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Keep kitchenware clean, dry, and organized with these top-rated dish drying mats, including our overall favorite: the S&T INC. Dish Drying Mat.
Whether or not you have the convenience of a dishwasher, dish drying mats are a must for every kitchen. Maybe you have a sink full of dirty dishes to work through, or perhaps there are pieces that require hand-washing, like wine glasses or a nonstick pan — either way, you’re going to need a clean, absorbent surface to let those items dry.
As simple as a dish drying mat may seem, there are various options, including ones of different materials, styles, and sizes. After in-depth market research, we determined the best dish drying mats for every kitchen and budget. Below, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each of our favorite picks, starting with the S&T INC. Dish Drying Mat.
S&T INC. Absorbent Reversible Microfiber Dish Drying Mat
Pros: This cushioned dish drying mat is durable, extra absorbent, and comes in different patterns.
Cons: The mat itself can take a while to dry between uses.
This dish drying mat checks all the boxes for one that functions well and looks good in the process. The mat is made from microfiber designed to absorb four times its weight in water and has an inner foam core, so you get the cushion you need to protect your kitchenware as well as your countertop. The mat’s construction is so durable that you can throw it in the washing machine and dryer, and it still looks as good as new. You may find that if you’re washing lots of dishes, the mat might take some time to dry before it’s ready for another round, but again, there’s always the option to tumble dry it if you need to speed things up.
Aesthetics-wise, there’s no need to settle for a color you don’t love. This one comes in a whopping 31 different options, from solid colors like a neutral gray to patterns like bright yellow lemon slices. Since the mat is reversible, you can display the pattern one day and flip it to the side with the solid color the next.
Price at time of publish: $11
Material: Microfiber with inner foam core
Dimensions: 16 x 18 inches
Care: Machine washable
Norpro 18 by 16-Inch Microfiber Dish Drying Mat
Pros: Absorbent and affordable, this dish drying mat offers good quality at a low price.
Cons: It doesn’t have the most exciting color options.
If you’re looking for something inexpensive that will still get the job done right, we recommend this dish drying mat. Even with an under-$10 price tag, the mat features absorbent microfiber surrounding a thin layer of foam, so you can count on it to effectively soak up residual water. Not only does it make drying your dishes a simple process, but it’s also easy to clean itself since it’s machine washable.
If you have a colorful kitchen and want your dish drying mat to match that vibe, this probably isn’t the one for you since it just comes in neutral shades. But if the minimalist style is your thing, it will blend right in.
Price at time of publish: $9
Dimensions: 16 x 18 inches
Care: Machine washable
Dorai Home Dish Pad
Pros: Modern and versatile, this unique-looking dish pad dries almost instantly and prevents mildew.
Cons: You’ll have to put in a little bit of work to remove any stains.
This product flips the idea of what a dish mat looks like on its head. It’s made of recycled paper, silicone webbing, and diatomaceous earth, which according to the site, is a naturally occurring mineral made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. This unique material dries quickly and prevents bacteria from growing, meaning it doesn’t remain damp or develop an unpleasant “wet” smell.
Even though the dish pad is on the larger side and made with more solid materials, you can still store it easily thanks to the foldable tri-panel design. Looking at the price, you may wonder if it’s really worth it, but keep in mind that you can dry your produce on the dish pad too, giving it even more value. One thing to prepare yourself for though is that if stains appear, you’ll either have to do some sanding or use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to get them out.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Diatomaceous earth, recycled paper, and silicone
Dimensions: 15.21 x 19.91 inches
Care: Dishwasher-safe silicone cover
Oxo Good Grips Large Silicone Drying Mat
Pros: It prevents slippage, raises and aerates the dishes during drying, and can double as a trivet.
Cons: The drying mat is more utilitarian than other options.
Constructed of durable silicone, this dish drying mat comes with lots of advantages. First, it’s non-slip, so you don’t have to worry about fragile wine glasses tipping over and creating an even bigger mess. In addition, it’s heat-resistant, so you can use it as a trivet to place hot dishes on. When you’re done using the mat, it’s flexible enough to roll up for fuss-free storage.
The design isn’t so eye-catching, but it’s functional: You’ll notice that the mat’s surface has a ribbed construction, elevating your dishes from where the water drains. For quick cleaning, you can throw it in the dishwasher — easy as that.
Price at time of publish: $17
Dimensions: 6.5 x 13.2 inches
Five Two Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack
Pros: Ideal for small spaces, this rack rolls over the sink for easy drainage and folds back up for simple storage.
Cons: If you want one that can absorb water, this isn't the mat for you.
Are you working with minimal counter space? Look no further than this dish drying mat that sits on top of your sink instead. It features silicone-coated stainless steel slots that you can place items on and in between, supporting up to 50 pounds. There’s also a convenient utensil caddy with draining holes where you can dry flatware.
