The Smart Finnish Kitchen Staple That Makes Cleanup Easy

updated Dec 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Mackenzie Schieck)

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away — how did that happen? — you may have turkey on the brain. Plus stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and don’t forget the pie. And once the feast is over, there will be a mountain of dishes — which would be so much easier to handle if you lived in Finland (or just stole this smart idea).

What Is a Finnish dish-drying cabinet?

I’m talking about Finnish dish-drying cabinets, or Astiankuivauskaappi as they are charmingly (or unpronounceably) called.

The idea is just as charmingly simple: The shelves above the kitchen sink are made of wire or dowels instead of being solid. This allows your dishes to drip dry — sometimes right into the sink, or other times into trays or drawers to catch the drips.

Pretty clever, right? Especially if you don’t have a dishwasher.

Side note: As it turns out, the first dish-drying cabinet was patented in the U.S., not Finland, but the idea never caught on. In Finland, basically every home has one, according to to the podcast 99% Invisible.

Of course, if you don’t have shelving over your sink (and have, say, a window for watching your kids play in the backyard), this solution might not be right for you (although there are under-the-counter options, too).

But if you do have shelving over your sink and you don’t have a dishwasher and you live in a small kitchen, well, you may want to start practicing your Finnish pronunciation.

We’re also fans of Yamazaki’s Over-the-Sink Dish Rack, which takes inspiration from the dish-drying cabinet without necessitating a complete cabinet overhaul.

What do you think? Is this the dish-drying idea that will save Thanksgiving?