While shelf liner isn't a "must" item in your kitchen, it's a good idea to use it. The liner acts as a barrier between your shelves and your dishes, protecting the shelves from scratches and keeping them clean of crumbs and spills. If you're renting your home, your landlord may not want you to apply stick-on shelf liner, as it can be difficult to remove. Luckily, you have plenty of other options.
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Cushioned waffle-weave liner has a rubbery surface that not only protects your shelves, it also cushions china and crystal so your delicate pieces are less likely to break when you set them on the shelf. The open-weave surface also allows air circulation, so moisture can evaporate. This type of liner usually does not have adhesive backing. However, use it with caution, because over time the rubbery surface can degrade and it may end up sticking to your shelves.
Foil is not specifically sold as shelf liner, but it does a good job at this task. It is inexpensive, water resistant and easy to find. In fact, you probably already have a roll sitting around your kitchen. Foil is easy to handle, and you can mould it around your shelves to help it stay in place. When it gets dirty or it's time for you to move, simply throw it out.
If you'd like to use an environmentally responsible option, consider repurposing wrapping paper or packaging paper. You can use new gift wrap made of recycled paper fibres, or save used wrapping paper to repurpose as shelf liner. When the paper becomes torn, wet or dirty, simply recycle it. Paper is not the most durable option, but it is plentiful, inexpensive and easily recycled.
Vinyl Floor Tiles
If you have some old vinyl floor tiles sitting around your garage, you can cut them to size with a box knife and use them as shelf liner. Vinyl tile is quite heavy and durable, so it will lie in place well and withstand years of use. Simply wipe clean when dirty.
Like wrapping paper, waxed paper is not the most durable option, but unlike wrapping paper, it has a waxy side that is water resistant. It is an inexpensive option that is easy to find, easy to cut to size, and easy to dispose of when the time comes.
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