How to clean a dish drainer in a wall-mounted, kitchen cabinet

by Mark Bennett

April 17, 2024

How to clean a dish drainer

Whether you have a dishwasher or not, there is always some plate, pot or glass that we have to wash in the sink, and then put in the dish drainer/rack to dry. And, over time, the drip tray of the dish rack gets dirty. With wall-mounted dish racks, it can be difficult to see what state the drip tray is in and it needs to be inspected periodically ...And, when it's dirty, how can the dish rack and its drip tray be cleaned?

Cleaning the dish rack

A stainless steel dish rack mounted in a wall cabinet


Usually, dish racks mounted inside cabinets above the sink are fixed in place and are made of metal (stainless steel). They rarely have any parts that can be disassembled, which means cleaning is a little more challenging. However, as steel is more robust, there is not much chance of damaging the rack when you clean it.

If there are parts that you can dismantle without too much hassle, it is best to do so when doing a thorough cleaning. For these parts (like the drip tray), you can soak them in a solution of warm water with a few drops of dishwashing detergent and half a glass of white vinegar for about 20 minutes.

Whilst soaking the grime and limescale deposits will soften and then, you can scrub all the grime away with toothbrush and finish by polishing with a soft cloth. Once all the components are dry, you can reassemble the dish rack.


A DIY spray to clean the dish rack

An enamel-coated metal dish rack in a wall unit

Jarno Elonen/Wikimedia Commons

The immovable parts of the dish rack require a little more patience when cleaning. First of all, make sure that there are no objects underneath the rack that could get dirty by drips as you clean. Wait until after you have finished to clean the sink - you don't want to have to do this job twice!

Some older or vintage dish racks are often composed of enamelled metal, and it's best to be careful here so as not to ruin the finish. To this end, avoid using aggressive products such as bleach or undiluted vinegar.

For a mild, DIY detergent, fill a bottle to the 3/4 mark with water and the remaining 1/4 with white vinegar. Then, add just two or three drops of liquid dishwashing soap. Your DIY detergent is now ready and can be used on the dish rack. For ease of use, it's often more convenient to spray the detergent on a soft cloth and rub the various parts of the rack with this. However, for hard-to-reach spots, spray a small amount of detergent directly on the spot and use an old toothbrush to clean the dirt away.

Rinse off using a clean, damp cloth. Follow up by removing any water/moisture residue with a soft, dry cloth (to prevent limescale stains forming).

It takes a little elbow grease, but this type of cleaning is crucial to maintain proper hygiene standards in the kitchen!