How to Wash a Dish Rack


Even if you have a dishwasher, chances are you have a dish rack next to your sink as well. It's handy for those times when you just have a few dishes to wash, or the dishwasher is so full it can't fit another fork. Ironically, the dish rack is often dirty, despite only clean dishes being placed in it. Mold and mildew can grow when water puddles in the drip tray, and minerals can accumulate if you have hard water. For a truly clean kitchen, you must clean your dish rack, too.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Dish detergent
  • Bottle brush or old toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Bleach
  • Empty your dish rack and wipe up any puddles of standing water with a paper towel. (Don't use your dish sponge; this water is likely to be contaminated with bacteria and mold.)

  • Separate the parts of your dish rack (including unsnapping the utensil holder from the main rack, if possible). Wash each part (dish rack, utensil holder, and drip tray in that order) with dish detergent and a new sponge in hot running water. Scrub in between each rib of the dish rack. Reach into the bottom of the utensil holder so you can scrub it forcefully. If it is too narrow for your hand, use a bottle brush or old toothbrush to get the crud out. Then scrub the drip tray.

  • Check the tray to make sure all the visible dirt and stains are gone. Use a cotton swab to clean the corners if they are still dirty, or if there is grime in small crevices that you can't reach with a sponge.

  • Fill the sink with water, and add one tablespoon of bleach for each gallon of water the sink holds. Soak the parts of the dish rack in the sanitizing bleach solution for two minutes. Take them out and let them air dry on paper towels on the counter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use more bleach than recommended, since the dish rack comes into contact with surfaces that touch food.
  • Don't use a steel-wool pad instead of a sponge; it will scratch up the plastic and make more hiding places for germs and dirt.


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