Shelf liners are flexible, removable sheets that line your drawers and shelves to protect their surfaces from damage and make cleanup a breeze. When reorganizing cabinets or cleaning, adding shelf liners is an inexpensive measure that will help preserve your fixtures, furniture, and belongings.
Today’s shelf liners have come a long way, not only in substance but also in style. With so much variety, finding the right shelf liners for your needs can be tricky. Read on to learn what features to look for and why the following liners rank as some of the best shelf liners in their respective categories.
- BEST OVERALL: Con-Tact Brand Cover Self-Adhesive Vinyl Shelf Liner
- BEST BUDGET: Duck Brand 1063853 Peel N’ Stick Shelf Liner
- UPGRADE PICK: Con-Tact Brand Zip-N-Fit Grip Adhesive Shelf Liner
- BEST FOR THE REFRIGERATOR: DII Non-Adhesive Cut to Fit Washable Liner Paper
- BEST FOR WIRE SHELVING: Sterling Wire Value Pack of 5 Shelf Liners
- BEST FOR DRAWERS: Gorilla Grip Original Drawer and Shelf Liner
- BEST FOR UNDER THE SINK: Drymate USMC2429 Under The Sink Mat
Types of Shelf Liners
Material matters when it comes to the best shelf liners. The standard adhesive-backed vinyl shelf liners everyone’s familiar with still exist and they work for many applications. But, they’re not the best option for wire shelves because they do not provide a sturdy support. Selecting the correct material for each situation protects your furniture as well as the goods that you stash inside.
Instead of adhesive, foam liners have a grippy texture that won’t leave sticky residue on shelves when removed. Foam liners are a good choice for drawers or shelves containing delicate items that need extra protection because the textured surface holds items in place. These liners are either trimmable with scissors or come equipped with perforated sections that can be torn apart to fit the dimensions of drawers and shelves.
Vinyl shelf liners are a bit thicker than paper or fabric, which makes them less likely to tear. They come in a large variety of colors and patterns, in both non-adhesive and adhesive varieties, and are easy to trim with scissors to fit shelves or drawers. Though vinyl shelf liners are hard to reuse, they’re one of the least expensive options, so it won’t break the bank to replace them. Unfortunately, adhesive-backed vinyl can be tricky to apply and can leave sticky residue on your shelves.
Fabric liners are soft and won’t scratch your shelves. Typically non-adhesive, they won’t leave any residue behind. Just like fabric for clothing, they come in all kinds of prints and colors, and they’re easy to trim, wash, and reuse. While fabric liners will absorb some moisture if something spills, they won’t fully protect your shelves or stored items if they get wet.
Heavy-duty plastic shelf liners work best for open wire shelves because they provide a sturdy base for irregular shaped items. They are waterproof, spill-proof, and easy to wipe clean. These liners are hard to trim since they are usually made of heavy-duty plastic so you’re best off finding them in a size that already fits the exact dimensions of your shelves.
What to Consider when Choosing the Best Shelf Liners
No matter what surface you aim to protect or cover, there’s a liner to suit your needs. Durability and practicality are key when choosing the best shelf liners, so consider these features when shopping.
Adhesive vs Non-Adhesive
The first and most important decision to make about shelf liners—with or without adhesive—comes down to where you plan to use them.
- Economical adhesive shelf liners tend to give you more product per roll, so if you have a lot of shelves and drawers to cover, they’re an inexpensive option. But once applied, it’s no simple matter to change the position of these peel-and-stick liners, and it can be difficult to remove them completely, so don’t use this type of liner on surfaces prone to adhesive damage, like cork or unfinished wood. Be sure to measure accurately and apply with a steady hand.
- Non-adhesive shelf liners have a non-slip, grip bottom design to keep them from sliding around your shelves and drawers. They do stay put most of the time but may shift on occasion. They’re more expensive than adhesive liners and you get far less product per roll because these liners are thicker.
When choosing a shelf liner for your drawer, cabinet shelf, or wire shelving, the size is going to play a big part. Before you select a new liner, measuring out the space that you plan to use them in and buying a size that can fit is key. Most shelf liners on the market come in 20-inch, 18-inch, or 12-inch sizes to fit the average drawer or cupboard. Shelf liners can also be cut or resized if needed in more compact spaces.
Liners are available in different textures. Some are smooth with a hard plastic surface, some are ribbed for extra grip, and others are made of soft synthetic fabrics. Softer and grip-type liners are good for dishes, glasses, or delicate items prone to scratching. Smooth liners work well for linens or items that are prone to leaking because they clean up with a swipe of a sponge.
