Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: No dish drainer on the counter

(new graphic designed by A Source of Joy!)

Please accept my apologies for the tardiness of this post; we have been away for a few days! My brothers are also here visiting us right now. I'll share pictures from their visit later! :)

Okay, today's kitchen tip is just coming out of the experimental stages. ;)

If you've seen my kitchen pictures, you can see that I was used to having a plastic dish drainer sitting on the counter at all times. While I like the dish drainer, it seemed to be a constant puddle and unloading it was my least favorite thing to do!

I decided to try experimenting with just not having the dish drainer out. Instead of stacking my hand-washed dishes in the drainer, I put a towel on the counter and put them on that.

Somehow having a few dishes on a towel is more motivating for me to get them quickly put away so that I can then have full use of my kitchen counter -- without an empty dish drainer in the way! :) (I used to intend to put the dish drainer under the sink when it was empty but somehowI didn't usually get to that step!)

And of course, I can easily throw the towel in the wash if it's stayed wet or has been used for a few days. This wouldn't have worked before I had a dish washer, but now that I do have one this seems to be the best setup! :)

What do you do for clean wet hand-washed dishes? Do you dry them? Let them air dry? I'd love to hear what works best for you in your kitchen! :)

To participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Post a kitchen tip in your blog, with a link to this post. Then come here and add your name, tip subject, and URL to this post! Links must be family friendly, as always. Note: Please link to your individual post! Ask me if you have questions; links that go to your blog's main page will be deleted. Please, no giveaways since they "expire" and this is for timeless kitchen secrets! ;) Thanks for participating! :) 


We don't have space for a dish drainer, so I always use a towel. Works great for us! (Though I don't find that I'm as motivated to put the dishes away as you do -- I just got used to a towel full of dishes on the counter!)

lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes

It appears that we all do it, but ON A TOWEL.
I am faced with a person who wants to just lay the clean, recently washed dishes and silverware on the kitchen counter.
-Who knows when the counter was last cleaned?
-Without a towel, there is no absorbency, the dishes will take longer to dry
-Without a towel, there is no protection, delicate dishes can slide around or fall over.

what do I tell this person?

I used to use both my dishwasher for the big plates, pots, pans, and utensils. I would hand wash whatever didn't fit and put it on a dish cloth to dry. Since we've moved and counter space is at premium in my kitchen; I just use the dishwasher & air dry my dishes. I just have to use the dishwasher more frequently!

Mine is actually similar, because I found that I didn't have room for a drainer, but I still have to handwash my nonstick pots and aluminum measuring cups and spoons.

I have a skinny (6-8") white wire rack that's designed to organize shelves that extends in length, that I had lying around. I have a kitchen towel sitting underneath it, so I can stack things on the rack and on the towel. I swap out the towel periodically, when I clean the counters.

I also leave my dishes to dry on a towel or two. I found the same problem with the dish drainer - the dishes would just sit in it until we needed them again. When they are on a towel I put them away much more frequently!


I do exactly what you do - a towel on the counter for the random, bulky items that get handwashed. It is definitely more motivating to get the dishes put away when they are sitting on a towel!

My sink has a shallow and deep side. I use the deep side with a dish drainer and air dry my dishes. I used to do it the other way around, but I would wait till the deep side was full of dirty dishes and it always looked like such a task to do them. As for putting them away....not one of my favorite tasks, so I have my boys put them away (they're teenagers). Granted I usually have to look around for things because they NEVER put things away where they belong, but it's something I will do as long as I have them at home to put my dishes away. :)

Kolfinnas Korner

I always think that it makes the kitchen look so neat and clean to have all the dishes put away and the drainer put under the sink. But it doesn't happen very often at my house. Probably just for social worker visits who are coming to do a homestudy to see if I am a fit person to adopt! :)
Growing up, we did the same thing. My mom always said that letting the dishes dry on the rack is like the one job that can do itself!


I use a towel and air dry the dishes. The old dishdrainer has been repurposed, under the sink, to hold the lids to the pots and pans.
My "dishwashers" now have families of their own. LOL

I immediately put my dish drainer under the sink (I will figure out what to do with it later). My kitchen counters look a lot more spacious.

