The 10 Best Dish Drying Mats
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Whether you don't use enough crockery and cutlery to justify running the dishwasher or you just have a few delicate pieces that have to be washed by hand, you'll need somewhere safe to place them after cleaning. These dish drying mats come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials, but are all designed to hold kitchen items securely while allowing them to air dry quickly. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best dish drying mat on Amazon.
October 10, 2018:
Replaced discontinued items and added the Umbra Lightweight due to its dual-purpose drying rack/mat design. Removed the Kitchenized KM1010 as its small size makes it better suited as a trivet or strainer than a drying mat.
Is Drying Dishes Sanitary?
The answer is that it depends on how you end up drying them.
Nobody likes to do dishes. It's a thankless chore, and one that never ends. But at least all that hard work has a purpose, right? You and your family get clean dishes, after all.
But how clean do they get, really?
The answer is that it depends on how you end up drying them. If you use a towel, there's a good chance that there will still be some leftover moisture on your plates and cups when they go up in your cupboard — and that's a great way to turn your fine china into Petri dishes.
That's not even taking into consideration the germs that may already be growing on those towels, so you might be transferring pathogens onto your dishes even if you put them up dry.
Letting them air dry is a smarter choice. You'll need to make sure they're thoroughly dry before you put them away, of course, but bacteria are less likely to grow on air-dried dishes.
The difference is especially stark after 48 hours. Before then, there's a similar amount of bacteria on wet and dry dishes, but at the two-day mark the microbial population explodes. That probably won't make much difference if you're one of those bachelors who only owns a single plate and cup, but for everyone else, it should provide plenty of motivation to make sure your stuff is dry before it goes in the cabinet.
Most modern dishwashers do a fantastic job of both sanitizing and drying your plates, so they're still the best option, if it's feasible for you. Failing that, though, you're much better off setting them up in a rack over a mat, and then just waiting.
It's less work, too — talk about a win/win situation.
A Better Way To Wash Dishes
If there's one thing dirty dishes and cockroaches have in common, it's that there will still be plenty of each left after the apocalypse. You can take some of the drudgery out of the dishes, however, if you utilize the following hacks.
The first thing you should do is get the proper gear. You're already looking for dish mats, so that's a good start, but you should also get a bin — in fact, get at least two (more on this in a minute). Throw your sponges away as well, as they're germ factories, and replace them with plastic brushes, which get drier and have fewer places for bacteria to hide. If you're committed to your sponge, though, toss it in the microwave for a few minutes before you use it.
Keep another bin — or one of your sinks — full of soapy water.
Now that you've got all your stuff ready, it's time to get your hands dirty. Instead of keeping your soiled crockery in the sink, keep it in one of those bins. This keeps your sink open and available for washing, food prep, or giving your little pug a bath.
Keep another bin — or one of your sinks — full of soapy water. You'll transfer each dish that you need to wash to this bin for scrubbing. The idea is to avoid washing things one at a time, which wastes both water and your time.
If you've got anything that will require some serious elbow grease, fill it with soap and hot water and let it soak while you work on everything else. Pick your dishes from easy to hard; the easy ones can go by quickly while the others soak, giving you a sense of accomplishment while also loosening up any caked-on gunk.
Scrub and rinse the dishes, and then set them in the drying rack. If you don't have a drying rack, you can just set an oven rack over your sink, but having a dedicated spot for your stuff to air dry is certainly preferable — you want to keep that sink open and available.
Once everything's scrubbed, rinsed, and set aside, all you have to do is wait for it to dry. You shouldn't just twiddle your thumbs while you wait — you should pour yourself a drink, since you've earned it.
Of course, you'll likely be tempted to drink straight from the bottle — it will save a glass, after all.
How to Save Time Doing Housework
It might seem like the amount of free time you have dwindles every week, while the time you spend doing chores increases exponentially. The good news is that we're not actually doing more housework than we have in the past — we're simply doing exactly as much as we did a century ago.
Fortunately, there are ways to make things a little easier, though, and we're going to show you how.
That means re-using towels and wearing clothes for multiple days, so you have to do less laundry, and cooking simple meals, so there are fewer dishes to wash.
The first thing you should realize is that your time spent doing chores will expand to fill however much time you allot to it. That means that you should draw firm boundaries around when you will and won't do your housekeeping.
For example, refuse to do chores on the weekend. Not only will this free up two days of your life each week, but it will force you to be more efficient when you're working. You can do things as necessary during the week, and hire outside help to do the really tedious stuff.
If you limit the amount of work you create, you'll also limit the amount of work you have to do. That means re-using towels and wearing clothes for multiple days, so you have to do less laundry, and cooking simple meals, so there are fewer dishes to wash.
You can also try to turn things into a game. Time yourself doing basic chores, and then see if you can beat your record next time around. Give yourself a reward if you do, like a glass of wine or a night at the movies. That can help you speed up the process, while also making it a little more fun.
Of course, don't let yourself have too much fun cleaning your house — that's just weird.
Statistics and Editorial Log