In part one of this blog series, we compared vinyl, wooden, quilted and metal placemats to silicone table mats. This time we are going to review those table mats in terms of the following properties:
- Machine washable
- Inclusivity for people with disabilities
- Heat resistance
We hope this blog provides you with information to help you make an informed decision on your next table mat purchase.
Vinyl Table Mats Vs Silicone Table Mats
Are Vinyl Placemats Non-Slip?
Vinyl table mats offer non-slip properties, but these pale in comparison to Tenura silicone.
If you knock over drinks on vinyl table mats, they are waterproof, but woven vinyl table mats, which are currently trendy, offer little protection, allowing liquids through the gaps.
Do Vinyl Placemats Have Antimicrobial Properties?
Some vinyl table mats have antimicrobial properties, as do Tenura table mats. The antimicrobial protection ensures bacteria can't harbour.
Can You Machine Wash Vinyl Placemats (Dishwasher Safe)?
Some vinyl table mats aren't machine washable due to their low-temperature resistance, so you may will have to wash them by hand. Tenura table mats can be washed either by hand or in the dishwasher.
Are Vinyl Placemats Suitable for Disabled People?
These table mats are lightweight and easy to take on the go, just like Tenura table mats. Both mats are suitable for use with disabled people who require support at mealtimes.
Are Vinyl Placemats Heat Resistant?
Vinyl mats are heat resistant, usually up to 35.6°C, which is impressive but not as remarkable as the 250°C heat resistance of Tenura table mats. So, be cautious when placing hot plates and pans on vinyl table mats as they may warp or melt.
Quilted Table Mats Vs Silicone Table Mats
Are Quilted Placemats Non-Slip?
Quilted table mats have no fundamental non-slip properties. Some will fare better than others, depending on the quilted table mats material. Still, the fabric will be no comparison to silicone's non-slip qualities.
Do Quilted Placemats Have Antimicrobial Properties?
The vast majority of quilted table mats do not have antimicrobial properties, meaning bacteria can harbour on the material and adversely affect a person's health. Some silicone placemats aren't antimicrobial, but Tenura table mats are.
Can You Machine Wash Quilted Placemats (Dishwasher Safe)?
This type of table mat is often machine washable. However, it depends on the fabric dyes, which could bleed or fade if washed at a high temperature. Tenura table mats are far more convenient to wash, as no matter how many times they go in the dishwasher, they will not fade.
Are Quilted Placemats Suitable for Disabled People?
Quilted table mats are lightweight, and you can take them on the go. However, they have no non-slip properties to reduce the risk of spillages for the disabled. Non-slip table mats such as silicone table mats can offer this assistance.
Are Quilted Placemats Heat Resistant?
These table mats have little heat resistance, contrary to Tenura table mats.
Exposure to high heat or flames can cause quilted table mats to discolour/burn or even set alight. However, some synthetic fabrics, such as nylon or polyester, can be fire-retardant.
Wooden Table Mats Vs Silicone Table Mats
Are Wooden Placemats Non-Slip?
Often not, they are slippy unless a lacquer is applied, impacting the table mat's appearance. Sometimes wooden table mats will have non-slip rubber coasters on the bottom, but this will have little benefit in preventing unwanted movement for objects on top of the table mat. To avoid unwanted movement from items on top of table mats, look for slip-resistant mats like Tenura.
Do Wooden Placemats Have Antimicrobial Properties?
Certain types of wood like pine and oak naturally demonstrate antimicrobial properties, and you can treat certain woods to possess antimicrobial properties.
Bacteria, insects and fungi can affect the wooden table mat's appearance, chemical composition and structure, accelerating degradation. The antimicrobial additive in silicone table mats protects against mould, fungi, and a wide range of bacteria, which is vital as placemats are often close to your food.
Can You Machine Wash Wooden Placemats (Dishwasher Safe)?
It is worth noting that wood can stain, especially when in contact with curry or red wine and sadly, you can't put them in a dishwasher to clean, which may leave you tempted to wash the placemat in hot soapy water is fine. However, leaving it to soak can cause it to swell and lose form, becoming a hazard due to its unlevel misshaped surface. You shouldn’t need to soak your silicone mat. We would instead suggest you put it in a dishwasher.
