There is nothing so nice as a cloth napkin at a place setting. Even the most humble dinners are elevated by a pretty napkin. Today is Practically Speaking. And we are talking about the virtues and ease of using cloth napkins. So get out a set of cloth napkins and let’s begin…

Don’t miss this episode. Today two of our hosts share the same birthday and we are celebrating with lots of tips for making those birthday people in your life special! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANITA AND KELLY! lots of ❤️!

Okay, back to napkins.

On a recent podcast, Kelly from My Soulful Home mentioned she was going to start using her cloth napkins at dinner time. A little bell went off in my head as I remembered that I used to use cloth napkins on a regular basis around our kitchen table too but somehow got out of the habit.

I love a crisp napkin on my table. And yes, a new one every day.

Here are just one of my napkin drawers…

Yes, they are neatly stored but I only use them occasionally! So they sit… and sit… and sit… until I set a fancy table. And I love these napkins! They have been culled from a huge pile. These are the ones that made the cut! So why am I not using them?

It took my fabulous co-host to remind me and inspire me to make a habit of using cloth napkins!

So I moved some napkins here…

I cleaned out a long drawer near my breakfast nook table and put our placemats there plus a bunch of blue and white napkins.

Did you notice that these napkins are not ironed? They went straight from the dryer and were folded and put in this drawer.  What a simple pleasure. A grace note in my busy day! Nothing fussy or hard, just pretty and simple.

When these napkins are ready to be washed I’ll just throw them in with my medium colored wash. Easy peasy!

How about you? I bet you have lots of napkins just waiting to be used every day! Let’s use them and enjoy what we have. Let’s make every day just a little more special!



You might want to see how I store my napkins. Click HERE

And here is a post on 5 INTERESTING WAYS TO USE NAPKINS. Click HERE to go to the post.


 A practical look at using your cloth napkins every day!

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  1. First let me say, I love reading your posts…this is my first time commenting. I use cloth napkins every day and have for many, many years. It is something that my Mom started doing when I was in my 20’s….I have now done this for 30 years. I also iron them. Setting a beautiful table with cloth napkins and matching place mats makes the event of a family dinner so much more special.

    1. So nice to see your comment, Betsy! Thank you so much for sharing. Continue to comment we love to read what you have to say!

  2. judyincarefree says:

    I have been using cloth napkins always since I got married 51 years ago and will continue to use them. I probably have over 100 and some need to ironed and some don’t, but I think they make a pretty table even though most of the time it is just the two of us. I have to admit that I don’t use my cloth placemats as often.

    1. judyincarefree says:

      I meant that some need to be ironed…

  3. I use them every day! (Candles on the table at night as well). My red ones do not wrinkle but others go through my Ironright machine and that is so much fun to use. You are so right about this, Yvonne, and I love your napkin collection!

  4. I use mine every day as well. They are perfect for outdoor gatherings ….no chasing paper napkins in the breeze.

  5. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Oh, boy! One of my favorites – cloth napkins.
    WHY are mine in the drawer? Looking perfect. I think some are to pretty to use. HA! HA!
    I always wonder if a regular wash and dry cycle disinfects them. DOES IT?
    With regular soap? If we are empty nesters, how do you determine how many to buy? When do you buy for the two of us OR the family/guest? What is the proper measurement of a GREAT napkin? Do you make these napkins? Or buy all? Any hints on WHERE to find deals or sales on cloth napkins? Thank you!

    PS will be using cloth with candles tonight. You always inspire me.

    I truly want to use them daily, HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Nan, We too are empty nesters, but even when the kids were here (and when they come back with all their kids) we were/are a cloth napkin family! I have very fancy ones, good ol’ cotton ones, and even cotton wash-clothes for smaller kids and toddlers! For me the best napkin is one that feels good in my hands, I admit I have the ‘real estate’ to store an abundance of them, but I started out with basic white and basic black cotton.

      I began using mine when someone retold a story of a Mom who had these fine things but was saving them for a special occasion, then passed quickly. The family felt their mother must have felt that her entire life was never special enough for her to celebrate with her fine things – how tragic! They’re just fabric! Use them! Stain them, wear them out! Celebrate! Use the fine china/crystal at least once a week! Wear your family jewels often! Put on red lipstick and own it like a French woman! Life is to be lived!

      If they get funky it’s just a testament to a great meal! I have a great spot remover I use “Stingray” in combination with “Dawn” reg. -that gets everything out! Use super hot water and go for it! If they become *really* funky and cannot be used as a napkin anymore, you have a nice cloth for cleaning windows or whatever. As far as sanitizing in the home washer, first, sort them as you would any other item- wash them separately with the other washable table linens- runners, clothes, or mats. Do not wash them with the towels or other laundry items. Then a good hot water and your reg detergent should be sufficient. (Think of how you launder your undergarments… whatever method you are doing to sanitize your undergarments will certainly work for your table linens – separately of course!)

