Is there anything more to be said about shelf liners?

aliris19June 21, 2011

OK ...

vinyl is nasty but relatively cheap. Off-gassing a problem? Can get it in clear; even from JoAnn's. Clear won't lose the beautiful new wood you just spent your retirement income on. Muffles sound. Smoothness might not be optimal for stopping slipping, not sure. Comparatively easy to clean.

ribbed plastic. Available at costco relatively cheaply, but not in clear. Ribs allow air to circulate underneath still-wet glassware. Ribs royal pia to clean; hide spills from sight too. Not sure how price compares to vinyl; probably more. I think the ribbed plastic is available in clear elsewhere. May prevent slipping. Muffles sound.

cushy cupboards. Beloved by many. Expensive, sparsely available (why??). Cheapest online by the case. Periodic sales at Dewalts in socal. Anyone know if upper midwest is cheaper? Spongy plastic - offgassing a problem here as well? Easy to clean; impervious. Not clear. BBB might have a rip-off version of this.

cork. Environmentally friendly. Nuisance, relatively fragile. Deadens sound. Probably expensive, most perhaps. I'm guessing pieces rip off which might be annoying and dirty too.

freezer paper. Suggested as cheap, waterproof alternative. Fine in fridge as well.

waffly stuff - almost forgot this. I haven't seen it in water-proof material though. Permits air flow for better drying.

Other alternatives: pimpernel placemats (love that!), paper towel, nothing.

Everyone seems to hate that old stand-by, adhesive contact paper. I loved putting that down.... and I loved the sweet patterns too.

What about spongy plastic that you can buy in large rolls from packing stores I think? Somehow I wound up with tons of it when packing things away a couple years ago and it doesn't seem to have left any residue on plates, etc. It's not the firmest of closed-cell packing material, but pretty dense. How's this differ from cushy cupboards? Denseness? I'm sure it's way cheaper than cushy cupboards (so who's really dense if you shell out so much $$$ for it?)

Anyone have anything to add?

Why can't they make cushy cupboards in clear plastic, with optional ribbing, at a much cheaper price, more widely available? Don't answer that....

You know this process is taking its toll when even this trivial decision becomes oppressive. Fried I am....

Question for cushy cupboard users: do you set wet glassware on it or does it make a seal that would prevent drying underneath the glass?

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To me they're like that old beer commercial for whatever brand that must have gone without some additive that other beers had, "never had it, never will." Sorry. Its late. I don't remember the details.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 4:48AM
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7-Up? Never Had It, Never Will

So do all your glasses only go in the cabinet bone-dry?

Do you not worry about heavy cast iron pots scraping things or denting wood?

Are your children yet too young to put the honey back disgusting? (And did you pick a neater dh than mine? ;) )

These are the weighty questions keeping me up; obviously it's time to retire. But seriously, these are the concerns I have and/or specifics of our family's habits that suggest it's worthwhile lining for us. I just hate to cover up all that beautiful, well-finished, expensive and exciting-to-look-at new wood! Grump.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 5:00AM
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because of the new wood, and the human habits, consider a layer of clear plastic and then on top of it in some areas, a layer of freezer paper or oven paper for those objects named. (honey jar, cast iron thingies).

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 8:20AM
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Is the clear ribbed plastic really hard to clean? (It does come in clear) I guess it is harder than a quick wipe-down.

I was considering it because of the air circulation you had mentioned, and because I thought it might be easy to clean-just a sink of soapy water. That might be a pain, though...

I have a friend who used it in her entire 15,000 sf house. It looks great and does its job well. Of course, her maid cleans that 15,000 sf house, so it's not SUCH a big deal if it's a little harder to clean. I have no maid, so perhaps I need to rethink my previous thought...

I still like it, though, because of durability and air flow.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Circus Peanut

If the wood is well-finished, I can't for the life of me imagine why you'd need to cover it in anything, much less something that might leave a plasticky sticky residue over time. How is it easier to remove, wash, and replace a gross sticky crumby plastic webbing than to just wipe the shelf with a damp sponge? My cabinets are over 16 years old, have gone through 2 different families & kitchens, and the wood finish on the shelves looks like the day they were made. And we are slobs, as in major S - L - O - B - S.

