How Can I Dry My Dishes Without a Dish Rack? We found some good alternatives!

After washing your dishes, the most sanitary way is to let them air dry. You can solve this easily if you have a good quality dish rack next to the sink. However, you may have a small kitchen and you don’t want to waste valuable countertop space on a dish drying rack.

The purpose of my post is to review what tools and methods you can use to dry your dishes if you don’t have a dish rack.

You can dry your dishes in several efficient and sanitary ways:

• Place a clean tea towel on a tray or the kitchen counter and arrange the washed dishes on it.
• You can also place paper towels on the tray or kitchen counter to drain your dishes, but this only works with good quality paper.

• Dish mats can be made of various materials, such as microfiber or silicone. The good thing about them is that you can roll them up after use and put them aside.
• The dish drainer board should be used next to the kitchen sink, as it is designed to drain the water dripping from the dishes into the sink. When you're not using it, simply store it away.

• If you have a double-bowl sink, you can use one bowl for washing dishes, and the other for draining and drying them.
• If you have a dishwasher, you can use its racks to drain and dry manually washed dishes.

Important things to know about dish-drying

The drying methods described in this article may even be better and more hygienic alternatives than dish drying racks.

Some lower-quality plastic drying racks can be difficult to clean and may retain water, which favors the growth of bacteria and mold in a warm kitchen environment. It is important to use a clean and dry surface when drying dishes to prevent the growth and spread of microorganisms.

Dish racks made of non-stainless metal can rust easily. In some cases, these metal dish dryers are coated with plastic, which tends to chip off quickly.

Do not stack wet dishes on top of each other so that the water can evaporate as quickly as possible. Tilt them slightly to the side so that the water does not pool on them. Dry the dishes completely before putting them in the cupboard. Dishes rinsed with hot water dry faster than those rinsed with cold water.


Can dishes be dried with a towel?

Rubbing or tapping the dishes with a kitchen towel is an unsanitary way to dry them. With this method, microorganisms can easily spread to clean kitchenware. Proper and hygienic dish drying is especially important if there are small children or immunocompromised people in your household.

According to the CDC recommendation, it is best to place dishes on a clean, unused textile or paper towel to drain and dry completely. You may also be interested in why people use textile towels to dry their dishes.

It is best to change textile dish towels daily. Wash the used ones with the warm water cycle of your washing machine, and if possible, dry them in the sun. The sun’s UV rays make kitchen textiles whiter and have a disinfecting effect.

Benefits of drying your textiles in the sun

Do dish-drying mats work?

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Dish drying mats work well, but it is important to keep them clean. They can be made of microfiber or silicone. It is important to wash and dry the dish mats completely before storing them to prevent mold growth.

A good feature of the microfiber dish mat is that it can absorb a large amount of water. It is also machine washable. When you don’t need the mat, you can simply roll it up so it doesn’t take up valuable space on your kitchen counter. Check out these microfiber dish mats on Amazon.


Dish mats can also be made of food-grade silicone, which can be washed in a dishwasher. When you don’t need the mat, you can simply tuck it away after washing and drying it. Check out our recommendation on Amazon.

Plastic dish draining boards can be a good solution

Dish draining boards are a good alternative to dish racks. They should be used next to the kitchen sink so that the water that drips from the dishes goes into the sink. Draining boards are easy to keep clean, and you can put them aside when you don’t need them. Check the price on Amazon.

Do I need a drying rack if I have a dishwasher?

Clean dishes in the dishwasher's upper rack.
You can dry your kitchenware in the dishwasher racks instead of a countertop drying rack.

If you use a dishwasher to clean your dishes, it is best to leave them in the machine until they are completely dry. Some dishwashers have a separate heater for this purpose.

All new-generation dishwashers must meet modern energy-saving requirements, so the dishes are dried using the residual heat of the hot water washing cycle. With such machines, drying can take up to two hours, and the use of a rinse aid is also recommended.

However, not all kitchen utensils and dishes are dishwasher-safe, and large pots and pans rarely fit in the dishwasher. There will always be things that need to be washed manually, such as non-stick pans, wooden spoons and cutting boards, copper and aluminum pots, and some plastic utensils.

However, you can also put your manually washed kitchen utensils and dishes in the dishwasher racks to drain and dry. So if you have a dishwasher, you don’t necessarily need an additional dish rack in the kitchen.


Final thoughts

The most hygienic way to dry dishes is to let them air dry. Most people use a dish rack for this purpose, but you don’t have to despair even if you don’t have one in your kitchen.

You can dry the dishes by placing them on a dish mat or a clean kitchen towel. If you have a dishwasher, you can also dry the kitchenware in its racks.

You may also wish to read whether it’s a good idea to leave your dishwasher open after use.



My name is Debora, the founder of My Delicious Sweets, and a qualified confectioner with broad experience in the confectionery industry. On my blog, I will share important, interesting, and fun facts about food, along with some of my favorite recipes.

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