This $15 Gadget Helps Keep My Kitchen Sink from Getting Scummy (and It’s Pretty!)

published May 15, 2023
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White kitchen sink with gray cabinets, white countertops, rustic wood-framed window

When I set up our new kitchen, I couldn’t wait to get some pretty amber glass soap dispensers — per my mood board — to store dish soap and hand soap by the sink. I loved the warm glow of the color and it felt like the finishing touch on a project that had been months in the making. 

Knowing that items left out on counters tend to look more organized when they’re set on a tray of some sort, I also got a bamboo dish to set the dispensers on. I added a matching bamboo soap dish to set our sponges on, too. Before long, though, the bamboo tray started to show signs that it was not well suited for a constant onslaught of water. We frequently dispense soap with dripping wet hands. In addition, the soap dish used for the sponge almost always has a wet one on it. (This family of seven has a lot of dishes!). Eventually, the bamboo began to get slimy, swollen, and full of mildew. Gross!

I knew I needed a different tray, but I didn’t want a hard material like ceramic or marble that I’d have to empty out and clean all the time. Then, I saw a solution on home design influencer Lisa Chun’s (Our Home Becoming) Instagram feed and I knew I had to try it. She showed a tray made of absorbent stone that eliminated the problems caused by pooling water. 

I searched “stone soap dish” on Amazon and eventually decided on this set of Water Absorbent Diatomite Trays. I liked that it had two sizes and four total pieces. I opened the box immediately when it came and put on the small rubber feet that came with the trays. Although I was a bit surprised to see the addition of the rubber feet in the packaging, I realized they’re a good idea because they keep the tray from clanging against the counter and possibly scuffing or cracking. 

The soap dispensers fit perfectly on the larger rectangular tray, and though I tried to use the smaller one for my sponge, I ended up switching to the other rectangular one for it, too. The square was just too small. (If you cut your sponge in half or use a Scrub Daddy or something like that, though, the square could work.) 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

Obviously they’re gorgeous, but I was also amazed at how well they absorb water! I even stood there dripping a bit of water on one and watching it sink into the tray. The water gets absorbed almost instantly so that there are no unsightly water spots and the area next to the sink stays nice, dry, and tidy-looking. The tray under the sponge also works well, but because the sponge takes longer to dry, the stone doesn’t absorb the water quite as fast. It looks a little darker than the other one, but it’s hardly noticeable. 

All told, I’m thrilled with these new trays. I’m so glad to get rid of my previous misshapen, soggy, moldy tray, and the smaller one that was headed in the same direction. These stone soap trays are one of the best kitchen problem-solvers I’ve encountered in a while — and did I mention how pretty they look at my sink? My bathroom just might be next.

Buy: NiuYichee Water Absorbent Diatomite Tray, $14.99