Why didn’t I think of that??
That was my first reaction to seeing my friend Jan’s dish drainer (Jan writes CommuterCruiser.com, filled with tips for part-time cruisers). I had never came up with a good dish drainer on Que Tal. I’d known Jan had lots of good ideas when we began writing The Boat Galley Cookbook together, but this was something we’d never discussed.
The first dish drainer I had on Que Tal had was left by the previous owner. It was one of those neat looking folding ones — sure, it didn’t take much space to store it, but it also didn’t have room for many dishes. Even with just two of of aboard, there wasn’t room for our dinner dishes. It was also horrible to try to keep clean, with all sorts of nooks and crannies. Apparently, it’s no longer sold . . . why am I not surprised?
Then I got a larger folding one, made of wood similar to the one in the picture. That held a reasonable number of dishes, but in just a few months in the tropical heat it was turning black with “gunk” growing in the wood. I do NOT recommend it.
So I finally resorted to a traditional Rubbermaid rack and drain mat, and just left them on the counter since they wouldn’t fit in the small cabinet under the sink. Not very pretty, but it worked.
When Dave and I recently spent some time cruising aboard Winterlude, with our friends David and Jan Irons, I saw Jan’s solution. It was perfect!
Jan uses a chamois cloth just laid on the counter. A real, leather chamois — not a microfiber “synthetic chamois” or the “dish drying mats” you find in the housewares section.
A real leather chamois absorbs 7 times in water and can be wrung out after using and then hung up. When it’s dry, you can put it almost anywhere — it’s not very big. To clean a chamois, throw it in the laundry (but don’t put it in a dryer or use fabric softener on it). It will last almost forever and it’s cheaper than a lot of “real” dish drainers and pads.
You can find a chamois in a number of different sizes, depending on how big your counter is where you want to use it. It cuts easily if you want a non-standard size.
You can find a real chamois at almost any auto parts store, or in the automotive departments at Wal-mart, Target and the like. You can also order one from Amazon (if you’re getting another inexpensive item at Amazon, it can bring you up to the $25 minimum for free shipping). Here are a few popular sizes at good prices from Amazon:
Now, if I can just get Jan’s other dish washing idea to work as well: notwithstanding the photo above, her husband David usually does the dishes!