5 Clever Ways to Use a Dish Rack (Beyond Using It to Air-Dry Your Dishes)

updated Sep 3, 2021
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There’s something magical about a good dish-drying rack — the way the dishes stand up and drip dry without getting water spots, the cutlery all organized in one section, the visual reminder that you’ve washed all the dishes and now it’s up to the air to do the rest of the work.

Plus, dish racks can be used for things other than holding your soon-to-be-dry dishes. If you’re looking for an excuse to swap out your old, boring version for a flashier model, consider this: You can actually repurpose the old one around the kitchen, instead of just throwing it away or donating it.

Here are five good ways to organize your kitchen with a dish rack. Let’s check them out!

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Get kiddie dishes under control.

Kids’ dishware is notoriously hard to store. All those “fun” shapes and plastic containers are great for getting your child interested in eating, but they don’t stack super-well and always flop all over the place. Enter: the dish rack, hidden inside a cabinet. Use the vertical slots to file plates, the tines to keep bottles and cups in place, and the silverware caddy for tiny kiddo flatware.

2. Use it like a basket.

When you think about a basic wire dish rack, it’s basically a basket, right? Use it to corral snacks on a pantry shelf or to hold folded-up kitchen linens that would otherwise just tip over and make a mess.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

3. Organize all your storage container lids.

Storage container lids can be just as annoying to organize as kiddie plates. They’re all different sizes and don’t nest together. File them away in a dish rack and you won’t have to risk making a tumbling mess when you grab one.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

4. Weigh down containers during a dishwasher cycle.

Lightweight, plastic storage containers tend to get moved around during a dishwasher cycle, and you almost always open the door to find at least one thats right-side up and full of dirty water. Use an old dish rack to weigh the pieces down and your problem is solved.

5. Set up command central.

If you’re someone who uses the kitchen as the office for work or household management, you probably have a few files and supplies that need organizing. A dish rack can come in handy here, too, holding files upright and providing a spot for pens, scissors, and more in the utensil cup.

Have you come up with a smart alternative use for a dish rack? Tell us your ideas in the comments below.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)