dish drying rack to dishwasher

Can You Put a Dish Drying Rack in the Dishwasher?

Dish drying racks hold our soaking wet dishes after they’ve been cleaned. And although these contraptions are basic, they can be seen in most kitchens in the UK.

Drying racks come in different sizes, shapes and materials, like metal and plastic, so you can usually pick up a dish rack to suit your kitchen’s look.

There is, however, one minor issue with drying racks – they get dirty if they aren’t cleaned regularly!

Although you wouldn’t expect the racks to get coated in filth, they do become rather grotty after a while. They get caked in gloopy, greasy grime, catch chunks of food, and become riddled in soapy residue.

You can even see the blobs of dirt pooling in the corners/on the feet of the rack in some extreme cases! Yucky!

Cleaning the drying rack is the only way to ensure that it’s free-from grime, hygienic and bacteria-free, ready for when you need to pop clean glasses, cookware and cutlery onto it.

But can you wash a dish drying rack in a dishwasher?

You can clean a dish drying rack in a dishwasher if the care tag on the item says it is safe to do so.

So, look for a care tag before you try cleaning your drying rack in a dishwasher. You should also check that it fits in the dishwasher without interfering with the spray arms or anything else.

If you can’t find a care label or some sort of stamp on your drying rack, stick to washing your dish drying rack by hand.


Stainless Steel and Chrome Drying Racks

black dish drying rack

As a guide, drying racks made from sturdy and hard-wearing materials like stainless steel and chrome can usually be cleaned in a dishwasher because they can handle the hot water and water pressure far better than other materials.

But before you throw these types of racks into the dishwasher, you must remove any detachable parts from them, like the utensil box. You do this for two reasons, the first being, you don’t want the attachments to come loose mid-wash and go flying around inside the dishwasher.

The second reason for doing this is that extra attachments like a cutlery holder may not be made from the same durable material and, therefore, might need to be cleaned in a different way (by hand, for example).

After you’ve cleaned a metal drying rack, you should dry it thoroughly, so you prevent rust from forming on it!


Rubber and Plastic Drying Racks

white plastic dish drying rack

When it comes to dish drying racks made from rubber or plastic, you should err on the side of caution because many of these racks aren’t suitable for dishwashers.

The main issue is that the intense heat and water pressure can melt and damage the plastic/rubber racks and can render them unusable. And in some extreme cases, the melted plastic can also harm the dishwasher itself, but this is rare.

If you can clean your plastic drying rack in a dishwasher, (the care label states it’s safe to do so), you should put the rack towards the top of the dishwasher and use a lower water temperature (if possible).

By placing the drying rack high up in the dishwasher, you keep it away from the heating element. In turn, this should help to protect the rack for longer.


Wood and Bamboo Drying Racks

wood dish drying rack

Drying racks made from wood and bamboo shouldn’t be cleaned in a dishwasher!

If you were to clean these types of drying racks in a dishwasher, they wouldn’t be able to handle the long-term exposure to water and heat, and eventually, they’d end up splintering and getting weaker with every wash. Definitely hand wash these kinds of dish drying racks!

On the other hand, if your drying rack’s care label stipulates that the item is ‘not dishwasher-safe’, don’t put the rack in the dishwasher because you’ll likely ruin it. This kind of drying rack must be washed by hand in a sink or bucket.


A Quick Recap

Dish drying racks are the unsung heroes of kitchens! They’re there to hold our damp dishes, some can double up as cupboard organisers, and others can be stored out of sight when they’re not in use.

Here are the main points to keep in mind when cleaning a dish rack in a dishwasher:

  • You should check your dish drying rack to see if it’s ‘dishwasher-friendly’ before you pop it inside a dishwasher. If the care label states the item is ‘dishwasher safe’, you can clean the rack in the dishwasher.
  • If the care label on the dish drying rack states ‘not dishwasher safe’, you shouldn’t put the rack in the dishwasher. In this case, you’ll have to clean the dish rack by hand.
  • The dish drying rack’s material will determine if it can go in a dishwasher. Hard-wearing materials, like stainless steel and chrome, can be cleaned in a dishwasher. But not all plastic and rubber dish racks can go in a dishwasher.
  • Put plastic dish racks, like ones made from polypropylene, on the top rack in the dishwasher to keep them away from the heating element.
  • Dry your dish drying racks as soon as you can.

stainless steel dish rack


How to Clean a Dish Drying Rack Without a Dishwasher

The easiest way to clean a dish drying rack by hand is to fill a sink with hot, soapy water, then pop the drying rack to soak in the water.

When you’ve allowed the rack to soak for a few minutes, you can start to clean it using a dishcloth or soft toothbrush. Just remember to clean in between all the nooks and crannies!

If you clean your dish drying rack on a regular basis, large deposits won’t have too much time to form on the rack, so it’ll be easier to clean.

When you’re done washing the dish rack, you can rinse it and dry it immediately.


FAQs on Dish Drying Racks

Dish drying rack

Can you use a dishwasher as a drying rack?

Yes, you can use a dishwasher as a drying rack. For this to work out for the best, you must load your clean bowls and plates into the appliance, and leave the dishwasher’s door open, so no foul smells accumulate inside the machine as the dishes air dry.

All you need to do then is wait for the plates, glasses and cutlery to dry, and you can pop them away.


Are drying racks hygienic?

Dish drying racks can be hygienic if they are cleaned regularly. However, dish drying racks can become overrun with gunk, bacteria and slimy build-ups if they are not washed frequently. If you’re drying rack is covered in greasy, chunky deposits, you need to clean it.


Is a dish drying rack necessary?

A dish drying rack is a tool that you can put your clean dishes onto after you’ve washed them. They’re an incredibly useful contraption to have at home because they can help speed up the drying process and can organise your dishes for you.

However, they’re not classified as an absolutely essential item that you must have in a home!


Why is there slimy stuff on my dish drying rack?

The slimy stuff you see on your dish rack is likely to be a mix of stagnant water, soapy residue, and grime that has slid off your dishes as they’ve been sat drying.

The deposits have essentially pooled together and formed a gooey mess. If you see slimy deposits forming on your dish rack, it’s a sign that it needs to be cleaned!