      I have found them literally everywhere! If you like the feel of restaurant napkins head out to a restaurant supply store, if you want pretty special colours, try Ross, Marshalls, or Target, -if you are into it, estate sales are great places to find beautiful vintage napkins at a great price, and yes yes, if you are a seamstress, go find some good feeling fabric you like and make up a nice set.

      Also, in the summer when we have larger parties, or super messy bbq, I have found that purchasing bulk packages (think Costco, Smart&Final, Target) of flour sack towels work really well as lap napkins. Inexpensive, HUGE, and good fabric for the job!

      If you get wax on that tablecloth or napkins, just put an ice cube on the wax to get it a bit hard, then scrape it off with the dull edge of a butter knife. Any residue wax can then be lifted off by blotting with a paper towel and warm iron.

      Hopefully that helps answer a few questions. : )

      1. YOU ARE A DARLING, PC BROWN!!!!!! What a geat comment. I hope all readers will get lots of ideas from you. Hugs!

        1. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

          Thank you! Thank you!
          Questions answered.
          I like the thought of using the larger flour sack towel for cook outs. Much appreciated!

    2. Okay, StoneGable community I want to hear what you have to say to Nan? Any tips or suggestions?
      Just like clothes napkins get clean. If they should get a grease stain I would pre-treat. I use what I have because my collection is so big. I sometimes make my own napkins, but I get napkins at HomeGoods, Pottery Barn Outlet and Pier 1

  6. I need to update my cloth napkins. I store them like you recommended but only use them for special occasions and maybe I would use them more if I had a better selection. I will have to work on that.

  7. Anna Belle says:

    I have a basket in my laundry where I toss my napkins fresh from the dryer. Monday is my ironing day so they get pressed and put away. I love using cloth napkins. Since we recently moved and downsized, I had to reduce my collection and keep only my favorites. That was difficult!

  8. I use cloth napkins everyday! Not only do I love the feel of a cloth napkin, but I am supporting the environment as well. There is a lot of debate out there about that topic but I only wash mine once a week unless they are soiled. And, I love how they dress up the table for even the simplest of meals. I hope your post encourages others to use cloth napkins!

  9. Kathleen Botsford says:

    I have always used cloth napkins, always used beautiful placemats and always have candles and classical music playing, always. My children are now making homes (apartments) of their own and I have heard them tell their friends of their childhood memories of a family dinner EVERY night and how they plan to have that be one of their traditions also.
    I also NEVER turned on lights in the morning when I got them up for school. We had candles and soft music, NO TV EVER!!! I also hear them telling friends they plan to do the same with their children. You may think these little things do not matter, but they do.

  10. Teddee Grace says:

    When you are single and live in an apartment and must use a coin laundry, the idea of using fabric napkins loses some of its allure. I love the look, but also prefer mine ironed, which is another reason I think I’ve just about given up on the idea as wrestling my ironing board out of the back of the closet is daunting. In the meantime, I’ll use pretty paper and enjoy looking at yours!

    1. Teddee, being alone is no reason to allow yourself not to use your finest. They can always be washed in the sink an ironed when you get your ironing board out when you iron your cloths or other items.

    2. Teddie, if you do laundry once a week that is only seven little napkins. And don’t be a slave to your iron. I know it takes some getting used to but give it a try. You deserve it!!!!!!

  11. JC at the uncommon pearl says:

    I’ve gotten out of the habit of using cloth napkins too. You’ve inspired me to move some of my napkins to a kitchen drawer instead of hidden, unused, in the dining room. It does make dinner a special treat no matter what we eat. Thank you!

  12. I use cloth napkins whenever we eat at the table. I keep the daily ones in the drawer of the table and I have a bunch like you put in another drawer. I used to buy the paper napkins and then thought what a waste when we have cloth ones that are much nicer.

  13. Oh my Yvonne, you made me smile!! I think cloth napkins are wonderful but my husband doesn’t…I save them for company dinners and he still asks for paper!! I’m glad you gave encouragement to others to start using theirs!! Great job!

  14. Love cloth napkins! Just make sure to get cotton or linen. I recently got rid if some that looked ok but just had a terrible feel to them. The red striped glass cloths at IKEA are great…just wished they made blue striped ones. Thanks for the reminder to get mine out.

  15. An inspiring post. I enjoy setting pretty tables for all meals and napkins add that special touch. It emulates caring about the finer things in life. Anything we can do to make things more beautiful is wonderful. Home is the one place you can surround yourself with beautiful things and feel special.