I also use a towel. Same as you, something with the dishdrainer just made the dishes sit in there longer. With the towel I am way more motivated to get them off of there.

Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free

We have a dishwasher that I put all my clean hand washed dishes in to dry. I rather enjoy washing dishes by hand, and really only use the dishwasher if we have company or a bunch of dishes, so it has become my default dish drainer. It's only the two of us, so if I waited to run the dishwasher, we'd run out of dishes. For the bigger pots and pans, I usually put them on a towel on the freezer or counter, somewhere where they are in the way in the morning, so I must put them away first thing. Big motivator.


I have a double sink and a dishdrainer that stays on one side of the double sink. I don't have a dishwasher, so there would be no point in trying to put one away when not in use, and I don't have the counter space for one on my counter, plus I don't like the clutter of that.

Tammy C.

I use a towel as well for my dishes that need to be washed by hand. It's quicker, and yes more motivating. I also didn't want a drainer sitting on my counter all day and it was a hassle taking it in and out of the cupboard.

We use kitchen towels too :)


dry them right away. I usually wash a load with hand towels every day.

I have a double sink so having a dish drainer in one all the time doesn't bother me. I never put these away at night, always in the morning when I empty the dishwasher. Its usually full of washed recyclables that need to be sorted into their proper bins or my frying pans that I don't want ruined in the dishwasher.


I threw out my dish drainer a few years ago after it got damaged in a move and have never looked back! I put out a towel on the counter and let the handwashed dishes air dry. I also have a dishwasher so I only have to hand wash the larger dishes. I have a baby bottle drying rack sitting on my counter for my daughter, but it gets a lot of use as a ziploc drying rack!

I put most things in the dishwasher, but the few items that don't go in, I let them air dry on the porcelain counter (this is an old fashioned sink that drains right into the single basin sink). I'll put them away later in the evening before bed or in the morning when I start my day by first cleaning up the kitchen. When I still had kids at home, they would dry the dishes pronto, but I'm in no hurry now. If someone unexpectly drops by, it's a quick matter of putting away those few items. I still have my dish rack under the sink and use that if I have a boat load of handwashables so things don't go sliding off onto the floor!

Sometimes I use a towel and sometimes I use the racks in the dishwasher. I just open the dishwasher and pull the racks out while I am washing. I wash, rinse, and put in the dishwasher. I leave it open, if I can, to dry, but I can easily close it up and they are out of the way. Of course, there is always emptying the dishwasher...

In Christ,


I always use a towel too. I never had a place to put a dish drainer that wasnt in use and I hated seeing it on the counter.

Dish drainer have a tendency to grow mold... ick! And that just grosses me out. I usually just use my dishwasher, but not everything fits in the dishwasher.

A towel takes up less space on my counter!

I'll wash and put them on the towel, and before bed, I will put them away, and if the dishes have cooled in the dishwasher I will empty that. i don't like anything undone before bed.

I usually let the things lay out on the towel until they are least mostly dry. I sometimes finish drying it with another towel. I also take things out of the dishwasher that are still wet and put them on the towel. I figure that I can live with water spots if it gives me more time for other things.

I have a double sink, and the dish drainer sits down in one side on the sink. I let the dishes air dry. In the five places I've lived since marrying, and in my home growing up, this is always how we've done it. I wouldn't like the clutter on the counter of a dish drainer. I have friends, though, that pull the dish drainer out after every meal, wash and dry dishes immediately, and then put it away.

Heather (married in Aug '00, mom to 5 children ages 7 1/2 yrs down to 2 months)

Ever since I can remember, I have been using a big towel for all our dishes. I don't have a dishwasher, so with five people...dishes add up! I usually just let them air dry and put them away in the morning.

I'm a towel on the counter kind of girl too. It works for me, and you're right. . . I'm less inclined to leave the dishes out!

We recently moved apartment and the dish drainer didn't make the move with us. Whilst we have a dishwasher, I often handwash as I go. I also hate running out of things waiting for a full load.
I hated using a towel. I'm all in favour of airdrying, and when stacked on a towel that never happened. The cutlery especially retained water.
I really like the idea of using the dishwaser to dry handwashed items, as my dish drainer-although it has a space under the sink-spends most of it's life on the counter too..

