Can You Wash Wipe Clean Tablecloths?

Can You Wash Wipe Clean Tablecloths?

When your wipe clean table gets dirty you may think the easiest option is to throw it in the wash.

However, not all wipe clean tablecloths can be washed.

Washing can damage certain wipe clean tablecloths and ruin the wipe clean surface.

Knowing if you can wash your wipe clean tablecloth depends on the type you have.

This guide will run through the different types and if they can be washed or not.

1. Oilcloth Tablecloths

Can you wash oilcloth tablecloths? No. They should be wipe cleaned only.

One of the most popular types of wipe clean tablecloths is oilcloth, which are sometimes referred to as PVC tablecloths.

Oilcloths can not be washed as the PVC layer will get damaged and most likely crack.

The PVC layer is designed only to be wiped clean. You can usually spray household cleaners to remove any spills.

We sell a range of oilcloths which you can find here.

How To Identify If You Have An Oilcloth Tablecloth

Oilcloths are made from two layers:

  1. The base fabric – This is made from 100% cotton. The underside is usually white and is uncoated and untreated. The top side is where the design is printed on to.
  2. The top coating – This is a clear PVC coating. It usually a gloss or matt finish and can feel a little thick and has a plastic feel to it.
Underside of oilcloth

2. Vinyl PVC Tablecloths

Can you wash PVC tablecloths? No. They should be wipe cleaned only.

PVC tablecloths are often confused, or interchangeably used with oilcloth. This is because they both contain PVC.

Vinyl PVC Tablecloths can not be washed as the vinyl design will wear away and the fabric will most likely tear.

How To Identify If You Have A Vinyl PVC Tablecloth

The difference is oilcloth has a cotton base layer where as vinyl PVC has no base fabric or just a non woven backing attached to the underside. There is no protective coating on the top layer.

It feels and looks flimsier than any other type of wipe clean tablecloth. You will usually find it is the cheapest wipe clean tablecloth you can buy too.

Underside of vinyl PVC

3. Acrylic & Teflon Tablecloths

Can you wash acrylic tablecloths? Yes. They can be machined washed and wipe cleaned.

Acrylic tablecloths are the only type of wipe clean tablecloth that can be machined washed. You can learn more on how to care for your acrylic tablecloth here.

Acrylic or Teflon tablecloths are popular due to the natural feel they provide. While not stain-proof, they do offer some stain-resistant properties over other wipe clean tablecloths thanks to the manufacturing and coating processes they go through.

Note: Not acrylic tablecloths are made equal, and there are cheap versions on the market. So check the care instructions from the retailer you purchased from.

At Simply Tablecloths, we only sell quality acrylic tablecloths that undergo multiple industrial processes and various raw materials are used to create the finished product.

You can see our wipe clean acrylic coated range here.

How To Identify If You Have An Acrylic Tablecloth

Acrylic tablecloths can usually be identified by the feel of them. They have a much softer feel than oilcloth or PVC and don’t feel so plasticky.

The base layer is a woven fabric made from a poly-cotton blend which is Teflon treated, and is finished with two layers of acrylic to produce a durable wipe clean finish.

While this sounds like a lot of layers, the end results is actually thinner than say a oilcloth which is why it feels more like a natural tablecloth.


Make sure you know what type of wipe clean tablecloth you have before you decide to just throw it in the wash.

If you are really unsure, just contact us with images of the top and underside of the fabric and we will do our best to help you.