Chilewich is a brand of chic, minimalist woven polypropylene floor mat that is a staple in design magazines. You’d think the material from which they’re made – woven polypropylene – would be available in off-brands, but we haven’t found any in our searches. (We did, however, find a number of seller’s on Ebay who sell seconds or discontinued styles; Chilewich mats aren’t cheap.) We’ve been thinking of possibly using a Chilewich floor mat for the kitchen whose painted plywood floors take a lot of wear and tear. So we ordered some samples from Chilewich’s site.

From having cooked seriously and sometimes wildly-with-a-number-of-cooks-at-once, we know about all the bits of food that can end up ground into the kitchen floor, from scraps of fat from trimmed meat to fruit peels. We worried that all this stuff would mash into the weave and make for more work than we want. So we decided to do a test to see if the Chilewich would really clean easily despite our abuse.

Into our sample card, we mashed some feta cheese and a prune…really mashed. Then we tried cleaning the card off. While there was some goo initially stuck in the weave, it came right out when we rubbed with a damp cloth. In dire cases, a tooth-brush would do fine.

photo: sally schneider

Chilewich passed the test

UPDATE: several readers wrote in to say that they are having a very hard time getting olive oil spilled on Chilewich mats. We didn’t think of just pouring olive oil on it. Proceed with caution!

A while later in a restaurant, we saw some Chilewich placemats made of the same material, their edges frayed and tattered.



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7 replies on “kitchen-testing chilewich floor mats

  1. I’ve used a Chilewich floormat for about six years now. A little worn on the edges but still clean, cleanable and going strong.

    As a more graphical alternative, I have my kitchen floor covered with Bolon Spektra Ray, a Swedish material that is waterproof and tough enough for commercial applications. (Available at Aronson’s floor covering in cut pieces and tiles. Not cheap, but extremely well made, tough, and cheerful.)

  2. Elizebeth, thanks so much for sharing your first-hand experience AND for the reminder of Bolon. It is a wonderful, graphical alternative to Chilewich.

  3. I have two chilewich mats and I <3 how easy they are to sweep up. I use them in front of my doors and as large area rugs in my contemporary home. Durable, soothing colors. The flat weave works great w/ rolling chairs………

  4. Thought I’d add a caution about Chilewich. I’ve used their placemats for years and generally love them. BUT tomato stains are a problem, especially on light-colored mats. I tried everything I could think of, contacted both the shop where I purchased them and the company; nothing I tried or they recommended did any good. I haven’t given up tomato sauce, but I don’t buy light-colored mats any more!

  5. I
    Purchased a runner and 2 mats for our RV sadly a container of olives in olive oil fell out of our fridge onto the mat and I have yet to get the stain out. Very discouraging. My next step
    Is to try oxyclean.

  6. Thanks for letting me know. I’ve updated the post to include your experience and alert people if they’re thinking of buying the mats. That chic Chilewich is curiously dicey stuff, after all.

    Please let me know if you figure out a way to remove your oil stains.

  7. Like Carolyn, I spilt olives in oil on my new Chilewich mat. Have used Dawn liquid and a sponge then rinsed with copious amounts of water. Repeated the process but can still see the stain is visible and now that has crept into lines. Please let me know if the Oxyclean worked.

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