Contact paper was great for those scary painted rental kitchens in college, but with modern catalysed wood finishes it just seems like deliberately buying an extra thing that attracts dirt. Plus, the texture gives me the heebie-jeebies. Brrrrr.

I know I'm being a blunt grump myself, pre-coffee, but I will never ever understand why folks like shelf liner. OK. Carry on. :-)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 8:46AM
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in our previous house, we used scraps of vinyl flooring for under the sinks, and it saved our cabinets from water damage once or twice...a large dishdrying pan could work well, too.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 8:52AM
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singinmicki - I saw that suggestion of yours about vinyl tiles in an earlier thread (actually, don't remember if it was yours, could have been another with the same idea but I've not heard it before). It sounds like a great idea. I wonder whether flooring stores have old samples like carpet stores have carpet samples? Though still it covers up the beautiful new cabinets. Which seems a terrible shame.

Users ratings for the stuff you mention is very high. It's about 75% the cost of cushy cupboards. It's available in clear as well.

Peanut - it seems practically heretical though I know there are many of the, um, under-50-ish crowd who suggest this. I really appreciate that there are two of us in the s.l.o.b. club.

In sum ~

1. Anti-skid
2. Protection/Durability
3. Facilitate clean-up
4. Air-flow
5. Muffle sound
6. Hide ugly materials

1. Hide pretty wood
2. Expense
3. Ecological waste (plastic, excess anything)
4. Health (vinyl, phthalate offgassing?)
5. Effort

P1, P2, P4, P5; C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 -- That's my spectrum!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:10AM
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what circuspeanut said! My new wood shelves wipe down nicely, why mess? I use a few old linen hand towels under a couple of clunky iron pans, never put glasses (or anything) away wet (run dishwasher at night, open door before bed and dump out residual water in things, let dishes air dry, unload in morning or after work), and use a saucer for the honey or jam to sit on...shelf paper just reminds me of rentals I lived in where you HAD to line the shelves b/c they were so disgusting...but the friend who has her maid clean her shelf liner, now, she might have an idea we can all get behind!

I do have to amend this in the interest of full disclosure - my dh is REALLY tidy and dries the dishes before unloading the DW - if he were not I might think about some of that cushy stuff :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Sallysue: or lending dh!

OK - here's something more to say; sort of.

That Cushy Cupboards stuff is seriously weird. Or at least un-American or something; the company that is. Who's ever heard of such a good product, then, having zero shelf space? I mean, before I shell out at least 30% more for a product of questionable necessity to begin with, I do want to see it, and not at my own expense. That's why there are retail stores (the "not at my own expense" part is wrong of course; it is and comes in their markup).

So I was curious as to why it isn't available hardly anywhere. No 'contact us' on the website but there is an LLC name; I googled that and called ... someone's condo's kitchen I think! I spoke with a very nice man who is the seller of it, wouldn't tell me how the stuff comes to exist (his prerogative not to, but I'm curious all the same), explained he has no distributor, but why he doesn't just drive north for an afternoon to Ground Zero of consumerism on the globe, which is about 50 miles north of him (cf Whole Foods Parking Lot of earlier), I just don't get. "Not in the plans". OK, I suppose that doesn't make you weird, but it sure makes you a curiosity in 21st century America. Geesh, you'd think at least VT Country Store? Why sell a product if you're not going to sell it? Probably, somehow, he just happens to have the stuff, maybe, and a friend runs DeNaults, maybe, or something? ... I dunno. Not my business, obviously. But it's awfully hard for me to shell out all that moola w/o seeing it, especially given qualms about using anything at all.

Oh well, what a curiosity. I assumed it had to be some sort of space-program spinoff, the material that is. When I suggested that possibility the puzzlement on the other end of the phone line was palpable; guess not!