The surface of the shelf or drawer will determine what type of liner will work best. Open wire shelves need stiff plastic liners so smaller objects won’t slip through. Wood cabinet shelves can use flexible liners with adhesive or foam liners without adhesive.
Our Top Picks
With those key features and shopping tips in mind, we’ve narrowed the market to its top-rated products.
Con-Tact’s Cover Self-Adhesive, an industry leader for shelf liners, offers a highly versatile, semi-transparent version you can use for tables, counters, and workstations as well as shelving. It features a grid on the adhesive backing to help with accurate measuring and cutting. The adhesive backing keeps the liner in place, but it’s not so strong to render it unremovable in case you want to shift it.
Crafters love this liner because it can be used on Cricuit machines and for stencils. This adhesive vinyl shelf liner is easy to clean with a damp cloth and soap. Since it is transparent, this liner is best for surfaces in pristine condition. If you hope to cover imperfection or damage, go with a patterned liner.
- Type: Vinyl
- Adhesion: Self-adhesive
- Size: 18 inches by 9 feet
- Works on shelving, counters, tables, circuit machines, and workstations
- Grid included for measuring and cutting
- Easy to clean
- Only available in clear/glossy sheets
Get the Con-Tact Brand shelf liner at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot.
A single roll of Duck Brand Peel N’ Stick is 20 inches by 15 feet— a whopping 3,600 square inches of coverage. The average-sized roll of vinyl shelf liner is around 18 inches by 9 feet, making Duck a great deal when you have many shelves to line.
The liner is made of heavy-duty adhesive vinyl and features a paper backing for easy measuring and cutting. The liner comes in white, which may not look great in dark cabinets but will make finding things in a dim interior easier. If you require another color, this option is also available in clear or oak. And for a basic liner, you can’t beat the price for the coverage one roll provides.
- Type: Vinyl
- Adhesion: Adhesive
- Size: 20 inches by 15 feet
- Built-in paper backing
- Grid lines included
- Comes in multiple colorways
- Hard to remove once applied
Get the Duck Brand shelf liner on Amazon and at Walmart.
The trickiest, most time-consuming part of installing a shelf liner is the measuring and cutting—even with a pre-printed grid on the back. Con-Tact’s Zip-N-Fit is a non-adhesive liner that has a perforated line every 1/4 of an inch apart to let you to easily lay your liner down on a shelf and pull apart exactly where needed.
Sizing the liner to fit around corners is also a breeze: just lay the liner in place and carefully pull apart around the corners. Such convenience isn’t cheap, however, with the 18 inches by 4 feet roll, you may want to use Zip-N-Fit for drawers and shelves in hard-to-reach areas.
- Type: Plastic/synthetic
- Adhesion: Non-adhesive
- Size: 18 inches by 4 feet
- Perforated line every ¼-inch; easy to tear or cut
- Suitable for heavy-duty use
- Comes in 4 colorways
Get the Con-Tact Brand shelf liner on Amazon.
Refrigerator shelves seem to invite spills and crumbs. Cut down on cleaning time with these removable, machine-washable liners. With these, there’s no need to wipe up messes—just remove the liner and pop it in the machine. The liners are reversible too. Use the pattern side for a fun pop of color or the grid side to add a fun geometric pattern. These washable shelf liners also work great in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other spill-prone zones.
- Type: Paper
- Adhesion: Non-adhesive
- Size: 12 inches by 10 inches
- Suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms
- Set of two liners
- Machine-washable and reversible
- Some users reported dirt build-up
- Not suitable for covering large spaces
Get the DII shelf liner on Amazon and at Walmart.
Wire shelving is an economical option for interior closets and pantries thanks to its durability and versatility. Due to the open spaces between the wires, however, small items can slip through or fall over. The solution?
A stiff shelf liner like this set of five from Sterling. They’re waterproof, tailored to fit perfectly around wire shelf poles, and easy to wipe clean. Made from heavy-duty 30 gauge polypropylene, the liners are thick enough to keep small items upright. There are several size options available and they are designed to fit standard wire shelves.
- Type: Plastic
- Adhesion: Non-adhesive
- Size: 14 inches by 30 inches
- Set of 5 liners
- Heavy-duty and waterproof
- Suitable for workshops and jobsites
- Comes in 2 colorways
- Not stain-resistant
Get the Sterling Shelf Liners shelf liner on Amazon and at Walmart.
Gorilla—a brand known for its strong adhesives—ironically makes an excellent adhesive-free shelf liner that really locks things in place. Your utensils will stay firmly in place, and the Gorilla Grip Original Drawer liner also features an open-weave construction that prevents dirt and debris from accumulating on the surface, while providing a textured surface to keep items from shifting. It’s easy to trim and clean and available in 19 colors and patterns. Gorilla Grip Original Drawer liner is reasonably priced for a 12 inch by 20 feet roll.
