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Whether you’re looking for ways to make your home easier to clean or prevent items from shifting around in your cupboards, shelf liners are a worthwhile investment. When nicely spread along the bottom of your storage spots, they're a long-lasting solution to your daily gripes, like your favorite pot knocking into another or your cleaning supplies falling over while you're traveling in a camper. You no longer have to worry about your items, or shelves, becoming unnecessarily dirty or dinged.
“Shelf liners help protect your shelves, are easier to clean, and also help grip your items into place to prevent items from sliding around,” says Hannah Goetz—a professional organizer and owner of Hannah Goetz Organizing. Goetz recommends applying them to kitchen drawers and cabinets, or under-the-sink cabinets in your home. Pantry shelves and bathroom drawers, which are typically used to neatly store accessories and tubes of toothpaste, can also be great shelf liner locations.
Before you start lining every shelf in your space, though, know this: there are lots of shelf liners out there to choose from, and you’ll want to consider the appearance and durability of the liners as you shop. Some liners are meant to be used as a decorative accent, while others have a more utilitarian design. It’s also important to select ones that will fit your shelves, or can be easily cut into the right size.
Here, the best shelf liners to help tidy up your home.
Best Overall: Duck Smooth Top EasyLiner
Dimensions: 12 inches x 20 feet | Material: Vinyl | Color: White | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Easy to slide items across
Initial plastic smell
Grooves are not always even
The Smooth Top EasyLiner is a simple, affordable, and effective option for your home’s shelves and drawers. The white vinyl material comes in 12 and 20-inch widths in order to fit most standard cabinets, and is very durable in the face of dishes, pots, pans, and your bathroom products. It has a non-adhesive grip on the bottom, to keep the liner in place. Notably, this grip doesn't leave sticky residue behind. (Although, there is usually an initial plastic-like smell you need to deal with.)
The product's smooth top makes it easy to slide items across the surface as well. You'll notice that it, for the most part, stays in its place and is also easy to clean thanks to its machine washable nature. You can run it through a cold wash cycle, if it ever develops grime. The only "downside" to this product is the grooves you'd cut along aren't always even. To get a perfect rectangle, you may need to settle with a slightly angled design.
Best Budget: Duck Select Grip EasyLiner Shelf and Drawer Liner
Dimensions: 12 inches x 10 feet | Material: Plastic | Color: Light grey | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Has several potential uses
Grip is inconsistent
Doesn't contain spills
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution to keep your shelves organized and very clean, the Select Grip EasyLiner is a great pick for you. It comes in both 12 and 20-inch widths that are 10 and 6 feet long respectively. The light grey plastic provides a grippy surface that will keep shelf contents in place. In fact, it's reliable and strong enough to also hold couch cushions, mattresses, and bathroom rugs in place, and aid in opening sticky jar lids.
The liner is also easy to cut with a pair of kitchen scissors and the woven construction provides cushioning for items placed on top. It can stick to the surface of a cabinet, or the items you place on it, and lose its placement on the shelf. If there's a big mess, the liner won't contain spills either, but can be tossed in your washer. Ultimately, its value is hard to beat, even if its performance could be a bit better.
Best Non-Adhesive: The Container Store Natural Cotton Canvas Liner
Dimensions: 16 inches x 5 feet | Material: Cotton canvas with a PVC backing | Color: Natural | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Stays in its place well
Won’t snag clothing
On the expensive side
Edges can fray
The Natural Cotton Canvas Liner is as attractive as it is functional, making it a helpful addition to your home. Made from premium cotton canvas with a PVC-lined (polyvinyl chloride) backing, this liner doesn't have any adhesive, but stays in its place well. Each roll is 16 inches wide and 5 feet long, so you can line many shelves with the pricey yet effective product.
