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There’s nothing wrong with paper napkins, but there’s something about cloth alternatives that make your table feel that much more special—but you don't have to feel like they're just for special occasions. Reusable cloth napkins are also more sustainable than their paper counterparts, and can be a great way to cut down on your household's waste. There are tons of great options for everyday use, as well as more sophisticated choices for those fancy dinner parties and holidays.
Here, the best cloth napkins for holidays, special occasions, and everyday:
A great dinner napkin should have two main characteristics: It should be durable, but aesthetically-pleasing. This set of 12 cotton dinner napkins scores points for both, pushing it to the number one spot on our list.
The napkins are made from a premium blend of 65 percent pure cotton and 35 percent polyester. This ensures the material is both soft to the touch and strong enough for everyday use. The blend of materials also means the napkins are wrinkle-resistant, so there’s no need to take the iron out after washing—a great perk, especially if you’re planning for everyday use. Bonus: They’re also fade- and stain-resistant to ensure they go the distance, even with such heavy usage.
There’s no shortage of colors to choose from either. Pick from a wide range of hues, from your standard black or white to navy or olive.
Think of these cloth napkins an elevated staple. With hemmed edges and a seamless construction, they’re just as attractive and durable as other restaurant quality options. But here’s the best part: They’re way more affordable than your average cloth napkin. Because of the great price, these durable polyester napkins are just as suitable for casual everyday family dinners as they are for special meals like Thanksgiving with the extended family.
Choose from over 20 color options to suit your decor. No matter which shade you choose, one thing’s for sure: They’ll hold up through repeated heavy use. Plus, they’re stain- and wrinkle-resistant, so you’ll need to expend minimal effort to keep your set looking great.
This set of four cotton napkins are sustainably handwoven with premium Ethiopian cotton. The result is an incredibly soft napkin that’s also thick and strong, making it durable enough to stand up to regular use. They’re even machine-washable, so there’s no need to spend excess time or money handwashing or sending them to the dry cleaner.
Despite the functionality, the linens have an air of elegance to them that you don’t get with other options (hence the one downside: the price tag). Each napkin has a thin contrasting stripe that adds just enough visual interest to separate the set from others you’re browsing—without clashing with your decor.
Cloth napkins are inherently eco-friendly. Just think of all the paper you’re saving by not using disposables or paper towels meal after meal! But there are some cloth napkins, like these beauties, that you can feel even better about.
These reusable cotton napkins are made by a company called The Organic Company (as if the name doesn’t say it all!) and are constructed ethically with high-quality GOTS-certified cotton. What exactly does that mean? Manufacturers limit the use of toxic bleaches, dyes, and other chemicals during production. Isn’t that exactly what you’d want when putting fabric to your mouth?
Still, the napkins don’t sacrifice in terms of aesthetics. Choose from one of four neutral shades—gray, white, tan, and dark gray. No matter which you choose, each set of four comes with a built-in cutlery strap. No fancy folding required.
When you really want to impress—like for, say, a sit-down dinner party or a holiday meal—linen is the way to go. There’s something about the soft, natural fabric that just feels so much more sophisticated.
This set from West Elm is no different. The 100 percent Belgian flax set of four napkins are pre-washed for a luxurious, lived-in look from day one. And they only get softer with age.
Choose from nine gorgeous shades—there’s something to suit every style—and add a monogram if you’d like that extra personalized touch. (The set makes a great housewarming gift this way, too.)
If you want to add cloth napkins to your regular rotation, but can’t bear the thought of the fuss associated with ironing them after each wash, consider this set your match. These napkins are constructed from an anti-wrinkle polyester that makes washing and folding a breeze.
They're a solid choice when it comes to looks, too. The napkins, which have crisp, serged edges, come in one of the most vast ranges of color choices we’ve seen. You have your pick from 40 different options, ranging from muted staples to vibrant accents for theme parties.
This napkin set proves that just because you want the elegance of linen doesn’t mean you have to deal with dingy napkins after the first use. We love the bold colors and rich neutrals available at Linoto, as well as the fact that the material is stain-resistant, so you don't have to spend more time cleaning your napkins than you did enjoying your meal.
The sturdy napkins have that sophisticated, lived-in vibe you get from linen, and they'll continue to get softer the more you wash them. This means your beloved set will be more likely to last for years on end—even if they become your everyday favorites.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect monogrammed set, you don’t have to look any further than Mark & Graham. The retailer, known for its extensive roster of personalized items, has its fair share of options, including this gorgeous linen set.
The set of four comes in five color choices—all are a beautiful natural linen, but the color difference comes in the delicately stitched border. There’s no shortage of monogram options, too. Of course, you can opt for the standard three initial marking, but you can also opt for more inspired designs, like a single initial inside of a beautiful geometric design.
When the standard options just don’t seem large enough to cover your lap comfortably, turn to this oversized set by Pottery Barn. They have all of the same characteristics of other great linen napkins—soft, sturdy material detailed with a wide hem—just much bigger.
At 22 inches around, you’ll have plenty of coverage, so no spills or splatters will end up on your holiday finest. As a bonus, the set of four is available in a wide range of 10 muted shades that will suit just about any decor style. Plus, for a small extra charge, each napkin can be monogrammed—a great choice if you’re gifting the set.
Absorbency The primary purpose of a cloth napkin is to soak up anything that might find its way into your lap, so absorbency is the key factor, here. Look for soft napkins that have plenty of surface area for your guests to use as they enjoy your meal—without wearing it.
Material Cloth napkins are typically made of natural fibers that are soft and absorbent—and for this reason, they're often made from cotton. However, linen napkins are also popular for their luxury look, though be aware that these napkins will take extra ironing time for a wrinkle-free appearance. Silk-like napkins in lustrous polyester are also an option for elegant affairs.
Embellishments Consider adding a little something extra to your cloth napkins to really elevate your table setting. Two of the most popular embellishments are monograms and decorative stitching—like the popular hemstitch that forms a border between the napkin and its wide edge. Other options include embroidery, tassels, or lace detailing.