When we renovated the Laboratory, moving and installing our 25-year-old kitchen cabinets for the 3rd time, we had to also install new countertops. We choose original white colored Corian from Home Depot (the prettiest and cheapest) and treated ourselves to something we’ve always wanted: built-in dish drainer gooves that would wick water from just-washed dishes into the sink.  We want minimal and good looking when it comes to draining dishes AND silverware. Our minor obsession takes the form of NOT wanting to look at the big stainless steel dish drying rigs that are around these days.

First, we bought the lowest profile dish drainer we could fine, and ditched the tray underneath that make it look bulky. YAY. That made for nice neat lines. Then we fashioned our own silverware drainer out of an old Arabia-ware crock to replace the usual steel caddy

Sinnae Choi
Sinnae Choi

We cut out the bottom of a plastic bottle exactly the diameter of the Arabia crock;  then we broke drain holes in it (rather crudely, but no matter if it worked and nobody was going to see it.).

Sinnae Choi
Sinnae Choi

We inserted it into the bottom of the crock so that it would elevate clean silverware out of the water that drained off them…

Sinnae Choi
Sinnae Choi

Et voila:

Sinnae Choi
Sinnae Choi

Yikes: our favorite spoons need cleaning…Time to use our baking soda, salt and tin foil technique

As for the dish rack, we weren’t able to find the exact one we bought years ago. Here are some similar ones:

This American Standard rack comes in large and small sizes. The plate holder section can be reversed to fit inside a small sink.


This one by Polder would work in a small space OR you could place two side-by-side without on an already grooved counter (without the stainles trays), without the boxy utensil holder.


If beauty is in the details…for us, these are details that make washing dishes a little more pleasing.

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11 replies on “DIY Silverware Drainer + Dish Drainer Hack

  1. Wow, as usual! I despise those clunky systems and so have done this as well, minus the lovely Corian. I found an identical compact drainer to the Polder at Monoprix here in rural France for 10€ (with a plastic silverware caddy and tray, not steel.Those I re-purposed for pantry storage.) I dry glasses in the notch for the caddy, with my own vintage 1950’s japanese tray underneath instead. I burned holes with a hot awl into that plastic bottle bottom so it wouldn’t break, and stuck it into a cylindrical stone holder I found for the cutlery. Works great, looks great, all for 10€! (I’m improvising after a rushed transat move on the cheap.

  2. I too have somewhat of an obsession on this subject and am particularly finicky
    about materials used in my tiny rustic camp. I had an old stainless steel dish rack that was quite handsome, but it was missing the cutlery drainer (which was plastic and therefore not much missed at that.) To the amusement of certain friends, I used mariners twine to crochet a substitute holder for the silverware. It works fine and the open air design allows for fast drying. I liked your crockery jar approach but wonder about
    the practicality: water will drain away from the silverware but will collect in the bottom of the jar and will have to be poured out every use, which means taking out the plastic insert every time, wiping out the bottom of the crock to prevent grunge, and replacing the insert. I’m keeping my crocheted holder which allows gravity and fresh air to do their thing without additional effort on my part.
    Love your great blog!

  3. Hi, I love hearing of your rig. Actually no water ever sits in the crock jar. It just evaporates. I have never found any mildew or funky stuff, other than traces of dried water.

  4. “I burned holes with a hot awl into the plastic bottom…”. GREAT!

  5. I too was searching for the low-profile drainer identical to the one you have here pictured at the top, Sally, because i had the very one (and loved its near invisiblity), but the (plastic) ouside was quite beat up. I found it at a wonderful brick and mortar here in the city, but you can also get it online from them: http://www.gracioushome.com/dish-drainer–tray-and-caddy-01077645.html

  6. That’s exactly the one I bought years ago and use now, without the plastic tray and silveware holder. THANK YOU. I’m going to insert the link in the post. It’s the MOST low profile one I’ve found.

  7. Yay! So glad I could help. It’s the best that I’ve found too, but unfortunately I have our renter’s formica on the countertop, so can’t jettison the plastic drainer part….

  8. I never even considered until necessity forced it a few years ago that I could just do without a dish drainer totally. Now when we do dishes, we either dry them with a dish towel and put them away immediately, or lay a dish towel on the counter and place the dishes onto it to dry. When they’re dry, we just hang the towel back on a hook, and the counter is free to use. It’s so simple and nice. I don’t think I’d ever go back to a drainer!

  9. With almost no counter space in my NYC kitchen, I repurposed the cabinet over my sink (took out the bottom) and installed cabinet dish drainers

  10. Wow. What a compelling idea. Would love to see a photo. (The url you included is not complete…) Thanks!

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