Dealing with a rusty dish drying rack? This ultimate guide to preventing rust formation on dish drying racks explains what rust is, how it’s formed, and how to keep your dish racks free from rust.
Dish racks are a necessary tool for keeping dishes squeaky clean. But they are often neglected and not cared for properly, which leads to rust formation and ultimately leads to needing to buy another rack.
While rust is the number one enemy of dish racks, it’s actually preventable! But rust can happen if you don’t take care of your dish rack. You need to clean and dry dish racks regularly, preserve its outer coating, handle dishes with care and use mechanical tape in damaged areas.
To prevent rust on your dish rack follow these simple steps-clean and dry regularly, preserve the outer coating by handling dishes with care, and what to do when you find rust on your dish rack to prevent it from spreading further.
What is rust and why does it form on dish racks?
Rust is an iron oxide, a compound of iron and oxygen. Oxygen is highly reactive; in the presence of water and moisture, it binds with iron and produces iron oxides aka rust. So rusting requires both oxygen and moisture to be present, or else a piece of steel will never rust. Learn more about rust and how it forms here.
Manufacturers use different techniques to tackle this problem. Most commonly, they make racks from stainless steel, an alloy of iron that is rust-resistant. Stainless steel is produced by mixing iron with little carbon and approximately 11% chromium. This added chromium creates a protective layer of chrome oxide on the surface.
Another method is to add a coating of chromium or zink to the surface. This process is known as galvanizing. In some cases, Plastic or other materials are used for the protective layer. It’s comparatively cheaper than other methods, but the steel is still vulnerable to rust if the layer gets damaged.
6 steps to prevent rust on your dish rack
Dish racks are one of the most important and often used tools in the kitchen, but they are also one of the most neglected. Rust is the number one enemy of dish racks and it can quickly make your dish rack unusable.
But prevent rusting from happening by following these simple steps:
- Clean your dish rack regularly: This is the most important step in preventing rust. Make sure to agitate all the parts of the dish rack and clean it thoroughly under running water. Use a brush, if you have one, to clean the smaller and trickier areas.
- Rinse off everything completely: Make sure to rinse off the dish rack completely after you’ve cleaned it. Any water left on the dish rack will cause rust.
- Dry the dish rack: This is another very important step in preventing rust. Make sure to dry your dish rack completely before using it again, or else you’ll just be asking for rust to form.
- Preserve dish drying rack coating: This coating can prevent rust from happening, but only if it’s intact. If there are any damaged areas, cover them with some mechanical tape.
- Handle dishes with care: This is especially important if your dish rack doesn’t have a protective coating. Be careful when placing dishes in the rack and don’t overload it. This will prevent any accidental damage to the coating.
- Use mechanical tape in damaged area: If your dish rack has a protective coating and you find some damage, use some mechanical tape to cover the affected area. This will prevent rust from happening (read more below for how to prevent rust spread).
How to clean and preserve the outer coating of dish racks
There are a few ways to clean and preserve the outer coating of dish racks to prevent rust from forming:
- Vinegar Method: This is a method that can be used to prevent rusting as well as molds or bacterial growth. Pour white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the dish rack. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off with water.
- Baking Soda: Another way to prevent rusting is by using baking soda. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the dish rack. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off with water.
- Sunshine: Sunlight can also help prevent rusting. Place the dish rack in direct sunlight for a few hours every week.
Mechanical tape in damaged areas
If your dish rack has a protective coating and you find some damage, cover the affected area with some mechanical tape. This will prevent rust from happening.
If your rack has a protective plastic coating on it, regularly check for any damaged region. If you find any, use some mechanical tape. Cover all the affected area with tape; it will provide good protection against water or moisture. A good bit of tape can save your rack from rusting and prolong its service life.
The Best Dish Racks that Prevent Rusting
If you’re in the market for a new dish rack, there are a few models that prevent rusting from happening. The following dish racks have a protective coating on them that helps prevent rust:
- OXO Good Grips Rust-Proof Dish Rack: The OXO Good Grips Rust-Proof dish rack comes with a built-in drain and a rubberized base to prevent slipping. It also has a protective coating that helps prevent rust.
- Joseph Joseph Dish Rack: This Joseph Joseph rust preventing dish rack is made from durable plastic and comes with a removable utensil holder and a drip tray. It also has a protective coating to prevent rust.
- HB Life Aluminum Never Rust Dish Rack: This aluminum rust preventing dish rack is made of stainless steel and comes with a rust-resistant coating. It also has a removable utensil holder and a draining tray.
- Simplehuman Dish Rack: This SimpleHuman stainless steel dish rack is made of stainless steel and comes with a rust-resistant coating. It’s also the only dish rack that comes with a lifetime warranty against rusting.
So, if you’re looking for a dish rack that won’t rust, be sure to check out one of the models listed above or check out our full review on the best rust-proof dish racks.
Watch how to remove rust from metal
If you’re looking for a more visual guide on how to clean rust formation on a dish rack, check out this video:
More tips for taking care of your dish drying rack
Looking for more ways to take care of your dish racks? Look no further:
- How to Keep a Dish Rack Clean (Best Dish Rack Cleaning Tips)
- How to Use Vinegar to Clean a Dish Drying Rack
- How to Clean Dish Rack in The Right Way!
UPDATE: This post was originally published in August 2020 and was updated for clarity in February 2022.