I Tried the Dish Drying Pad That’s All Over Instagram (and Made of Fossilized Algae!)

updated Nov 1, 2022
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dish drying rack with two glasses
Credit: Dana McMahan

You know how sometimes you don’t even realize that something needs to be improved upon until a new, better version comes along? I didn’t like the rubber dish draining mat we kept by our sink for hand-washed things, but never really thought about it — until I saw Dorai Home Dish Pad.

Dorai sells a whole lineup of pretty, modern kitchen essentials, but I was just there for the mat. It’s a drying pad that folds up so it doesn’t take up a ton of counter space (okay, normal), and is made with diatomaceous earth to instantly dry anything you put on top. Wait, what?

The only thing I knew about diatomaceous earth was that it’s a natural flea repellant — I’ve bought the powder to sprinkle onto my dog’s bed before. I knew I had to try the Dorai Home Dish Pad because I was so curious how they were using the powder to magically dry dishes.

A Review of Dorai Home Dish Pad

Diatomaceous earth (aka grass of the sea) is a mineral made from “the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms,” according to Dorai’s website. When moisture hits the surface of something made with this stuff, “the material attracts and binds bacteria and parasites, causing them to dry out and die,” according to the site. With millions of pores in these products made with diatomaceous earth, water just evaporates super quickly. 

Sounds good, right? Especially because the dish towels I had to set under my rubber mat would invariably get a funky smell before I’d think to replace them — not to mention just always look kind of messy and cluttered. 

Credit: Dana McMahan

So did the mat live up to the pretty high expectations that Dorai set? Yes. The diatomaceous earth just seemingly soaks up any water and the silicone mesh that wraps around the material lets air circulate, too. I set dripping wet dishes directly from the sink onto the mat, and the next time I looked at them, there was absolutely no water. I’ve yet to find any puddles that pool underneath the mat and I’ve never had to worry about a moldy, funky-smelling towel.

The fact that the whole thing folds up into thirds is also brilliant. I mostly just leave it all the way open (it’s about 19 inches x 15 inches) because that provides enough room for all the dishes we’d have to do after a meal. But if I feel like cleaning the counter and want to declutter, it tucks in the cabinet under the sink. My old rubber mat was floppy and usually wet, so it was never ideal to try and stow it away.

Credit: Dana McMahan

And as far as aesthetics go, the light and dark gray colors, low profile, and offset pattern of the silicone mesh is modern and nice to look at.

Just one thing to note: This thing is so popular that it’s often sold out so if you see it, I’d highly recommend grabbing it. In fact, I’m about to get another pad right now…

Have you tried anything made with diatomaceous earth? What did you think?