In addition to its primary purpose, this clever mat works as a trivet for hot cookware (heat-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit), a produce-drying mat, and a cooling rack for baked goods. To clean it, simply place it in the dishwasher, and for easy storage, remove the caddy and roll it up in your drawer.
Price at time of publish: $45
Material: Silicone and stainless steel
Dimensions: 20.5 x 12.25 inches
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Umbra Udry Rack and Microfiber Dish Drying Mat
Best Drying Rack/Mat Combo
Pros: You have lots of drying options with this product’s all-in-one mat, dish rack, utensil caddy, and stemware holder, and it folds up neatly for storage.
Cons: The design isn’t compatible with every kind of dish and piece of cookware.
Featuring a dish drying mat and rack, this option offers the best of both worlds yet doesn’t take up more counter space. You can place bigger items like pots on the absorbent, microfiber mat while lining up your plates in the rack, plus there’s even a designated caddy for utensils with a holder in the back for stemware. That being said, drying bigger items like large skillets and heavy, thick plates can be tricky given the allotted space on the mat side and the narrow rack slots.
The product’s design allows you to detach its vertical parts, fold the mat in half, and secure it all together with the elastic strap. Another design plus is that it comes in six different colors, ranging from a creamy linen color to a bright red. With each, the rack color matches the mat for a cohesive look.
Price at time of publish: $22
Material: Plastic and microfiber
Dimensions: 18 x 24 x 10.75 inches
Care: Machine washable mat and dishwasher-safe rack
The S&T INC. Dish Drying Mat is our top pick because it absorbs well, is convenient to use and clean, and comes in many attractive designs. If you prefer silicone, we like the OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Drying Mat for how well it separates the dishes from the drippage and its extra trivet function.
Factors to Consider
Dish drying mats are most commonly made from either microfiber or silicone. Microfiber drying mats work by absorbing the water, while silicone drying mats work by elevating the dishes from the water residue. Some prefer microfiber because they provide a protective cushion (not just for your dishes but also your countertop) and can be cleaned in the washing machine. Others like silicone because there’s less concern with bacteria growth and unpleasant odors. You can also find dish drying mats made with diatomaceous earth, like the Dorai Home Dish Pad, which helps evaporate moisture and prevent bacteria growth.
A well-sized dish drying mat strikes the balance between fitting enough dishes without taking up a ton of space. We think the sweet spot is around 16 inches by 18 inches, but you may look for a bigger option if you’re cooking for a big family or a smaller size, depending on your counter space.
If you plan on leaving the drying mat on your countertop, you’ll want it to look good or at least match the rest of your kitchen. You can find dish drying mats in various colors and patterns, from neutral shades for minimalist-style homes to vibrant prints for retro-inspired spaces. Aside from color preferences, you should take note of any other design additions that help with function. For example, a loop for hang-drying; the capacity to fold, roll, or break it down for storage; certain ridges or slopes that separate or drain water; and extra components, like an attached rack, could all be pluses depending on your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a drying mat better than a dish rack?
<p>There’s no clear answer here: It really depends on what you want to use the product for. If you’re mostly hand-washing large items like pots and pans, then a drying mat, which lays flat and has lots of open room, is most likely your best option. However, if you’re cleaning more plates and utensils, you may find the organization of a dish rack easier to use. </p><p><br/>Another factor to consider is that unless it’s one that’s built to fold down in some way, a dish rack will likely require more storage space than a drying mat, which can usually be folded or rolled up.</p>
Are dish drying mats sanitary?
<p>Whether or not your dish drying mat is sanitary is determined by how well you take care of it. Think about it like this: Even though you’re using a towel when you’re freshly cleaned out of the shower, it still needs to be washed eventually. So, even though you’re putting clean dishes on a drying mat, there’s still water there that can develop into mold or mildew unless you’re cleaning the mat regularly and thoroughly drying it afterward.</p><p><br/>For a general rule of thumb, let your mat dry completely between uses (and definitely before storing away somewhere), and clean it at least once a week.</p>
How do you wash your dish drying mat?
<p>Dish drying mats can be washed in different ways, depending on their material. If it’s made from microfiber, you can most likely throw it in the washing machine and the dryer for easy cleaning. For silicone mats, they may be dishwasher-safe, or you can just handwash them with a sponge and soap. However, it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing your specific dish drying mat.</p>
Cindy Brzostowski is a freelance writer and avid home cook who has previous experience in cookbook publishing. Her writing has been featured in Allrecipes, Blue Apron, The Kitchn, and EatingWell among other publications. For this article, she used her own expertise and market research to determine the best dish drying mats on the market.