How to Clean Rust From a Dish Drying Rack

Is your dish drying rack rusty? Learn why rust forms on your dish rack, how to clean it using common household products, and how to rust-proof your metal dish racks.

clean plates being placed on a metal dish drying rack

Cleaning your dish rack is a pain, but it’s even worse when the metal rusts.

Rust can form on any metal surface, but it’s especially common on dish racks because they’re constantly exposed to water and food particles.

Fortunately there are many ways to remove rust from a dish drying rack, including baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice or WD-40. In fact, many of these products can help to prevent rust from forming on your metal dish rack in the first place.

Ready to learn how to remove and prevent rust on your drying racks? Read on for more tips!


What is rust and how does it form on dish racks?

Rust is a common term for iron oxide. Rust is formed when the metal surface is exposed to oxygen and moisture, like on dish racks or other kitchen gadgets that are constantly exposed to water and food particles.

If your dish rack is made of iron or steel, it’s more likely to rust. Stainless steel, copper and aluminum materials are less likely to rust.


How to remove rust from metal dish racks

wet dishes stacked in a metal dish drying rack sitting in the sink

Rust is porous and can absorb more dirt and grime into itself, which makes cleaning very difficult. Fortunately there are many ways to remove rust when it has formed on metal, using either purchased products or natural rust-removing materials you likely have around the house.

How to clean rust with baking soda

One of the most common rust-removing products is baking soda. With its abrasive properties, it can remove rust from metal surfaces by lightly scratching through the rusted surface and getting rid of the discoloration.

Steps to remove rust with baking soda:

  1. Mix three parts water with one part baking soda to create a paste consistency.
  2. Apply the paste to the rusty area and scrub until the rust comes off.
  3. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to get rid of any remaining baking soda residue.

How to clean rust with vinegar

An alternative method for removing rust is to use white distilled vinegar. It will eat away at the rust without scratching the metal, so it’s ideal if you want to keep your metal dish rack in pristine condition.

Steps to remove rust with vinegar:

  1. Soak a paper towel or cloth in white vinegar and lay it over the rusty area for 10 minutes.
  2. Wipe away any excess rust with a clean, damp cloth.
  3. If there’s still some residue left on your dish rack, soak another paper towel or cloth in vinegar and lay it over the area again.

How to clean rust with lemon juice

Lemon juice is a natural rust-removing agent that will also give your dish rack a fresh, citrusy scent.

Steps to remove rust with lemon juice:

  1. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze out its juice directly onto the rusty area.
  2. Let it sit for an hour before wiping the area with a clean, damp cloth.
  3. Rinse off the dish rack and any lemon juice drips still remaining.

How to clean rust with hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another natural rust-removing agent you can use on your dish rack. It evaporates quickly without leaving behind any residues, so it’s less likely to affect the metal’s paint coating.

Steps to remove rust with hydrogen peroxide:

  1. Soak a rag or paper towel in hydrogen peroxide and wrap it around the rusty area.
  2. Leave it for 15 minutes, then remove and wipe away the rust with a clean cloth.

How to clean rust with WD-40

WD-40 works as a solvent to get rid of any oil or grease on your metal dish rack, which naturally repels water and reduces the likelihood of corrosion. It’s ideal if you want to help prevent rust from forming on your dish rack.

Steps to remove rust with WD-40:

  1. Spray the rusty area with WD-40 and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Wipe away the rusty residue using a clean, dry cloth.
  3. If there are any stubborn bits of rust left over, spray them again and let the WD-40 sit for a few more minutes.

If you’ve tried all of these methods but still can’t get rid of the rust on your dish rack, there may be deeper corrosion that needs professional treatment or you may need to pitch your rusty dish rack and find a new rust-proof dish drying rack.


How to prevent rust from forming on your dish rack

There are several things you can do to help prevent rust from forming on your dish racks. First, make sure they’re thoroughly dry after use before storing them away or putting them in a cupboard.

Second, store them away or prop them up off the floor so they don’t sit in water overnight. Finally, wipe down your dish rack with cooking oil before storing them to create a protective barrier against moisture and humidity.


FAQ about rust on metal dish racks

How long does it take for rust to form on a dish drying rack?

Rust forms within 24 hours if the metal is exposed to moisture. However, it may not be possible to tell whether your dish drying rack has rust on it unless you use a magnet or scratch test. Either way, the best way to prevent rust from forming is by keeping your dish drying racks dry and clean.

How do I stop my dish drying racks from rusting?

There are several things you can do to prevent your dish drying rack from rusting. First, make sure they’re completely dry before putting them away or stowing them in a cupboard. Second, store them off the floor and away from any standing water. Finally, wipe down your dish drying racks with cooking oil to protect them and create a protective barrier against moisture and humidity.

How do I remove rust from my dish drying rack?

There are several ways you can remove rust from your dish drying rack depending on the severity of the rust and how much time you have. If the rust is only slight, you can use lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, or WD-40 to clean it. For more stubborn rust spots, try using sandpaper to scrub them away. If these don’t work, you may need to take your dish drying rack to a professional for treatment.


More tips for keeping dish racks clean

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of how to clean rust from a metal dish drying rack. You also should know how to prevent your dish drying racks from rusting and what to do if they start rusting.

Want more tips for keeping your dish drying racks in tip top shape? We’ve got you covered:

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