How to Dry Dishes Without a Dish Rack?

How to dry dishes without a dish rack

Last Updated on October 2, 2023

A dish rack takes up room on your counter or tabletop. And if you don’t have a free spot to put it, where are you going to put it? Also, lots of dish racks aren’t very stable, and the dishes can fall over when they get wet, causing them to take damage. And dish racks are just cumbersome if you’re living in a small apartment.

So what other options do you have? This article will go over all of the best ways to dry dishes without a dish rack. If your dishes are small enough that they don’t need to be stacked, then you can dry them without a dish rack!

Drying dishes without a dish rack is simple. Use damp hand towels for quick absorption or paper towels for catching drips. Alternatively, place dishes on newspapers, cloth towels, or use a dishwasher’s hot air. Innovative methods include using oven mitts, chopsticks, pot lids, or laundry racks.

Read on and find out which one is best for your situation!

How to Dry Dishes Without a Dish Rack: Ways to do it

You may want to dry your dishes to save time and money or because you don’t have a dish rack available. Luckily, there are many ways for you to dry your dishes when you do not have access to a dish rack. Here are some of the ways you can dry dishes without a dish rack:

Hand Towels

Hand towel

If your towels are already damp, they’re perfect for quickly absorbing excess water from your dishes. Check for puddles and rings left by wet dishes before you put them away.

Paper Towels

Grab some paper towels if you don’t have any damp towels on hand. You can use them to put under your dishes to catch any water that might be left behind. Just remember that they won’t absorb as much water as a towel will because of their size and composition.

Cloth or Another Towel

For this method, you’ll first need to remove your dishes from the water and gently shake them to get rid of excess water before placing them on a cloth or another dry towel. Afterward, simply roll up the dish towel to absorb the remaining moisture.


If you don’t have any dish towels or dish rags to dry your dishes with, then cut up some newspaper into small squares and use them instead. It’s just as effective at drying dishes without leaving tiny pieces of paper stuck to your cups or other dishes.


This one’s a little bit more time-consuming, but it works if you have access to a dishwasher. After you’ve finished washing your dishes and removing them from the water, simply put them in the dishwasher and turn it on for about half an hour. The hot air from within the dishwasher will dry any excess moisture that may be left on the dishes.

Dish Rack Drying Mat

This dish rack comes with a thin rubber mat that sits underneath the dish rack so water can drip onto it and flow right off to the sink below instead of landing on your countertop. These mats are thin enough for you to fit multiple underneath each other or to use one in front of your sink and drainboard.

An Oven Mitt

If your oven mitts are not in use or wet, this is a great way to dry dishes when you don’t have access to anything else.


Take a pair of chopsticks and place them under the lip of your plates so they are suspended above the counter. Ensure you have something underneath all your dishes to catch any water that drips down.

A Pot Lid

Place your dishes on top of a pot lid so the bottom of it is resting against the lip of the plate, and place another pot lid under all of your dishes to catch any water that drips down.

Laundry Drying Rack

A laundry drying rack’s adjustable arms can be adjusted to hold any sized dish and is also a great space saver.

If you want your dishes to fully dry before putting them away, place them on top of a cookie sheet or baking tray and leave them overnight. This will ensure that your dishes are dry when you go to put them away.


For this method, all you’ll need is a few hangers and some clothespins to quickly dry your dishes without using any towels or dish racks. The best part about it is that it will leave your countertop clear of clutter and in one piece!

Dish Rack Stand

Many different types of dish rack stands are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. There are dish drying rack stands that hold up to 12 dishes or plastic containers, allowing you to dry an assortment of items efficiently.

Dish Racks with Draining Boards

These types of dish racks come with a tray underneath the top shelf where excess water can drip through, making it easier for you to use your countertop without water dripping on it after you dry your dishes.

Countertop Dish Rack

Countertop dish racks are small in size and perfect for holding up to two plates and a glass or several bowls. These dish racks fit on top of your countertops so you can save space while drying your dishes simultaneously. They may be small in size, but they hold a lot of dishes and can easily fit in a cabinet when you’re not using them.

Free Standing Dish Racks

Free Standing dish racks are very similar to countertop dish racks because they both have the same basic shape and structure. The difference is that freestanding dish racks don’t attach to your countertop, and they’re taller than countertop dish racks, so you can fit more dishes on them.


If the thought of putting your dishes away wet makes you cringe, then hang all of them up outside to dry using a clothesline. Hang as many as you want outdoors and let the sun do its job. You can even use a clothespin to hold a dish towel or a dishcloth under the dish so it can absorb more moisture from your dishes as they dry outside.


Place an empty bowl under each dish as it hangs, so any excess water that drips over the side of the bowl can flow into it instead of onto your countertop or tabletop.


If you have a small space to work in your kitchen, consider using a squeegee. Run the squeegee underneath each dish when you take it off the line so any access water is removed before you place it in your cabinet or on top of your countertop.

Towel Rack

If you have no space for a countertop dish rack or stand to dry your dishes indoors, use a towel rack across your countertop or tabletop to hold any damp towels or dishcloths.


Hooks are large enough to dry a good number of dishes at once, so they’re perfect for smaller spaces. Hang them in an accessible area where you can easily take the dishes off the rack and place them in your cabinet or on top of your countertop.

Paper Towel Drying Rack

If you already have a paper towel rack, use it to dry your dishes! Just drape dish towels over each part of the paper towel stand so they can absorb excess moisture from your recently washed dishes.

Now that you know different ways of drying dishes without a dish rack, you no longer need to stress over your wet dishes! With these tips and tricks, you’ll have all the resources to keep things.


How Do I Dry My Dishes Outdoors?

If you want to dry your dishes outdoors, use a towel rack, a clothesline, or a clothespin with a dishcloth under it. You can also use an oven mitt or chopsticks to hold up each dish as it dries outside. If all else fails, place them on top of your countertop to dry.

How Do I Make a DIY Dish Rack?

If you don’t have much room for kitchen utensils in your home, you can use a towel rack across the countertop or tabletop instead of buying an actual dish rack. You can also use paper towel drying racks or hanging dish racks to keep your dishes off of your countertops or tabletop.

What Are Some of the Disadvantages of Using Paper Towels to Dry Dishes?

The main disadvantage of using paper towels to dry dishes is that you need a place where you can store them. If you don’t have extra space in your kitchen, then the best thing you can do is find an alternative, like a dish rack or oven mitts and chopsticks.

What Are the Problems With Drying Dishes Outside?

The main problem with drying dishes outside is that they might get stolen or blown away. Make sure to hang them somewhere where they can be seen from a window, so you don’t lose anything. If the sun isn’t out, consider using an oven mitt or chopsticks to hold up each dish as it dries.


If you can’t find a dish rack, try these DIY alternatives to drying your dishes without one. You’ll be surprised at how easy and cost-effective it is to use some of the household items that you probably already have! Whether it’s an oven mitt or chopsticks, there are plenty of options for those who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

If all else fails, hang up as many plates outside as possible on racks with clothespins holding them in place. Let the sun do its job while you work inside cooking dinner (or making coffee).

These tips should get you started on your journey toward mastering this task. Make sure to share this article with any friends or family who is having trouble finding the right dish rack for their home.

How to Dry Dishes Without a Dish Rack?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top