Full disclosure: I don't enjoy lining my cabinets. Not even a little. I never buy enough shelf liner, it always takes longer than I expect, and before the project is over, I've been to the store MULTIPLE times to buy more. Why do I line my kitchen cabinets? For the same reason many women do much of what we do around the house: because my mother did.
So, I decided to look into it. Is this necessary? Do the benefits outweigh the frustration? Turns out, they do.
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#1 Using Shelf Liner Helps Protect Your Cabinets From Moisture.
Using shelf helps protect your cabinets against water stains and rings from not-quite-dry dishes and oil and stain rings from the bottoms of bottles and jars. If the surface is in great shape, a liner helps keep it that way.
#2 Using Shelf Liner Helps Protect Your Cabinets From Scratches.
Using shelf liner helps protect your cabinets against unsightly surface nicks and scratches. Many of us keep small appliances, and heavy pots and pans, in our cupboards. Unless you’re the epitome of organized and more graceful than I, there will likely be some banging and scraping when it comes to removing or returning an item to its place.
Lining your kitchen cabinets will help protect the inside of your cabinets, so that you will be less likely to have to replace the cabinetry unit in the future.
#3 Using Shelf Liner Covers Up Possible Ick
No matter how much you spray and scrub, sometimes that stain or stickiness just won't budge. Normally, it's not worth replacing the shelf, especially if you're in a rental. A bit of shelf liner and no one is the wiser.
#4 Using Shelf Liner Dampens Noise
If you don’t like the sound of things rattling around in your drawers, a slightly padded liner helps dampen the noise, and items are less likely to scrape against the bottom as you remove them or return them to their place.
#5 Using Shelf Liner Keeps Drawer Organizers in Place
A padded, rubber shelf liner can help prevent drawer organizers that don't fit perfectly from sliding around every time you open or close the drawers. And what drawer organizer actually fits perfectly!?!
#6 Using Shelf Liner Makes Cleaning Easier
Lined cabinets are easier to wipe down and require no special cleaner (where certain types of wood might). And if the stain or mess is really difficult, it's much easier to replace the liner than to clean the mess out of the wood grain!
#7 Using Shelf Liner Adds a Bit of Color and Style
If you like the idea of a bit of color or style in your kitchen cabinets, shelf liner can provide that extra pop. It's available in several colors and styles to suit every taste. Mix up different styles and colors for an extra bit of fun.
For a quick, inexpensive liner for dresser drawers, buy a roll of heavy-weight wrapping paper, and use it to line the drawers. Get a cheerful design, and you’ll smile every time you grab a pair of socks!
#8 Using Shelf Liner Keeps Small Items From Disappearing
I like the look of SOME wire shelving, but there's no denying it can be a hassle. Installing liner keeps small items from falling through to who knows where.
Bonus Tip! Protect Non-Stick Pans
There are kitchen organizers that allow you to "stack pans" without actually stacking them (like this adjustable one from Amazon). You may not have these in your home because of the added cost, you're only planning to be there for a short time, they just don't fit your cabinets, or for a variety of other reasons. Regardless, protect non-stick pans from scrapes and scratches by cutting padded shelf liner to fit inside the pan.
Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Shelf Liner
Clean your cabinets. We know it's no fun, but make cleaning your cabinets an annual ritual. (Spring is here for a bit longer...)
Skip the waffle stuff. At a time, this was a favorite, but I'm giving it up for something without holes! The holes mean that crumbs and dirt will end up on the surface beneath. Also, it’s not always no-slip—it can bunch up and shift when you put items in or when you take items out. And it’s not as easy to keep clean.
Consider an under-the-sink mat. They're more able to soak up any spills and many are machine washable!
Keep it from slipping. If you want to make sure the liner doesn’t slip, put a little blob of reusable mounting putty in each corner.
Try cedar. Because of the repellant properties of cedar, natural cedar liners can be beneficial in storage areas where moths and other insects can be a concern, such as where you keep spices, dry goods, or kitchen linens.
Try cork. Available in rolls several feet in length, cork provides a resilient surface that cushions fragile items such as glassware. It also resists mold and mildew.
Go for something really durable. Cut vinyl flooring to fit in your drawers and cabinets, and secure it with removable wall poster adhesive. It is much more resilient, so you will never have to change it!
Skip the sticky stuff. The adhesive itself shouldn't damage your shelves, but the act of scraping it off might. What's the point of protecting your shelves if the act of removing the protective layer causes dings and scratches? Look for low-tack versions.
So, how many of you need to take a few minutes and line your kitchen cabinets? Do you have a favorite liner or tip? Please share below.
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I’ve always lined shelves because I’m paranoid of precious occupants’ ick and stains even after cleaning. I was debating whether to line the cabinets in our brand new house since no one else has ever lived here and found your article. You convinced me to stick with lining! I used cork in our last home and that’s what I’ll use here too. I like the look of cork and it has great benefits.
7/29/2019 11:58:50 am
I hate lining cabinets and shelves! But I always do - even in new places. Each time I swear I'm not going to bother with it, each time I decide for the better, and each time I'm glad I did. Keep those cabinets looking nice!
8/2/2019 08:00:57 am
Thanks! Glad the article helped.
10/6/2019 11:28:15 pm
I’m wondering if you can recommend a few liners for the pantry and kitchen cabinets etc on amazon? Thank you!!
10/10/2019 02:35:53 pm
Hi, Jen! Sorry for the delayed response. Things have changed a little on the back end, and it took some time to figure out how to approve your question and respond!
12/3/2019 08:52:10 am
I like what you said about using shelf liners so that you can more easily clean your cabinets. My brother has been telling me about how he wants to make sure that his home is as easy to clean as possible when spring rolls around. I'll share this information with him so that he can look into his options for professionals who can help him with this in the future.
12/3/2019 01:12:22 pm
Thanks for your comment, Tyson! Lining your shelves can make them easier to clean, especially if you have a really messy or sticky spill. Worse case: just trash the old liner and replace. And if he has slotted shelving, liners may help contain the spill, keeping it from spreading to lower shelves.
7/14/2020 09:28:22 am
I like what you said about using a shelf liner to add color to your cabinets. My sister wants to make sure that her kitchen looks nice in the coming weeks. I'll share this information with her so that she can look into her options for professionals who can help her with this.
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I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)