In-Sink Dish Drainer

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2012 • all rights reserved

If you have a double sink, you can easily make one side into a dish drainer -- great if you're doing dishes underway (or in a rolly anchorage) as dishes are contained and can't fall to the floor!

Another idea for a great dish drainer!  If you have a double sink, you can make one side into your “dish drainer” quite simply!

This comes from Diane Emigh, aboard Harmony, a Tayana 42 now cruising Pacific Mexico (see their blog).

Here’s Diane’s description:

On Harmony we have double stainless steel galley sinks and very little counter space. I found a very inexpensive rectangular stainless steel cake rack on Amazon that fits perfectly in my second sink. I put silicon pads (small globs of silicone — see photo below) on the rack feet so my sink wouldn’t be marred.

I now use the second sink with the cake rack in the sink bottom as my dish draining/drying location. Water from the newly washed dishes drains through the rack right down the sink drain. My sink holds a LOT of washed dishes and I don’t need to use valuable counter top real estate. The rack remains in the second sink all the time even when clean dishes have been put away and has worked perfectly.

Diane also put a stainless silverware holder in the sink.

Diane gave this link (Amazon) for the rack she used, but it looks like the design may have changed since she bought it as it’s no longer stainless.  In her photo at right, you can see where she just gobbed some silicone sealant around the feet as protectors.

Be sure to measure your sink carefully before buying — and if you can’t find the right size at a store near you, try:

I really like this idea — virtually all “in-sink dish drainers” come up the side of the sink, taking up valuable room.  With Diane’s idea, you have the full size of the sink, with just a little space under the dishes for water to drain.  And if you do dishes underway, nothing will fall!

For her silverware, Diane found a stainless cutlery drainer with suction cups on the back.  Depending on your sink configuration, there are many similar designs.  The suction cups do help to keep the drainer where you want it (and to avoid scratches on your sink), but don’t expect them to hold the weight of the silverware — the container needs to hook over the edge of the sink or the center divider.

If you don’t have a double sink or can’t make this work, check out another great idea for a dish drainer that takes up almost no space!

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  1. Nita Knighton on Facebook says:

    any ideas to make life easier with just one sink?

  2. With a single sink, the best drainer I know of is just a piece of chamois laid on the counter — and for other dish washing tips, see

  3. Nita Knighton on Facebook says:

    my concern was washing and rinsing in the same sink. . what a task that is

  4. Don’t fill the sink with water — just put a little water and soap in a cup or bowl (or a dirty pan sitting on the counter or stove), dunk your sponge in the water, wash the item, then rinse it.

  5. Nita — I’m posting a photo with how I do it in a single sink:

    Washing dishes in single sink

  6. I’m still reading the articles, but when you mentioned how little counter space you have, it reminded me of a trick I learned when I lived in an RV trailer — very much like living aboard.

    Its very easy to make a cover to fit over your sink to convert it to counterspace when not in use. A simple fingerhole makes it easy to pick up. At home, I found a plastic cutting board that fits neatly across the sink as well.

    Thanks for all the great tips, and happy sailing!

  7. Great idea. We are using the rack of this RV dish drainer in the second sink. But when we have guests over we have more dishes than it will hold and use a dish towel to put them on. I’ll be looking for a chamois too.

  8. Sara Cooney on Facebook says:

    Great idea Diane! Keeps those glasses from flying across the cabin injuring the skipper too.

  9. How do you stack your plates without any slots?

  10. This one works great and fits perfectly in our sink:

    I love finding RV items that work. Much cheaper than marine store prices!

  11. i do the same, but with a plastic sink collander from the dollar store. fits in perfectly, and i chuck my silverware right in there too.

  12. Good idea but I’ve been using my second sink as a drainer for years without anything…you just have to make sure that plates/bowls etc cannot make a seal on the base so I just put a large plastic spoon or similar in there first. That allows air to circulate and everything dries nicely. I like your idea and will look out for a suitably fitting rack but for those that can’t find one yet the above works fine as well 🙂

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