Since the liner has a smooth fabric surface, it won’t snag delicate clothes, too, making it particularly ideal for linen closets or dresser drawers. If you'd like to tailor the liner to your needs, guiding lines will help you make cuts. A pair of kitchen scissors is typically strong enough to cut through the natural-looking and very attractive fabric. Now, the edges can fray, especially when you're resizing the liner. For a clean look, you need to address these frays after each cut or stick to tucking the liner into a drawer.
Best Adhesive: Duck EasyLiner Adhesive Solids White Shelf Liner
Dimensions: 12 inches x 15 feet | Material: Vinyl | Color: White | Adhesive Type: Adhesive
Guidelines for cutting
Can be wiped clean
Blocks moisture and dirt
Can be tricky to install
If you have ongoing issues with shelf liners sliding around in your cupboards, then the EasyLiner Adhesive Shelf Liner is for you. It has a sticky backing that keeps it in place, but is also removable, in case you’re using it in a rental. The simple white liner is made from vinyl, and features guidelines on the back for easy measuring and to help you cut in straight lines. You can just wipe it clean, and feel confident that it blocks moisture or dirt.
The Duck brand shelf liner comes in rolls that are 20 inches wide and 30 feet long. You will likely have ample material to complete your project, but will want to give yourself a good amount of time to install the product in your space, as the adhesive backing can be more complicated. You may notice when installing the liner that it's not super thick. Notably, the liner can be used for decorating, resurfacing tables and counters, or even crafting with die cutting machines like a Cricut. However, when resurfacing, know that it's most effective at covering scratches—not dark spots and holes.
Best Paper: The Container Store The Container Store Unscented Shelf and Drawer Liner
Dimensions: 18 inches x 2 feet | Material: Paper | Color: White | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Easy to cut through
Corners may curl initially
Paper shelf liners are both simple and affordable, and the Unscented Shelf and Drawer Liners are some of the highest quality ones you can bring into your home. These white liners are made from a luxuriously thick paper and come in packs of six. (Each piece of the paper liner measures 18 x 24 inches.) They're a great fit for linen closets, bathroom drawers, and more, and you can trim them down to size using kitchen scissors.
Not to mention, the liners are unscented. However, if you want to keep your clothes or linens smelling fresh, you can use fragrance spray on the paper when you install them or slip a dryer sheet underneath. The corners may curl at first, and require some extra handling and care at the time of installation. Apply your own adhesive at the points or lay a heavy book on top of the liner for a few hours to fix this issue.
Best Cork: Con-Tact Natural Cork Self-Adhesive Shelf Liner
Dimensions: 18 inches x 4 feet | Material: Cork | Color: Natural cork | Adhesive Type: Self-adhesive and removable
Easy to cut
Absorbs oil and grease
Very curled up at first
There's something to be said for cork liners. They look very attractive, and the material can help absorb oils and grease, making them the perfect fit for a cabinet with kitchen utensils and cooking products. These shelf liners come in rolls that are 12 or 18 inches wide and 4 feet long, and have a surface made from natural cork. All in all, they have a similar look and feel to a cork board you'd hang up in your office or dorm room.
Notably, a self-adhesive backing works to keep the liners in place on your shelves or in your drawers. The spongey material prevents items from scratching the surface below as well. If you have extra laying around your space after your project has wrapped, you can use the product for all sorts of different purposes, such as crafting chair leg pads. Despite being made of cork, the liner is easy to cut. However, it's not thick enough for crafting a cork board, and may be super curled up at first.
Best Clear: Anoak Non-Adhesive Cabinet Liner
Dimensions: 17.5 inches x 20 feet | Material: Ethylene-vinyl acetate | Color: Clear | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Blends into cabinets
Items don't slip easily
Won’t curl at corners
Difficult to cut
Can be difficult to clean
For discreet shelf liners, consider the Anoak Non-Adhesive Cabinet Liners, which have a transparent design that helps them blend into your space. They're made from food-grade EVA—also known as ethylene-vinyl acetate—which gives them a similar texture to rubber. They're available in rolls that are 12 or 17.5 inches wide, and 20 feet long.