We wash, rinse, air dry and some times even towel dry

Well, sometimes I let stuff air dry on the counter, if it's just a few utensils or knives. But if I'm not rushing to go somewhere (or to watch Dancing With the Stars ;)) I'll take the minute or so to dry with a towel and put things away. I just like starting out with a clean kitchen next time I go to make something.

We gave up on a dish drainer a few years back. With our ever increasing family (nine of us now) the dish drainer could not hold as much as if we just stacked them neatly on the counter. Now the kids are a little older and we use the same system, except one child washes and two of the older kids dry and pack away dishes. Now we never have dishes just waiting to be packed away.


I had full intentions of having the dish drainer out until the dishes were dry and then putting it away under the sink. I have two problems:
1) The drainer won't fit under the sink
2) The drainer is always full, so why put it away.

I hate the way it looks. I wonder what my hubby would say if I changed to the towel method? The problem is if you leave dishes over night, doesn't the towel get a bit smelly???

We always use a towel and then just throw it in the wash after the dishes are put away. I also use kitchen towels instead of paper napkins or paper towels for most things. We wash clothes every day so this works out great for us.


Whoever suggested using the drainer to store pot lids: Thanks! I stopped using the drainer several years ago, so it sits under the sink. Lately my pot lids have been driving me crazy! But I haven't wanted to pay for anything to organize them. So now, I have a free solution!

I've read that the cleanest method for drying dishes is allowing them to airdry. So when I have a few to wash, we do either use the sink for non-delicate items and a towel for the more delicate. However, I hate clutter, so I'm often drying those dishes to get them put away.

I have a folding wooden dish drain and a daughter. :) My son (7) and I both wash, I rinse and put on dish drain, then daughter (9) dries and puts away. I have a couple nails right behind my sink that the dish drain hangs on when we're done. Easy to get out and put away.

Carla :)

and then God takes care of drying the dishes around here - even the ones in the dishwasher. He's not particularly fast, but He does always get it done! :)


My Grandma always did it this way, and now we do too. I wash the dishes, and put them on a cookie sheet with sides (sometimes people call it a jelly roll pan) then whichever child is helping with that meal's cleanup dries the dishes. When you are done it is a simple matter to dump out whatever water that has accumulated in the cookie sheet back into the sink and the cookie sheet goes back into the cupboard. No wet towels! I also have a dish drainer that sits on the counter, but it is full of my dairy milking equipment-pail, strainer and jars, those HAVE to air dry.~Tami

We have a cupboard that has drying racks inside and no bottom shelf, it's above the sink so all the water goes in the sink. I really like it because we live in a tiny apartment and don't have much counterspace :-)


No dishwasher here and very little counter space. I didn't want a drainer taking up the small space we have. I have to completely agree with you.

I also use a towel.. have done so for years. I dry the towel out on a rack in my laundry room and use several times before washing it. I can't stand that moldy, slimy dish drainer. I hand wash several things.. plastics, pans and colanders. The rest goes in the dishwasher.

I've used a towel on the counter for several years. It elimiates that messy puddle, I hang the towel up to dry and use a new towel every couple of days. We have iron in our water so the drainer always ended up yucky and stained. This is great motivation for me to get those dishes put away!

I use a towel as well. I don't like the dish drainer thingies and if I have dishes laying on a towel, I HAVE to dry them. I like my clean counters too much to leave everything sitting there too long.

Now if I could figure out some way to take care of my mail quicker... ;)

We have a small dishwasher, so even with just two of us, it's full almost every day, so I run it almost every night before bed. I hand-wash what can't go in the dishwasher, like Mason jar lids and the blender, and they go in the drying rack that sits on a towel on the counter. In the morning I unload the dishwasher and put the dry dishes from the rack away. Then the kitchen is clean first thing.

I have a slide-out tray that I got at the Container Store in a cabinet under my counter. I have a low heat hair dryer that blows over the pots, plates and dishes to dry them.

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Warrensi's picture
Submitted by Warrensi on Tue, 2015-02-24 18:04

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