  16. Barbara Ann says:

    I use cloth napkins everyday, every meal and cloths for cleaning up. It is too easy to throw these in the laundry and cut down on paper use. There is also that feeling of having something special at every meal.

  17. Great post – and yes! I use cloth napkins everyday as well. Loved the shot of your napkin drawer…just did the same to mine. Had lots of napkins and when we moved last year I weeded out the ones that no longer looked fresh and organized as in your photo. I also bought some silver napkin rings with a chalk strip on them…I marked one for my dear husband and myself…and use the other two when we have guests staying for a few days. A cloth napkin so elevates any meal. Even when using paper napkins years ago, we have always used placemats and a nice table setting each night of our 41 years of marriage. It makes a statement that life is good and every day is special! So glad I found your blog…will continue to check in often. I started a very basic blog (www.ournewvista.com) and your wonderful site is an inspiration !

  18. Yvonne, I have been using cloth napkins for years. I love ironing so that’s no problem. And it’s good for the environment.

  19. I am a new reader (recently retired teacher). I love your posts and have been spending some time reading your old posts and finding many practical tips. Someone has already asked this question, but I also would like to know the best places to purchase napkins at a reasonable price.

    1. Welcome to the StoneGable family Janis! I find great napkins at HomeGoods, Pier 1 and of course my local Pottery Barn outlet. Keep commenting, pinning and being a vibrant part of our StoneGable community!

    2. janeinbama says:

      I have found most of my cloth napkins at estate sales and thrift stores. Most show very little use!

    3. Barbara Ann says:

      Like Janeinbama, I buy at estate sales on half-price day, at thrift stores and the clearance bins of department stores. I rarely pay full price.

  20. Our French Oasis says:

    I absolutely love using cloth napkins. It was something I grew up with, at home we each had our own engraved napkin ring and our napkins were used several times, but whoever had the job of laying the table always gave each person their own napkin identified by the rings. I now use them, admittedly, like you, fresh each time, but still we use them nearly every evening as a family, it teaches just a few of the good things from the past to the children and they just feel so right. Like you I never iron the day to day ones, they either go in the dryer on in the summer they flap on the line in the fresh air. They add just a little elegance to each meal!

  21. I have recently been considering using cloth napkins since we had dinner with my nephew and his wife a few weeks ago and she pulled out the cloth napkins. I told her she didn’t have to use those for us and she said she uses them every day, for every meal. Now, reading your post, I’m definitely going to do it. Not sure how the hubby will respond since he isn’t a fru fru kind of guy. I’m sure he’ll have a comment to make, but I’m going to do it anyway. Nothing wrong with looking civilized and maybe a little fancy. 🙂 Thanks for a great post!

  22. When we moved to our new home last year, I had to go through everything. I, too, have a ‘impressive’ stash of cloth napkins and I decided we would start using them everyday. I rotate them every now and then to keep things fun and fresh. Its a nice way to make dinner special AND get to use my beautiful collection!

  23. We always used cloth napkins. We reared three children and almost always (had to be a good excuse) sat down to dinner together.My husband passed away recently and every night we had placemats, cloth napkins, candles and music at dinner time. We did that for 57 years but I can’t go back to that table alone now. Such sweet memories but so happy we’ve passed it on to grandchildren.

  24. I have always had cloth napkins yet never used them on a regular basis until my children grew up and moved away. I now use them every day for the two of us! They are stored in an antique silver (tarnished) bowl right by my dinner table. Definitely no ironing!

  25. Thank you for the reminder; and following your example, I’m moving my ‘everyday’ cloth napkins from the dining room to the kitchen. When we moved to this house, I didn’t see any problem with storing all our cloth napkins in the formal dining. Obviously, I suffered from a case of out of sight, out of mind. Appreciate the reminder to make them more accessible. 🙂

  26. I’ve used cloth napkins for almost 25 years. It started from a dislike of using paper towels and paper napkins and a recycling attitude. Personally, I didn’t want to spend money to throw it in the trashcan.
    I began buying old linens at auctions in MO and just haven’t turned back.
    It’s so easy to toss the cloths into the laundry when used. Like you, I press down and fold when I pull them out. Once in a while I iron them. It’s gratifying to offer cloth over paper; I feel it says, “your special to me” and it lends elegance.

  27. I have enjoyed using cloth napkins for years – both for company and daily use.

  28. I’ve used cloth napkins for years! Growing up my step-mother had a huge collection of them, then I got out of doing it when I got out on my own. But when things got tight I went on a hunt for ways we could cut back. No more paper towels or paper napkins was part of the cut. I made reusable cloths to replace the paper towels, bought a bunch of Ikea dish towels (cheap and nice!) and brought out my cloth napkins. I love it and will never go back. We do buy paper towels every now and then for, but I love using cloth for everything much better. Nothing disposable is in my kitchen these days.