What really sets these liners apart from others is they can be used on regular shelving and wire shelving. To install them, simply trim them with a utility knife or a heavy-duty pair of scissors (This task may take some elbow grease.) to the correct size. They have a ribbed texture on both sides for a better grip. This texture can make cleaning harder, but also prevents any kind of slipping from happening on a day-to-day basis.
Best Rubber: Gorilla Grip Original Drawer and Shelf Liner
Dimensions: 12 inches x 20 feet | Material: Not listed | Color: Beige | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Several sizes and colors
Easy to clean
Can bunch up on shelves
Grooves are not always even
The Gorilla Grip Original Drawer and Shelf Liner is made from a rubber-like material that provides superior grip, and keeps objects from sliding around on your shelves. The open-grid construction is reversible, and also grips to the surface underneath, without any need for adhesive. It’s easy to trim using basic kitchen scissors, (You'll notice the grooves are not always even, though.) and easy to clean. To clean it, just wipe down the material with a damp cloth and mild soap as needed.
Notably, the squishy liner will ultimately prevent items from scratching your shelves and can be used for other applications, as well, such as opening jars and cushioning cutting boards. If your shelves are large or small, there's also a variation for you. This product comes in several widths, including 12, 16, 17.5, 20, and 24 inches. It's not the best at staying put on shelves, but is very durable which is key. Plus, there's a variety of colors and patterns to choose from.
Best for Wire: ClosetMaid 1127 Shelf Liner Roll
Dimensions: 12 inches x 10 feet | Material: High-density polyethylene plastic | Color: Clear | Adhesive Type: Locking
Easy to clean
Corners can roll up initially
Tabs are not ideal for cutting
If you have wire shelving in your home, Goetz says it’s extremely helpful to buy shelf liners. “I highly recommend shelf liners, especially when you have wired shelving, to help create a solid surface and keep dirt or crumbs from falling through,” says Goetz. The ClosetMaid Shelf Liner roll is ideal for this application, as the plastic material has locking tabs that keep it in place on wire shelving. The liner is also made from heavy-duty vinyl, and is easy to clean if there's ever a spill.
Rolls are available in both 12 and 16-inch widths. You can cut it down to size using a standard pair of scissors. Before purchasing, you'll want to be aware of the fact that the corners can roll up at first, making the product difficult to install. If and when you resize the product, the tab placemat can also make cutting difficult. It's most suitable for a space that fits the dimensions right from the get-go.
Best Decorative: Smart Design Shelf Liner
Dimensions: 12 inches x 10 feet | Material: Not listed | Color: Multiple patterns and colors | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Can be tailored to your style
Easy to clean
Slips around its surface
Small selection of sizes
If you’re covering open shelving or frequently used drawers, you might want a shelf liner that’s more decorative. The Smart Design Shelf Liner is definitely the way to go. This protective liner comes in a wide range of pretty patterns—including options for every style of decor from farmhouse to kids' bedroom and fashionista's closet. Rolls are 12 inches wide and 10 feet long, but there are also other size options if this isn't going to work for your space.
This attractive shelf liner is easy to cut into any shape or size you desire, and it can even be washed if it gets particularly dirty. (Thanks to a plastic-like material on top, you can even wipe up small spills in between larger cleans.) A downside? There's no adhesion, so this shelf liner will slip around if it's not stuck to the surface with either tape or another self-made adhesive.
Best Specialty: Drymate Premium XL Under The Sink Mat
Dimensions: 24 inches x 4.92 feet | Material: Polyester | Color: Indigo | Adhesive Type: Non-adhesive
Edges don't fray
Made with recycled materials
On the expensive side
Smaller than you'd expect
For cabinets, shelves, or spaces prone to moisture, you can protect your surface with the Drymate Premium Under The Sink Mat. The super heavy-duty liner is made from a patented material that absorbs moisture and wicks it away from the surface below. In doing so, it prevents any liquids from soaking through, and ruining the shelves or floor below. These mats come in three different sizes, as well as several patterns that'll help you add style and function to your space.
