Difference Between Napkin and Serviette

A Napkin and Serviette is a square cloth or paper which is basically used during our meal to wipe our lips and mouth after eating, It is also used to wipe our oily hands after the meal. This is used to ensure that we don’t have any left oily or food particles on our mouth or hand which can damage the clothing and outlook.

Napkin vs Serviette

The main difference between the Napkin and Serviette is in the use of these two words. The word napkin is more usually utilized than serviette. Both these words napkin and serviette refer to a square piece of material/paper we use at a meal to wipe the fingers or lips and to ensure that our clothes don’t get dirty.

Napkin vs Serviette

A Napkin is a rectangular or square piece of paper we use at the table for cleaning the mouth and fingers while eating. It additionally shields the garments you are wearing from food stains, spills, and pieces. Napkins are collapsed into different designs and shapes.

Serviette is table linen, which is also shaped in rectangular or square, the only difference is that it is made up of cloth or fabric (usually a soft cloth with fibers facing outside) which is used after our meal to clean our mouth and lips. 

Comparison Table Between Napkin and Serviette

Parameter of ComparisonNapkinServiette
General usageMore commonly used Less commonly used
MaterialPaperSoft Cloth
LengthUsually, they are small They are long 
RecycleCannot be re-usedCan be re-used again

What is Napkin?

A napkin is made up of light paper usually they are white in color and have some designs to give a soothing look. Generally, napkins are kept to one side of the spot in any restaurant or food-eating place. People after eating the food or while eating the food usually take the napkins to ensure that food doesn’t get spilled to their clothes.

Napkins are great in absorbing the liquid as soon as water or any oily substance comes in contact with it absorbs it in no seconds. Apart from the use of napkins with the meal they are also used during summer for face wiping which is usually called the face wiping napkins.

Napinks are most common in use and in day to day life of every person. Usually, the napkins come in a bundle of 50-100 in a pack and they are always affordable to buy. They are stacked in such a way that once the first napkin is pulled out the other is automatically pulled to half.

The napkins cannot be folded into the design like the Serviette, due to their small length and light design. Napkins get torn off with the small pressure applied, this is also one of the reasons that they are not suitable for making designs.

What is Serviette?

Serviette is made up of cloth or fabric which are used during the meal to wipe the food from lips and hands. They are usually made up of soft cloth which has the fabrics facing outwards, when the food or oil is wiped with this cloth it gets absorbed by the cloth fabric.

They are usually used in hotels and high-end restaurants for the customers. Once they are used it is washed and reused again for the next day.

Serviette is also made into designs to give the luxury look. As they are made up of cloth, it is easy to make into the design ( like an open flower, flame, etc).

Serviette comes in various sizes, some are small and some are long, it depends on which brand is serving, usually, the smalls serviette are found in normal restaurants, and long serviette is found in the hotels.

The long serviette is long enough to cover your lap, this is used to ensure that while eating the food which is fell it doesn’t damage your garments. You need to unfurl the serviette and put it on your lap, after finishing the food you can put the serviette back on the table.

Main Differences Between Napkin and Serviette

  1. A Napkin is made up of light paper whereas the Serviette is made up of soft cloth.
  2. Serviette is comparably costlier than the Napkin, as it is made up of soft and delicate cloth which is expensive.
  3. Napkins once used it is thrown in the dustbin, whereas Serviette is used again and again just they need to be washed after every usage.
  4. Serviette can be long and small also, but Napkins comes in only one standard size, as their usage is limited.
  5. Serviette can be purchased single or in a bundle, whereas the Napkins are usually packed in bundles of 50100 pieces.


Both refer to a piece of fabric/paper we use at a dinner to wipe the fingers or lips and ensure our garments. However, a difference between napkin and serviette basically lies in its use.

Napkins and Serviette are commonly used in both restaurants and food serving places. Their main use is during eating the food and after eating the food.

Some people use it while eating the food and keep it below the tray to ensure that no oil gets spilled to the other hands, the other is after eating the food to wipe the lips and mouth with extra food.

A Napkin is made of paper, usually white, and designed to be disposable like once used it cannot be used again. As Serviette is made up of cloth it cannot be thrown directly into the dustbin, it is used again after washing the cloth with detergent to make sure that no oil or food is left on the cloth.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2431-12-59
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