- Type: Fabric
- Adhesion: Non-adhesive
- Size: 20 inches by 20 feet
- Open-weave, textured design
- Trimmable and easy to clean
- Comes in 19 colorways
- Some users reported insufficient traction
Get the Gorilla Grip shelf liner on Amazon and at Walmart.
If there’s one place in your home that demands a liner it’s underneath the sink. This area is susceptible to moisture, plumbing leaks, and spills from any liquid products you may store there. But not just any liner will keep leaks and spills from puddling as Drymate does. Made from an absorbent fabric with a waterproof backing, this liner contains liquids and wicks away moisture.
The waterproof backing stops liquids from soaking through, preventing water damage and staining to the surface below. It also features a slip-resistant backing that helps to keep the mat securely in place and prevents it from sliding around. Easy to trim to size and machine washable, the mat isn’t badly priced for the 24-inch by 29-inch size.
- Type: Fabric
- Adhesion: Non-adhesive
- Size: 24 inches by 29 inches
- Suitable for moist or commonly wet areas
- Waterproof, slip-resistant backing
- Absorbent fabric
- Trimmable and machine-washable
- Available in 5 colorways
- Some users reported manufacturing defects and poor construction
Get the Drymate shelf liner on Amazon and at Walmart.
The right shelf liner for your kitchen cabinets, drawers, workshop, or even wired shelving units can be hard to find since there are so many options available today. One of the best options for light-duty use is the Con-Tact Brand self-adhesive liner containing durable, easy-to-clean vinyl. With its semi-transparent clarity and included grid for measuring and cutting, this option works on shelving, counters, tables, circuit machines, and workstations.
For refrigerator and pantry use, the 2-pack of DII non-adhesive shelf liners stands out for its decorative floral design. These eco-friendly paper liners are machine-washable and reversible for easy clean-up in the kitchen.
How We Chose the Best Shelf Liners
With so many types, sizes, and added features included in today’s shelf liners it is hard to know which will suit your specific needs. Many of the shelf liners on the market are made with durable constructions with plastic, vinyl, and fabric being favored. These materials can also help with waterproofing, stain-resistance, and select picks are even machine-washable.
With non-adhesive and adhesive liners included, there are ample options to suit different personal preferences and shelving types. Most of these liners are trimmable with included grids for measuring and cutting. As an added bonus, many are offered in multiple colorways for a subtle or decorative effect.
The Advantages of Owning Shelf Liners
Though they are simple in concept, shelf liners have many useful purposes for the contents of your storage spaces while also protecting a drawer, cabinet shelf, or wire shelving itself. Here are a few of the main benefits that come with owning shelf liners:
- Moisture and humidity can wear on objects as well as wooden cabinets and drawers. Shelf liners can help to reduce moisture while also protecting from stains, smudges, rings from glassware, sticky residue, and oils.
- Certain shelf liners can help to muffle or dampen noise in utility drawers or in workshop shelving.
- Fabric and other textured liners can help prevent objects from shifting or moving in drawers which is particularly helpful for those that use organizers.
- Liners make cleaning up drawers and shelves with crumbs, stains, and other messes easy as they can be removed and rinsed or machine-washed.
Shelf liners make your kitchen cabinets, cupboards, and drawers look better while also making them easier to clean. Here are some frequently asked questions about how to use and install shelf liners.
Q: Is shelf liner the same as contact paper?
Contact paper and shelf liners are both used for the same purposes. However, contact paper is classically thinner and malleable, while select shelf liners are thicker and made with vinyl, fabric, or plastic.
Q: Does shelf liner attract bugs?
As with any surface, if your shelf liners are cleaned regularly they should not attract bugs or pests.
Q: How do you use a shelf liner?
Shelf liners are cut to size then placed inside a drawer or shelf. The liner may have an adhesive backing that will stick to the shelf or drawer bottom, or made with a non-slip grip material that prevents it from shifting.
Q: How do you cut a shelf liner?
Use a sharp pair of scissors or utility knife to cut shelf liners to the proper size.
Q: How do you keep a non-adhesive shelf liner in place?
Most non-adhesive liners have a non-slip underside that keeps it in place. But if you find that it still shifts, place a strip of mounting tape to one side of the drawer or shelf, then lay the cut piece of liner on top.
Q: How do you remove a shelf liner?
To remove an adhesive shelf liner, simply pry up one corner of the liner and peel it away. If it gets stuck in some places, apply warm air to the area with a hairdryer. This should loosen the adhesive and make it easier to remove the liner.