Wipeclean Fabric Comparison

We often get asked what is the difference between our wipe clean fabrics, so we put together a quick comparison chart for you to easily see the features of each one.

Comparison Table

Feature Teflon Oilcloth Vinyl
Price From £19.50 p/m £13.99 p/m £7.99 p/m
Wipe Clean Yes Yes Yes
Base Fabric Poly-cotton 100% cotton None
Coatings Teflon + acylic PVC None
Max Widths 160cm 132cm 140cm
Finish Matt Gloss + Matt Matt
Machine Washable Yes No No
Edge Finish Yes Optional Optional

What is oilcloth?

Oilcloth is a tightly woven fabric, usually cotton or linen, which is then treated on one side to give it a waterproof finish. The coating traditionally was linseed oil, but is now more commercially sold with a PVC coating.

What is the difference between oilcloth and PVC tablecloth?

If you do not know much about the different types of wipe clean fabrics available on the market, then you can be easily confused by the terms that get bandied about, especially when people interchange the terms.

It is true that both products are made from PVC which adds to the confusion, however side by side there is a huge difference.

The base fabric

The first major difference is that oilcloth has a base fabric of 100% cotton, whereas PVC tablecloth has none. Just a white non-woven backing.

All oilcloth designs get printed on to the top layer of the cotton fabric, ready for coating.

The coating

This is where a lot of the confusion comes from when describing fabrics as both use PVC in the process.

After the cotton fabric has been printed on to, it then gets a clear gloss coating of PVC to protect the cotton and print. Leaving a strong wipe clean finish.

PVC starts out as just plain white vinyl, which is then printed to create various patterns and designs. There is no coating process to protect the print, which is why these fabrics fade with time, due to wear.

In summary, oilcloth has a clear PVC coating to protect the cotton base, while PVC is just plain vinyl PVC which is then printed on to.

How to tell the difference

The easiest way to tell without actually feeling the fabric is by looking at the price. Oilcloth is more expensive than PVC – almost twice the price.

In the UK, quality oilcloth typically sells for around £12-15 per meter depending on where you buy from.

Any place claiming to sell oilcloth at a lower price than this (normally around the £10 p/m mark) is probably selling you a lower quality, thinner version. Which we know exists on the market. So just be mindful if the quality is important to you.

If you had both in your hand you would notable tell that oilcloth is a thicker and more durable fabric.

Another sign that you are looking at oilcloth when looking up close, is that the design appears to be underneath the coating. Whereas with vinyl PVC, you can quite clearly see the design on the very surface.

What is Teflon?

Teflon (PTFE) technology, owned by DuPont, is a strong synthetic resin used in coating processes which has many applications. It’s most popular use is in home cookware, where it provides a non-stick solution to cooking pans.

If you want to find out how Teflon protects your tablecloth, take a look at our guide here.