You can cut them to fit your cabinet and the edges won’t fray. Not to mention, you can machine or hand-wash the mats to keep the material clean and looking brand new. An added bonus is the product is made with recycled materials, which justifies the higher price tag for some. It can also give you a sense of relief when installed next to a water-loving appliance, whether it be a dishwasher, washing machine, or refrigerator with an ice and water dispenser.
What to Look for in Shelf Liners
When looking for the right shelf liner for your space, material is everything. It can determine how your items are stored, how your liners are installed, how you need to maintain the liners, and the overall style of your space. “People should factor in the material and color when selecting a shelf liner for aesthetic and function,” says Goetz. “Some examples are clear plastic, solid grip, beaded grip, and decorative paper liners, which are purely for design." Goetz mentions that grip liners will be the most functional and really prevent items from sliding around, but plastic liners have lots of notable perks, as well. "Plastic liners are great to protect shelves, and if you want them to blend in and clean easily.”
Start by considering where you want to use the shelf liners. If you’re planning to use them on open shelving where they’ll be seen, you may want to opt for decorative paper liners. Next, consider the items that'll be placed on them. Clothes will need a surface that's smooth and snag-free, while the glasses in your kitchen may need something that's moisture-wicking.
When it comes to shelf liners, there are two main adhesion types: adhesive and non-adhesive. As you might be able to guess, adhesive liners have a sticky material on the back that keeps them in place. However, this is naturally a more permanent solution and can leave residue on your shelves when removed. If you're renting, adhesive liners may not be the best option for you. Non-adhesive liners, on the other hand, usually have some type of non-slip material on the bottom to keep them in place. However, they can still be shifted if heavy objects are dragged across them.
Some liners are removable or self-adhesive. A removable shelf liner is adhesive, but won't typically leave damage or residue behind. Self-adhesive shelf liners give you the option to add adhesion, or not.
When you’re shopping for shelf liners, you’ll want to measure the width and depth of the shelf or drawer where you plan to use them. Many shelf liners on the market are 12, 18, or 20 inches wide. Choosing the proper size will save you a lot of work during installation, as you won't likely need to measure, cut, and resize the product yourself. Taking into account the depth of your shelves will also ensure you purchase enough product to complete your project.
Why do you need a shelf liner?
Shelf liners can serve several purposes in your home. When used in pantry or kitchen cabinets, liners make it easy to clean up crumbs and spills, all while protecting the wood or shelf material underneath. When paired with wire shelving, a sturdy liner will prevent small items from falling through the cracks, making the shelving easier to use.
In addition, some shelf liners have features, such as a grippy surface, that prevents items from shifting around. This is particularly ideal for those living in an RV or camper, as the liner will stop items from moving around and breaking while you're on the go. Finally, some shelf liners have a purely decorative purpose, and add a pop of visual interest to open shelving or frequently used drawers.
Can wallpaper be used as a shelf liner?
If you can’t find a shelf liner that speaks to your style, you can also use peel-and-stick wallpaper to line your drawers. Most wallpapers are made from a similar vinyl material, and its sticky backing will keep it in place. However, just keep in mind that wallpaper typically isn’t designed to be washed or get wet, so it may not be as easy to maintain as a true shelf liner.
How do you secure a shelf liner?
Securing a shelf liner goes back to the type of adhesion it has, and the material it's made out of. “Some shelf liners already have an adhesive back, but they usually have a grip to them to keep them in place,” explains Goetz. “Getting the right size, or cutting to the exact size of the shelf or drawer, is key to securing it as well." Goetz recommends using a double-sided adhesive if a liner doesn't have an adhesive or grip.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester who’s an expert on all things home. When selecting products for this list, she considered the material of the liners, the size, and any special features, as well as the product’s reviews from real users. She also interviewed Hannah Goetz, a professional organizer and owner of Hannah Goetz Organizing, for insights on how to select shelf liners and why they’re beneficial in the home.