Destined to remain an enigma.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:55AM
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alaris - I just had the same experience trying to buy a Never MT - I think these people need to go on Shark Tank and get some marketing help!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Spongy plastic - offgassing a problem here as well?

There's none with CC ... and I'm extremely sensitive to things like that.

Question for cushy cupboard users: do you set wet glassware on it or does it make a seal that would prevent drying underneath the glass?

I never put anything wet in the cabinets. Why would you? I only use the CC in specific areas ... pot drawers, utensil drawers, the oil/vinegar cabinet, and the cleaning products shelf in the utility closet.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 12:35PM
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Cushy Cupboards - somebody just posted a couple of days ago that it's on sale and that it's available at a Tru Value Hardware near her home in addition to through the website. And there's a $5 off coupon that's good through today. Never heard of the stuff before that.

By "waffly stuff," do you mean the roll that comes from Rubbermaid? I like it especially for drawers where you'd rather the contents didn't do the slip 'n' slide when the drawer is open and closed.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:07PM
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I have only used shelf liners in a couple of places where I was worried about a chemical leaking or water leak like under the sink otherwise I have never used them. I would be so proud of my new beautiful cabinets I wouldn't want to cover them up. To me they are kind of like those car bras that were so popular in the eighties and nineties. I never understood them. They are there to protect the front of the car from bugs, etc. but if you never see the front of the car b/c of the bra why are you protecting it? Where they ever taken off for a special occasion? Does anyone have the answer?


    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:26PM
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I'd look for some black industrial rubber sheeting. Should be cheaper, last forever, won't bunch up.

I'm someone who puts everything away wet. Someday SWMBO will divorce me for it. My batty desire is to have my shelf surfaces and drawer bottoms be lined with stainless steel - or, heck, be made of stainless steel. Maybe even perforated steel.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:57PM
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I couldn't find anything but contact paper and a thick cushy type liner (expensive). I got desperate enough to buy a roll of waxed paper to put down temporarily. The next week the light bulb went on and I searched for one of those $ stores near me.

Found shelf paper for ummm... a $1 a roll there! bought 5 rolls. It's thin and has a slightly tacky feel to the back side of it. Had only managed to get one cab shelf done in the waxed paper... but then, my cabs aren't new and that nice either. The uppers are rather nice tho. The one time I had new cabs (the 70's) I put down shelf paper - to keep the shelves nice, clean and new looking.

I've often used oil cloth also - never noticed any off gassing from it. I am sensitive to that stuff. That comes in a very wide width, numerous patterns and even clear. Use a J's 50% off coupon to buy it.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 2:00PM
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We've used the floor tile, especially under the sink. Don't use the stick-on tiles. The regular ones are heavy enough to stay in place by themselves. Of course, we didn't have really nice wood interior cabinets either. :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 6:08PM
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Circus Peanut

"To me they are kind of like those car bras that were so popular in the eighties and nineties. I never understood them. They are there to protect the front of the car from bugs, etc. but if you never see the front of the car b/c of the bra why are you protecting it? Where they ever taken off for a special occasion? Does anyone have the answer?"

Shannon: exactly! Perfect analogy. Shelf liners are the Car Bras of kitchens.

Like those plastic sofa covers of the '70's, perhaps they're destined to remain shrouded in mystery and explained only by future anthropologists.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Circus and I must be twins seperated at birth....

You asked me questions last night. I actually went to bed not long after posting my flip answer so I missed them.

I never put anything wet away in the cupboards. You do that? I empty the DW with a towel in my hand and give a quick wipe to anything that might have accumulated a little standing water.

A heavy cast iron pot will dent the wood even if you have contact paper on the wood.

My kids are too little to reach the honey, and I only use it for baking or marinades. I wipe it off after use.

DH is probably a bit neater than yours. He's been trained well. I'm a neat freak so he's had to adapt these 19 years.

7UP!!??? How did I think it was a beer commercial?! This reno has been driving me to drink so I must have alcohol on the brain! LOL!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 6:32PM
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