In a recent article, I stated how much I like microfiber cleaning towels. I also a microfiber mat for drying dishes. Sure, it’s great to have. But is it really better than a dish rack, like many people are claiming?
A microfiber dish drying mat or even a microfiber cloth will absorb moisture very well. But unless you plan to use them to actually dry your dishes, it is not moisture absorption you’re looking for. The idea of draining clean dishes is to allow the water to drain off them and for them to air dry. A microfiber dish mat does not assist in this. In fact, it hinders it in some cases.
There is only one reason to say that a microfiber mat is better than a dish rack. It takes up a whole lot less space. You can store it in a drawer and take it out when you need it. But unlike your dish rack, you’ll have to put it in the washing machine quite often.
Washing the mat is not the main problem, though. The main problem is that it doesn’t allow dishes and utensils to drain. Let’s say you just washed a big pile of forks, spoons, and knives. Unless you can lay them all out neat and tidy on your mat, they’re going to end up in a big pile. They will take much longer to dry than if you placed them into the draining cups of a dishrack.
And, when you place a wet glass or cup on a microfiber mat, the moisture inside becomes trapped! It can sit there for hours, if not days, without drying inside. The moisture will just continue to cling to the inside of the glass or ceramic mug. In order to assist draining an drying, you have to place something under the edge of the glass, say a knife or fork.
If you try to dry a whole load of dishes on a microfiber mat, you will quickly find that it is in no way better than a dish rack. In fact, a microfiber mat is, at best, in addition to a dish rack for when you have more dishes than can fit into your rack.
So, why do people say this? Because they are trendy people say all sorts of dumb things in order to justify liking something. You can like a microfiber dish mat without thinking it will replace a dish rack altogether. The biggest complaint about dish racks is that they take up too much room. Today, however, there are many space-saving choices including a rack which can be placed over the sink and then be folded up for storage. If you have a double sink, this may work for you and it can also be used to drain vegetables. For example, check out the Surpahs Over the Sink Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack.
Regular dish racks, as mentioned, have come a long way, although you can still get the simple old-fashioned variety for 10 to 20 bucks, modern racks have more convenient and useful features. For example, the SimpleHuman Kitchen Steel Frame Dish Rack has a unique integrated drip tray with a swivel spout for drainage. The tray itself is treated with a hydrophilic coating which cause water to spread, thus preventing the residue buildup which occurs on plastic drip trays. There are hooks for draining glasses, a wine glass rack, and plenty of space for utensils, and of course, slots for your plates. A microfiber mat is just a mat.
Silicone Dish-Drying Mats
If you absolutely do not have room for a dish rack or you just really like the advantages of a mat, a much better choice than a microfiber mat is a silicone mat. This type of mat can still be rolled up and stored in a drawer but is ribbed so that dishes can drain and aerate. This way, even a glass turned upside down will be able to dry out on the inside. The OXO Good Grips Silicone Drying Mat is a popular choice and although I have no personal experience with it, I have always found OXO Good Grips products to be high quality.
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