affect durability.

outdoor picnic with friends

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Tablecloths


  • Waterproof: Made from PVC, vinyl tablecloths are waterproof, providing excellent protection against spills and making them easy to wipe clean.

  • Stain-Resistant: The non-porous surface of vinyl resists stains, allowing for easy cleaning with a damp cloth or mild soap.

  • Cost-Effective: Vinyl tablecloths are generally affordable, making them an economical choice for both everyday use and special events.


  • Heat Sensitivity:¬†Vinyl can be damaged by high heat. Ironing directly on vinyl is not recommended, and hot items should not be placed on vinyl tablecloths.

  • Environmental Impact:¬†PVC is not biodegradable and can have a negative environmental impact.¬†

  • Potential for Discoloration: Over time, exposure to sunlight and certain chemicals can cause vinyl to discolor or become brittle.

Can Vinyl Tablecloths Be Ironed?

No,  vinyl tablecloths  should not be ironed. However, to smooth out wrinkles, you can place a towel on top and iron it on low heat. The heat can damage the vinyl, causing it to melt or warp. If wrinkles are present, gently smooth them out by laying the tablecloth flat in the sun or using a hairdryer on a low setting. If the only option is ironing, make sure to do it on low heat.

iron with green bottom black background
 Image by  Macros Ramirez

Can Vinyl Table Covers Get Wet?

Vinyl is waterproof and can withstand exposure to water without getting damaged. This makes it a popular choice for various applications where water resistance is important, such as outdoor furniture upholstery, rain gear, and even certain types of flooring. The waterproof nature of vinyl fabric is due to its synthetic composition, typically made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or similar materials, which repels water rather than absorbing it.

Can Vinyl Tablecloths Be Washed?

yellow laundromat Image by  Anca Gabriela Zosin

In general, vinyl table covers shouldn't be machine washed like regular clothes. However, you may put it on gentle cycle and wash in cold water once in a while. For everyday maintenance, it's enough to wipe spills with a damp cloth or sponge. For deeper cleaning, wash with mild soap and water, then rinse thoroughly and air dry. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers, as these can damage the vinyl.


Vinyl tablecloths offer a practical solution for protecting your table with style. They are safe when chosen wisely, easy to maintain, reusable, and simple to clean. Whether for everyday meals or special occasions, vinyl tablecloths provide both functionality and aesthetic appeal, making them a versatile choice for any home.

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