The 7 Best Cloth Napkins of 2022

Our top pick is Native Organic Cotton Napkins.

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Cloth napkins on a table

Getty

Although paper is a more eco-friendly alternative to plastic, paper production still contributes to deforestation, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires enormous amounts of natural resources such as water. Discarded paper also represents 26 percent of the total waste found in landfills. The use of paper also has risen 400 percent in the last four decades.

The environmental impacts of paper are one reason for the resurgence of cloth napkins among people who want to reduce their reliance on single-use items. Cloth napkins are easier on your pocketbook than buying rolls of paper towels or napkins, too, because you'll use them over and over. They’re easily laundered along with your other clothing items, too.

If you want to cut down your use of paper napkins, here are the best cloth napkins:

Best Overall: Native Organic Cotton Napkins

4.9
Native Organic Cotton Napkins

Courtesy of Native Organic Cotton

If you’re keen on attention to detail and durable, sustainable fabrics, these napkins from Native Organic Cotton tic all the boxes. They’re made from USDA organic cotton purchased directly from American family farms and are manufactured in a 100-year-old water-powered cotton mill.

Because 70 percent of organic cotton is made outside of the United States, that means these napkins offer U.S. shoppers a lighter eco-footprint on the way to your table. They also meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for harvesting of raw materials, as well as for having environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing practices. They also come in an array of solid colors and patterns to match any decor.

Best Budget: The Organic Company Everyday Napkins

4.1
The Everyday Company

Courtesy of Gooddee World

Inspired by Scandinavian aesthetics of simplicity, this budget-friendly set of four napkins is an excellent option for those looking to transition to a more sustainable home. Made from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton, they’re free of bleaches and dyes. They’re also durable enough to stand up to daily use and frequent machine washing. Each napkin comes with a cotton strap that can hold cutlery or decorative additions that dress up your place settings for a special occasion. The sets are available in five solid neutral colors.

Best for Every Day: Healthy Linen Organic Linen Napkins Set

Healthy Linen Organic Linen Napkins Set

Courtesy of Etsy

These linen napkins are handmade from premium organic fabric of 100 percent flax. The flax plant is an amazing, versatile plant. It provides linseed oil for wood preservation and natural materials such as linoleum, as well as flaxseed oil. It also grows in poor soil and requires far less water than cotton to develop.

These beautiful napkins are durable enough for daily use and elegant enough to add some flavor to special occasions. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, they're also OEKO-Tek certified. In addition, these napkins are made and shipped from a small business in Ukraine.

Best Splurge: Collab Hemp Dinner Napkins

4
Hemp Napkins

Bee Bark & Moss

Hemp has been used for centuries to create large quantities of durable fabric. It’s got high sustainability cred, too, requiring far fewer natural resources to grow than cotton. Add in organic cotton and recycled polyester, and these embroidered dinner napkins are a great choice for reducing your dependence on single-use paper. Sized at 16 x 16 inches, choose from eight unique designs by a local folk artist, mimicking Victorian "Redwork" stitching.

Best for Lunch Packs: Mioeco Reusable Unpaper Towels

4.8
mioeco-reusable-unpaper-towels

Amazon

Lunch on the go no longer needs to be accompanied by single-use paper napkins or paper towels, thanks to these super-soft and reusable organic cotton replacements. The 100 percent GOTS certification ensures that they were produced without pesticides. Available in packs of 10 or 20, Mioeco’s “unpaper” towels are biodegradable and absorbent for lunches, picnics, or even cleaning up after the family meal at home.

Best Upcycled: Meema Cotton Napkins

Meema Cotton Napkins

Courtesy of Amazon

These denim-cotton blend napkins are made from upcycled scraps that have been diverted from landfills. This set of four is available in two colors of stripes. They're trendy enough for a farmhouse style kitchen, but they're neutral enough to work with most place settings. Meema says that for every 2.2 pounds of material salvaged, more than 5,000 gallons of water was saved due to not having to grow more raw materials. They're backed by a 100 percent no-risk guarantee. If you don’t love them, just return them.

Best for Kids: Kiddiebites 100 Percent Organic Cotton Cloth Napkin Set

Kiddiebites 100 Percent Organic Cotton Cloth Napkin Set

Courtesy of Amazon

These 2-ply reusable napkins are right-sized for wiping up big messes on little hands. They’re also an excellent choice for teaching kids about sustainability from an early age. They are made in the USA from 100 percent organic cotton — including the thread and logo tags. Machine wash in cold water for easy laundering. Choose from five different lighthearted designs even grownups will like.

Final Verdict

Native Organic Cotton Napkins receive top marks when it comes to sustainability and durability. But Mioeco’s “unpaper” towels are ideal for cleaning up on the go.

What to Look For

Third-party Sustainability Certifications

Some manufacturers seek third-party sustainability certifications, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for harvesting of raw materials, ecological and labor conditions in manufacturing, and organic production.

Size

Cloth napkins come in varying sizes, but the most common is 18 x 18 inches. Smaller sizes are fine for kids but sometimes feel insubstantial in the hands of adults. And if you don't like the feel, you won't use them, which defeats the purpose.

Color

Colors are a matter of personal taste, but darker colors tend to hold up to stains such as red wine, tomatoes, and grease better than light-colored fabrics. Also, neutral colors work in any season.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Author Heidi Wachter is passionate about dogs, travel, and solving the climate crisis.

Arricca SanSone updated this article, reviewing the durability of fabrics, as well as the sustainability certifications. Her favorite cloth napkins are vintage hand-stitched pieces she inherited from her grandmother and mother-in-law.