Are Wooden Placemats Suitable for Disabled People?
This table mat isn't suitable for disabled individuals as they can be heavy, bulky and have no beneficial properties for the disabled. Whereas silicone table mats are anti-slip, flexible and lightweight, making them suitable.
Wooden table mats aren't dishwasher safe, so each table mat would have to be hand washed by the carer rather than putting all silicone mats in a dishwasher, which saves lots of time and effort.
Are Wooden Placemats Heat Resistant?
Wooden tablemats can burn, causing discolouration, and if exposed to a high temperature, you could have a fire on your hands. Tenura silicone is incredibly robust even in extreme temperatures (up to 250°C).
Metal Table Mats Vs Silicone Table Mats
Are Metal Placemats Non-Slip?
If the metal table mat has a pattern etched in its surface, making it tactile, it has better non-slip properties. However, this affects the ability to keep it hygienic.
Tenura silicone provides a brilliant level of non-slip which stops things on its surface from being easily knocked over, helping you avoid spillages.
Do Metal Placemats Have Antimicrobial Properties?
Not all metals are antimicrobial, but silver is an example of a naturally antibacterial metal. The quantities of such metals within the placemat will determine if the placemat is antimicrobial. If unsure, check with the manufacturer. Tenura's silicone mats are antimicrobial, but some of our competitor's silicone mats are not.
Can You Easily Wash Metal Placemats (Dishwasher Safe)?
When handwashing the table mat, you should avoid rough brushes that can leave scrapes and scratches in the metal's finish, where bacteria can harbour. Some metal table mats are just metallic lacquer on top of another material. With harsh cleaning chemicals, these coatings can peel off.
You shouldn't need to use harsh brushes or chemicals on silicone table mats, as you can put them in hot soapy water or a dishwasher. Typically you should avoid placing metal table mats in a dishwasher.
Are Metal Placemats Suitable for Disabled People?
Metal table mats aren't suitable for the disabled as they can be heavy, sharp and tricky to transport, the opposite set of characteristics to Tenura silicone table mats.
Are Metal Placemats Heat Resistant?
Most metals have incredibly high melting points, meaning hot objects such as pots and pans placed on their surface will not deform the metal. Metal is a good conductor, so some metal table mats can get hot if pans are directly placed on their surface. Instead, a silicone table mat may be a more appropriate solution as it has low thermal conductivity and brilliant heat resistance.
We know that Tenura silicone table mats are a great addition to mealtimes. They can lessen the cleanup time because you reduce the risk of spillages, and you can put them straight in the dishwasher, but let's look at how all the table mats we have reviewed in this blog have fared:
The Best Non-Slip Table Mats Are…
If you are looking for a mat with non-slip qualities, you will want to go with a vinyl, silicone or tactile metal table mat.
The Best Antimicrobial And Machine Washable Table Mats Are…
With the Coronavirus pandemic and health being in the back of everybody's mind, you may be more interested in the antimicrobial properties of your table mats and if they're machine washable. Therefore, silicone table mats are a great choice.
The Most Inclusively Designed Table Mats Are…
Both vinyl and silicone table mats are suitable for use by a disabled person who requires a carer at mealtimes. These table mats reduce the likelihood of spillages, thanks to their non-slip properties. A carer can easily wash them in hot soapy water (or put their Tenura table mats in a dishwasher). These table mats are lightweight, so you can take them out and about.
The Table Mats With The Best Heat Resistance Are…
Vinyl, metal and silicone table mats have heat resistance, some of these materials more so than others. You will need to be the most careful with vinyl as they have the lowest heat resistance (up to 35.6°C), then silicone (up to 250°C), followed by metal. Most metals can withstand temperatures of 500°C. But in your kitchen, you aren't dealing with temperatures over 230°C. It is important to note that metal placemats can conduct heat and will be hot to the touch if you place hot pans on their surface.
Please read part one of this blog series if you want to know more about the above placemats regarding their toxicity, environmental impact, price, and durability.
You can also view and purchase the superior Tenura silicone table mat from our website.
When shopping for placemats, there are so many on the market, which can make your choice tricky. It isn’t always obvious which placemats are best. The material of the placemat has a significant effect on the quality and other attributes.
