The 10 Best Dish Drying Mats

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This wiki has been updated 28 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 things securely while allowing them to air dry quickly. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Norpro Gray

2. Novu Premium

3. Oxo Good Grips

Editor's Notes

March 05, 2020:

Except for a few outliers, there are basically two types of dish drying mats to consider, fabric and silicone. We've kept a mix of both, although some users simply will not like the latter. Why? Because the water sits on the mat until you drain it, rather than soaking into a fabric. But for those who move quickly from rinsing to drying to putting everything away, these silicone models are quite handy, as they do catch the water and make it easy to pour it right back into the sink. Regarding these types, we still like the Oxo Good Grips, and we've added the Novu Premium, which has taller ridges than many, keeping the dishes away from the wet surface below. These are both quite plain, it must be said, which is why we've kept the modern, cheery Joseph Joseph Flume as a more eye-catching alternative.

As for fabric choices, we like the budget-friendly S&T Microfiber, although it can take a while to dry thoroughly once soaked or washed. The Norpro Gray is perhaps a sturdier alternative, but it isn't offered in nearly the range of color choices. If you require a lot of drying space, the Coop Home Goods Reversible is a good option to consider; wash them carefully, as rough treatment can cause the material to bunch.

Finally, regarding options that are a little different, there's the Boon Lawn, which lives up to its name by resembling a little silicone patch of grass. It's something of a novelty, but for lightweight items, it does provide good air circulation. We also elected to add the Surpahs Over-the-Sink, which is part mat and part dish rack. It is a workable choice for those who need a lightweight option that won't take up too much room, but you may find it tough to use with heavy pots or dishes.

October 11, 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.

Special Honors

Williams Sonoma All Purpose Pantry Towels Those who are of the opinion that it is tough to beat a kitchen towel spread on the counter might take a look at the Williams Sonoma All Purpose Pantry Towels. Large at 30 inches long, they'll provide ample room for everything from plates to glasses and more. Plus, they're made from cotton that should become softer with each laundering.

You Customize It Mat Want something different and eye-catching, something that's sure to grab the attention of all your guests? Then consider the You Customize It Mat, which can be personalized with cute pictures as well as your text or initials. There are tons of designs to select from, including famous artwork, simple geometric patterns, holiday-themed templates, and more.

4. Surpahs Over-the-Sink

5. Umbra Lightweight

6. Joseph Joseph Flume

7. S&T Microfiber

8. The Original XL

9. Boon Lawn

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

10. Coop Home Goods Reversible

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

Is Drying Dishes Sanitary?

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.

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.

You can take some of the drudgery out of the dishes, however, if you utilize the following hacks.

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 that you should draw firm boundaries around when you will and won't do your housekeeping.

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.

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

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