One of the drawbacks of living small is the constant shuffle of dishes from the sink to the drying rack. This is especially frustrating if it feels like you’re the only one who has to worry about it.
But while you may constantly be cleaning your plates and bowels, how often do you think to clean the rack? And do you really have to?
We looked at the nitty-gritty of this basic necessity and explored the easiest way to clean it.
So scrub up, and let’s go!
What Is a Dish Drying Rack?
A dish drying rack keeps your dishes out of puddles while they dry. The frame has slots for holding plates and cups upright, so they have plenty of airflow. You can install some of them on a wall or in a cabinet. But for the most part, they are portable. Once the dishes are dry, you can easily stow the bin away for later.
Some can even fit right into your dish cabinet to help keep your plates steady for the ride.
The racks come in plastic, stainless steel wire, or wood. You can also find them with germ-fighting materials to keep them cleaner.
Is a Dish Drying Rack Necessary?
There are plenty of ways to get the job done, but you do need to dry your stoneware and silverware. Putting away wet dishes can create mold and mildew in your cabinets. It also lets bacteria quickly multiply before you have a chance to use your plates again.
You can towel dry your dinnerware, but it only works if the towel is clean. If you don’t want to waste money (or paper) on disposable towels, you’ll need a fresh towel for every load.
If you have a dishwasher, you’re all set. Unfortunately, not every RV has the space for another appliance. In that case, the dish drying rack is the most space-efficient and economical way to dry your stoneware.
Are Dish Drying Racks Sanitary?
You might think these doodads will stay clean as long as you’re not putting dirty dishes on them. For the most part, that’s true as long as they don’t stay wet. Dish drying racks are more trustworthy than towels because of the hard surface that bacteria can’t hide in.
They also give plates and bowels more air around them to dry faster. This makes them cleaner than the microfiber mats and drain boards some people use. However, you’ll still need to sanitize them regularly. The air is filled with germs looking for a lovely moist spot to multiply. No matter how well you clean your crockery, germs will make their way to the rack.
Pro Tip: Check out these Top 5 Best RV Kitchen Gear that you need in your RV.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dish Drying Rack?
In most cases, you have to wash your drying rack once a week to keep it sanitary.
If there’s grime buildup starting to show, you need to clean it more often. Ideally, you’ll want to find a rack that drains into the sink. Some racks slope towards the drain from the counters, while others can hang directly on the sink.
Another thing to pay attention to is the smell. Plastic will hold mildew odors longer than stainless steel. Give your rack a little extra love if it’s getting stinky, and don’t forget to dry it between uses.
If you have a metal dish rack, watch out for rust. Once the steel starts flaking, it’s time to retire it. Next time, you’ll know you need to do a better job keeping it clean and dry.
Clean Your Dish Drying Rack With Ease
Keeping your drying rack clean doesn’t require much know-how. You probably already have everything you need to get the job done.
Disassemble Your Dish Drying Rack
If your rack has pieces that fit together, you should take them apart before cleaning it. That way, you’re not missing any hidden germs. Just follow the directions that came with your kit. Most of them are pretty straightforward.
Soak Dish Drying Rack in Soapy Water
Soap conveniently forms little pockets that trap and remove dirt, grime, and bacteria. If you let the dish rack soak in warm soapy water, you can save the elbow grease for something else. You can also use vinegar if you prefer a more natural cleaner. While it may stink at first, vinegar is a natural deodorant.
Ideally, your dish drying rack will fit in your sink so you can fully submerge it. You can add a little bleach into the water for stubborn gunk, but don’t go overboard. A little goes a long way.
Scrub with Soft-Bristle Brush
Any soft-bristle brush will do the trick, even a toothbrush. Just make sure it’s clean before you use it. You’ll just need to wet the brush with warm water and add a dab of dish soap. Make gentle circles across the surface until it’s clean.
Rinse Thoroughly and Allow to Air Dry
Once the bristles have done the heavy lifting, you can rinse everything away. Ensure you get all the soap bubbles off before you’re finished. You can leave most racks to air dry, but you may want to use a clean microfiber cloth on a metal frame.
The sun can get it dry even faster if you have a safe spot to put it, and it will naturally kill any mold or bacteria you miss.
Can You Use Baking Soda to Clean a Dish Drying Rack?
Baking soda is cheap, and it makes a great cleaner. Since it has a high pH, it helps bacteria and fungi dissolve easily in water. Combined with vinegar, it creates carbon dioxide that can easily remove grease and grime.
You can mix a little baking soda and dish soap for a quick detergent. Add the mixture to your brush and spray vinegar onto the surface. Use the brush to clean the area, and watch while the reaction removes the grime. You can also add lemon to the vinegar for a more pleasant smell.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look at Should You Use a Microwave in an RV or Trailer?
Is a Dish Drying Rack Worth It?
We don’t really want to think about how many hours we spend doing dishes. But a dish drying rack can save you time and energy on drying, plus you won’t have to worry about towels.
You can either spend all your money on restaurants or disposable plates or buckle down and do the dishes. Unless you have the space and money for a dishwasher, the drying rack is the next best thing. Whatever your method for clearing the mess, don’t let the people you live with get away with skipping their chores.
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