In this blog, we are comparing four types of placemats; vinyl, quilted, wooden and metal to Tenura silicone table mats, in terms of the following qualities:
- Environmental impact
We hope this blog gives you some good advice and direction to help you find a placemat that meets your specific requirements.
Vinyl Placemats Vs Silicone Placemats
Do Vinyl Table Mats Have Many Design Variations/Are Vinyl Table Mats on Trend?
Vinyl placemats come in many colours and shapes and can be produced on a mass scale. You can print on vinyl placemats which opens up even more design avenues.
Similar to vinyl placemats, silicone placemats can be moulded into many shapes in a variety of colours. At Tenura, we offer three bold colours of silicone placemat (red, blue and yellow).
Are Vinyl Table Mats Toxic?
Vinyl placemats are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which gives vinyl placemat heat resistance, flexibility and durability. However, PVC is thought to leach harmful substances like phthalates and dioxin (one of the most toxic, highly polluting chemicals ever produced). In contrast, Tenura placemats contain no phthalates or cost-saving chemicals, making them non-toxic.
What Environmental Impact do Vinyl Table Mats Have?
Making vinyl and silicone involves petroleum extraction from a non-renewable resource, crude oil, followed by a refining process requiring extensive energy and heat.
Vinyl is mass-produced but not readily recyclable, therefore taking up significant landfill space. Silicone doesn’t decompose like vinyl placemats into microplastics that are dangerous if ingested by wildlife. Silicone is a safer and more sensible alternative to plastic placemats such as vinyl, especially for the environment.
How Much do Vinyl Table Mats Cost?
The brand name has the most significant influence on vinyl placemat’s price, whereas the cost of silicone placemats is dependent on quality. Tenura placemats are a premium silicone construction that boasts many benefits, including being antimicrobial and heat resistant (up to 250°C).
How Long will Vinyl Table Mats Last?
Vinyl placemats are reparable using patches from hardware stores, but consumers aren’t unlikely to mend their placemats. Vinyl placemats can be durable, but out of vinyl and silicone placemats, silicone is a better choice in terms of its durability. Silicone is incredibly resilient even at extreme temperatures. This durability makes silicone placemats last for years.
Quilted Placemats Vs Silicone Placemats
Do Quilted Table Mats Have Many Design Variations/Are Quilted Table Mats Trendy?
Most variations of this placemat are down to the fabric, which can be plain, patterned, or textured. They are considered old fashioned and are more likely to be in homes of older generations. They are very different in finish to silicone placemats, which are often smooth and glossy.
Are Quilted Table Mats Toxic?
Providing the fabric used to create the quilted placemat is natural. It should be plastic-free, so just like Tenura silicone placemats, it doesn’t contain phthalates plasticisers. It could, however, contain cost-saving chemical dyes that can cause skin irritation. At Tenura, we strive for our products to be premium which means we use no cost-saving chemicals in production, making our placemats non-toxic.
What Environmental Impact do Quilted Table Mats Have?
Waste products such as harmful chemicals and carbon emissions from the production of synthetic fabric contribute to global warming.
Wool can and should be recycled. Synthetic fabrics are harder to recycle and often end up in landfill sites. Silicone can be recycled by taking it to specialised recycling centres.
How Much do Quilted Table Mats Cost?
Sometimes they are double-sided, so you get two quilted placemat designs for the price of one. They are relatively inexpensive, especially those made of synthetic materials, due to them being cheaper and easier to produce on a large scale.
Silicone can also be mass-produced, making it an accessible price point for environmentally conscious manufacturers such as Tenura, who want to create plastic-free products. Silicone products tend to be slightly higher in cost to the consumer than plastic alternatives; however, they will last longer as they do not degrade. Therefore, the impressive properties of silicone placemats will remain intact.
How Long will Quilted Table Mats Last?
In a shorter time, quilted placemats are more likely to stain and look dishevelled. You can wash them at a low temperature, which helps retain their aesthetic appeal but follow the fabric guidelines to avoid fading and shrinking the fabric.
Synthetic fabrics are more durable than natural ones, but stitching can still come away with wear, and fading will occur. Synthetic fabrics typically have higher heat resistance and can be machine washed for ease. Silicone mats are good to use again once dry after cleaning them with warm soapy water.