  29. Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder says:

    Dearest Yvonne,
    Well, I’m totally agreeing with you for using cloth napkins all the time.
    I also do it out of an Eco Friendly viewpoint!
    Enjoy this homey season for gathering around table with family and friends.

  30. Crystal B. says:

    I have quite a collection of cloth napkins also. We use them at supper each evening. Saving on paper products and it just seems nicer to have a cloth napkin.

  31. Cloth napkins just seem to shout, “You are special so USE ME!” They’re right up there with glass as opposed to plastic and silver/silver plate as opposed to stainless. It’s amazing how special these little items make folks feel.
    I’m in awe of your napkin drawer. How fun!

  32. I love using cloth napkins everyday. It just makes my mealtimes a bit more special!

  33. Love the idea of cloth napkins, but I have some really pretty ones and don’t want to stain them with regular use. I usually just use them as decor. Thanks for sharing though! ❤️

  34. I’m off to Homegoods in search of some cloth napkins!!!

  35. Beverly Ozburn says:

    I also use my cloth napkins every day. I even take a cloth napkin in my lunchbox when I go to school! The other teachers used to marvel at it and now they just smile and know that I will have stainless flatware and a cloth napkin in my lunchbox – and sometimes even a Blue Willow plate or bowl. As an instructional technology coach, the other coaches and I sometimes have meetings at our office (a schoolroom we share in an old school building that is only used for offices and professional development in our district). I brought a handful of pieces of stainless flatware and left them there and the other coaches have brought pottery or ironstone bowls for when we have soup. Why wait till a special occasion to use something that is nice, practical, and beautiful?

  36. Theresa at Winterberry Lane says:

    Thanks Yvonne for today’s post. I am definitely going to get some yardage of material and make some napkins this afternoon. Have a great day!

  37. Sandra L Garth says:

    Most of my cloth napkins are used for special occasions and for styling tablescapes. With just the Mr. and I in the house, it wouldn’t be a big deal to use them regularly. Thank you for the inspiration!

  38. Yvonne,

    I have been married for 50 years and I have used cloth napkins since I set my first table
    in our little apartment. It is a small luxury my husband and I enjoy everyday. I hope
    you will do the same with your lovely collection.

  39. You have the prettiest napkins and that blue plate is to die for.

  40. I have all white cloth napkins and use them everyday. I feel I’m helping the environment also, by not tossing paper napkins into our landfill. I also like to look at thrift stores to find my napkins, so many people receive them as gifts and never use them and eventually donate them.

  41. I have used cloth napkins since my adult children were little.I thought that was the best way to teach them proper etiquette.Full settings of silverware too so they could learn which piece was used for a dinner fork, salad fork etc. I wanted them to be able to go out in any restaurant and be comfortable. I think we should make our family feel special all the time. My husband loves it and always tells people how special he felt on our first date because I had used cloth napkins. It takes so little to make people feel special.

  42. I would very much like to know where the woven rectangle placemats were purchased? Thank you and love your work!!!

  43. Stephenie says:

    I adore your silverware. May I ask where they are from?

  44. Katherines Corner says:

    Yvonne you always set a pretty table.We have used cloth napkins for years. Our grandchildren love to set the table, the cloth napkins make it fancy, wink. We use them in place of paper napkins it is a lovely touch and helps to keep our eco footprint smaller too. I’m currently sewing new napkins for my online shop. I always make extra so we can have some too. It is very rare that we use paper napkins. Hugs

  45. I’ve used cloth napkins regularly for years now. There’s always laundry and it’s not a big deal to throw in a few napkins. What is a big deal is the huge mess in our country’s landfills! Trying to do my part to save the planet. AND, it does look nicer, makes the meal feel more special.

  46. I would love to know where you purchased your dining chairs. They look so comfy!! Thanks!

  47. Susan Dumont says:

    Yvonne, I didn’t realize your family were Eagles fans too! There was a lot of cheering and celebrating in our home as well. How fantastic to listen to our coach and our quarterback give all the Glory to Our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

  48. Zoe Gattie says:

    I LOVE all of your table settings! Would you please share the name of the blue and white salad plate featured in your article Use Cloth Napkins Everyday.

    Many thanks.

    Happy Day!

    1. Hi Zoe, The blue and white floral dishes have no markings. I picked them up at HomeGoods. They are very common dishes that can easily be found. The sugar bowl came from a shop in Southhampton.

  49. I’ve used cloth napkins every day for years. There’s just somrething about the esthetics of real cloth napkins, real china and silver (as opossed to paper & plastic) when one eats, that elevates it to “Dining”.