I put a cheap plain white flannel back plastic table cloth over my dining room table then put my nice decorative table cloth over it. The white cover does not show, but protects my table from spills and warm items. Plain white flannel back plastic clothes are hard to find. I usually find them at Dollar General store.
By eiw from Lancaster, PA
Thanks for the great tip! I am going to get one!
Be careful with that flannel back on table cloth because I had one on my table and I guess something hot was put on table and when I took the table cloth off it was stuck to my table. I had a mess. I worked and worked until I got all of it off. No more flannel table cloths in my house.
I have an actual tablecloth pad that I use. It is slightly padded, and waterproofed. I have had it for a long time; maybe these are not so readily available now. No problem with them sticking to the table. The table cloth pad provides quite a bit of protection from hot dishes. A vinyl cloth would work great for spills, but would not provide protection from hot things, and, as the previous poster said, could cause problems. However, unprotected wood might have been damaged anyway, if the dish was that hot.
I have a glass top table and here is what I did to protect it. I bought off white acrylic fleece, doubled it and placed this on top of the table, then placed a piece of clear plastic tablecloth to fit right over it with about 4 inch hang on all sides (my husband hates when the plastic lays on his legs- we live in FL). All of this I purchased at JoAnn's Fabrics and it was all on discount that week so I think my total came to about $11.50 or so.
Now I can put whatever cloth/linen tablecloth I want on it. It has been serving me well for about a year now. I just keep a large trivet on the table for any hot pots. It works great.
My mother had my grandmothers antique dining set that was over a hundred years old. It had commercially made pad segments that fit on the table like a puzzle. Protected wonderfully, now the newer tables have a protective layer on top, (like formica) but if you want to make a pad, go to a second hand or thrift shop and look for quilted mattress covers. Take them home, wash and bleach them well, and cut them out to fit your table. You could bind the edges with bias tape to keep them from fraying. Easy, inexpensive, and easy to clean.
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