Wooden Placemats Vs Silicone Placemats
Do Wooden Table Mats Have Many Design Variations/Are Wooden Table Mats Trendy?
Due to wood’s solid composition, these placemats can have 3D effects or laser cut designs, increasing their variety. It’s on-trend and can match many aesthetics within the home.
Silicone placemats can also be laser cut and poured into a variety of moulds to make intriguing shapes. Tenura placemats, on the other hand, are simplistic by design and meet specific objectives, like being non-slip and heat resistant.
Are Wooden Table Mats Toxic?
Wood with any defects, including toxicity and disease, will not be used to create placemats. They could be dangerous to health, especially when they come so close to food.
Tenura placemats are made of food-grade silicone and are completely non-toxic.
What Environmental Impact do Wooden Table Mats Have?
Wooden placemats are one of the most environmentally friendly placemats. They are procured from trees (a natural renewable source) and can decompose in a relatively short timescale. Trees also reduce CO2 in the air, with CO2 being a pollutant that speeds up global warming. I’ve restored this, as it was fine.
Tenura’s non-slip and heat resistance qualities will last years simply by washing your mat with warm, soap water between each use. Without additional and potentially time consuming maintenance, your wooden placemat will degrade and require replacing quicker than a Tenura placemat.
How Much do Wooden Table Mats Cost?
We have seen a price increase in recent years for pine, oak and other cool-toned woods, whereas, in the past, mahogany was in vogue. The type and age of the wood can vastly affect the price, but they are at an accessible price point for the most part.
As you may have seen on the high street or online, silicone is trendy, especially in terms of bakeware - this is thanks to silicone’s impressive robustness and machine washable convenience.
How Long will Wooden Table Mats Last?
The durability of wooden placemats is high if it’s formed from mid-range wood and you follow the care instructions.
Because silicone is so durable and built to last, you likely won’t need to purchase any other placemat in your lifetime, whereas you might need to replace your wooden placemat in 5 to 10 years.
Metal Placemats Vs Silicone Placemats
Do Metal Table Mats Have Many Design Variations/Are Metal Table Mats Trendy?
Metal placemats are very up and coming as they tend to signify elegance and style. You can have laser cut designs and different finishes. Similar to silicone, the molten liquid is poured into different shapes to create showstopper table décor.
Are Metal Table Mats Toxic?
The vast majority on the market are safe, especially if you have bought them from a reputable retailer that stocks products that meet UK regulations. Nevertheless, you need to keep them away from harsh chemicals as the metal may not be chemically inert like Tenura placemats.
What Environmental Impact do Metal Table Mats Have?
Metals are widely recyclable, which conserves natural metal resources. Recycling metals is far more eco-friendly and less polluting than making new metal from ore. Ore is increasing in scarcity.
Less environmentally friendly metals such as copper and rose gold require high heat and specialised machinery to manipulate. Copper is also toxic and can have adverse effects on marine life and waterways, whereas silicone is non-toxic and will not affect these ecosystems.
How Much do Metal Table Mats Cost?
Metal placemats have a higher price tag due to the metal’s value and specialised machinery such as large high-pressure presses used to manipulate the material into shape.
A cheaper alternative to 100% metal placemats is metal-coated placemats. However, the coating can wear away with time, especially if you don’t follow the product’s care instructions.
Tenura placemats are the middle ground in price between these two metal placemats.
How Long will Metal Table Mats Last?
Metal placemats should have a long product life as they are made of durable material, just like Tenura silicone table mats. However, metal mats will require more care and maintenance than Tenura mats.
Here at Tenura, we are a bit biased towards Tenura placemats. Still, we recognise that all placemats have a purpose, which is why we have broken down our conclusion by category.
The best aesthetically appealing placemats are…
Are you someone who likes to be on-trend? Perhaps you’ll opt for wooden, vinyl, silicone or metal placemats.
The best non-toxic placemats are…
All placemats in this blog, bar the vinyl placemats, are non-toxic. Remember that the metal and quilted placemats can be toxic depending on the dyes or metal used.
The cheapest, most durable placemats are…
If you are frugal with your money, then price and durability may be the most attractive attributes. Based on our findings, vinyl, wooden, and silicone placemats are the best.