Skip to main content
Cooking Tips

Need an Emergency Drying Rack? Use One of These Household Items.

No more dangerous dish mountain.
By Published Nov. 23, 2022

The dishwasher is full and running. The dish rack is already piled up with clean dishes ready to dry. Unfortunately, there’s still a small stack of plates and cutlery left, but there’s nowhere to put them. 

Now what?  

Avoid the convenient, if precarious, tendency to continue to pile dishes onto your drying rack. You can make a satellite drying station using unconventional household items. 

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

You probably already have at least one of these items in your kitchen, and they’re perfect to hold drying dishes while you shine and put away the rest.  

Here are three ways to make extra space for drying dishes, glasses, and anything else you may have leftover from entertaining. 

1. A Wire Rack

The feet on a wire cooling rack elevate it enough to keep the dishes suspended while drying. It’s especially useful for drying delicate dishes like wine glasses.

Put a dish towel underneath to catch the drips (and to keep your counter dry) and wash the towel afterwards.

2. An Oven Rack

Set an oven rack over the sink. The air circulating on all sides of the rack will help dry the dishes, glasses, and any other items placed on it.

Make sure the oven rack is cool (you'll want to make sure the oven has been off for a while if it was in use) and give it a good scrubbing if needed to ensure it's clean.

3. A Colander with Extending Arms

Colanders are useful for more than just draining pasta or poaching eggs. A colander with extending arms is a great over-the-sink drainer for smaller dishes, cutlery, or utensils.

In a pinch, a standard colander with a sturdy bottom can be used to prop up cutlery and wooden utensils as well. 

Photo credit: Grace Cary/via Getty Images