We have a softwood table, which pretty much requires a tablecloth to reduce scratches and dings.

I've tried plastic and cloth tablecloths, and neither are easy to clean after the kids have had their way with dinner.

  • What other options do I have?
  • Any tips on cleaning?
  • Do you use a table covering, and if so how do you deal with this issue?

asked 06 Mar '10, 16:25

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%

For those curious, we have 5 boys, age 1 to 10, so it's never cleaning just one or two seats worth. Thankfully the floor is hardwood, so that's not as bad...

(06 Mar '10, 16:27) Adam Davis

+1 sounds like a dream... :-)

(06 Mar '10, 17:38) Emi

Just as a thought, how about using easy to clean/wipe down place mats that you could use with table cloths, this way you may avoid/reduce spillage stains. you should be able to get them in large dpt stores in many different colours & styles.

(06 Mar '10, 17:53) Emi

I'm the youngest of 5 myself, and what my Mom did was give in to it.
She bought about 10 inexpensive cotton table clothes and made a rule that whoever cleared the table after supper took the table cloth off the table and put on a new one on from the stack of them in the side-board. We then had to just put it with the laundry, and they got washed with the dish clothes and towels.

I don't remember them ever being too badly stained, which is some kind of miracle between 5 kids eating spagetti and the fact that my Dad's special talent was for tipping over beverages. (He did it every night for a month once. It was never intentional, just one of those things.)


answered 06 Mar '10, 16:45

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

+1 practical having so many table cloths!

(06 Mar '10, 17:41) Emi

This appeals to me, but we already have a lot of laundry!

(07 Mar '10, 00:23) Adam Davis

Aaand that's why my table has a butcher block top (I decided the hell with style, what can't the kids wreck about 15 years ago, and I only had 2 boys at that point). When the divets and fork gouges get bad I just sand it and revarnish. I think my Mom didn't mind 'cause I grew up on a farm and the linens were the "easy" laundry. (A lot lighter to haul wet out of the washer than my Dad's overalls, and they smelt a whole lot better, too!)

(07 Mar '10, 03:54) Neen

We have two oilcloth table cloths - and they're great. Nice and durable, and they wipe down incredibly easily.

Our ones are Cath Kidston ones.

EDIT: My wife has informed me that in the US this is also known as "American cloth".


answered 06 Mar '10, 17:29

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%

+1 Cath Kidston products are great! Available online too :)

(06 Mar '10, 17:35) Emi

I'll have to look into that. Do you wash them in the laundry once in awhile, or just wipe them down at the table?

(07 Mar '10, 00:22) Adam Davis

We just wipe them down. I've no idea if they even can be laundered, but we've certainly never had to. They're not hugely cheap, but you can get them cut to the size you need, and they seem to last very well.

(07 Mar '10, 08:38) Jon Skeet

Have you considered getting a glass top for the wooden table? That is what we have done. We got safety/toughened glass. We got it from a glass company over 5 years ago.

We don't normally use a table cloth. I just wipe down the glass top after meals. You do have to occassionally clean under the glass.

It copes with hot drinks but I use mats under dishes out of the oven. Our glass has survived a couple of moves.


answered 06 Mar '10, 18:35

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

That sounds like a great idea, but it's an expanding table, so taking the glass off to expand it or retract it sounds like something I'd want to avoid. Maybe get a few smaller sections of glass. I'll have to think about that a bit more...

(07 Mar '10, 00:13) Adam Davis

I would agree it may not work with an expanding table.

(07 Mar '10, 03:10) K D

I got a flyer in the mail today from Bed Bath & Beyond advertising a new type of table cloth made out of water bottles! Sounds intriguing. They come in multiple sizes at reasonable prices...plus you can use a coupon. :)

It advertises that liquid spills bead up, but solid messiness may be a different story, I donno.


answered 09 Mar '10, 07:33

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

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Asked: 06 Mar '10, 16:25

Seen: 8,736 times

Last updated: 09 Mar '10, 07:33