I Owe My Clutter-Free Countertop to This Steel Frame Dish Rack
Added bonus: A built-in wineglass holder.
Published Feb 3, 2023 1:00 AM
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Hand-washing dishes has long been a laborious yet comforting chore for me. Manual cleaning gives me peace of mind, and since I don’t cook often, scrubbing isn’t typically a heavy lift. But the dish rack I’ve been working with for the past several months makes the process anything but smooth. It’s a too-small, all-plastic number that can’t keep up with my lenient organization tactics and routinely disappears beneath piles of container lids, a corkscrew, a pot, and other miscellanies that quickly turn into an eyesore.
As if magically summoned by my desperately messy countertop, the chance to test the Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack arrived, and I jumped right on it. At first glance, it seemed up to the task: I wanted a temporary yet neat holding spot for dishes that would address dripping water without the help of a dish mat. (Those tend to move around, plus it’s something else I have to be concerned with washing.) Initially, I worried that it might buckle under the weight of my extra-large wineglasses, colossal collection of flatware, and cookware set I’ve started to use regularly, but after two weeks in the cleaning rotation, it’s pretty clear that the Simplehuman delivers on its promises.
Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack
The Modern Design
At a member-exclusive $110 (sign-up is free), the Simplehuman dish rack shouldn’t be a flimsy, replace-it-every-year buy. And it isn’t, thanks to the smart design, stainless steel construction, and subtle yet thoughtful details. From the color options of silver, white, and matte black and standard or compact sizing, I chose to try a matte black in standard; it blends in with my appliances, and I knew I’d put the wineglass holder that comes with the larger size to good use. Inside the rack is a stainless steel drain attached to a hydrophilic plastic tray that causes water to spread instead of pooling in one spot, which enables quick evaporation and drainage. Beneath it all is a detachable, washable, 360-degree swivel spout that allows water to drain into the sink regardless of which direction it faces.
Slatted flatware cubbies, anti-slip rubber feet, four silicone-capped plate holders, and the steel wire frame combine to make dish washing a far dryer, less stressful experience that ends up in puddles of water and haphazardly arranged plates and cookware. Additionally, it meets Simplehuman’s standard of streamlining home products (trash cans, soap pumps, sensor mirrors) and comes with a five-year warranty that covers repairs or replacements on a case-by-case basis, which makes the price all the more palatable.
Unboxing and assembly took all of 15 minutes; a small cardboard box held the dish rack and a basic assembly diagram, and the wineglass holder came plastic wrapped. After I attached the glass holder to the rack’s sink-facing side, nestled the steel frame inside, hung the flatware cubby, and slid the dishpan into place, it was ready for use.
The Drying and Draining
Instead of testing Simplehuman’s claims of quick water evaporation with freshly washed dinnerware, I took the full-throttle approach: I poured a cup of water over the tray and waited for the hydrophilic coating to do its thing. The excess water drained quickly, and to my surprise, the remaining moisture dried up in a couple of minutes. When water pooled beneath the wineglass holder (it sits approximately 1 inch above the counter), the spout, which hovers 3 inches above the counter, quickly routed it into the sink. When there was minimal water after filling up the wineglass holder tray, I was able to quickly unhook it to wipe away moisture while cleaning or dump it in the sink. So far, the rack surface has remained free of water spots, proof that its anti-residue coating is hard at work.
The Generous Size and Capacity
Compared to Food52’s over-the-sink drying dish rack, Simplehuman’s 19.5-by-13-inch frame is considerably larger. Unless you want to store it beneath the sink when it’s empty, there’s no “disappearing option,” and unlike a built-in drainage rack, it takes up considerable counter space in my tiny kitchen. At the same time, it easily surpasses my cheap-y version when it comes to sufficient (and neat) storage, which sometimes becomes necessary for items that don’t fit my slender drawers or feel too out of reach in high-up cabinets.
The wineglass holder was particularly of interest. Here’s why: I once broke an entire set of glasses, one by one, in a single week (don’t ask). So naturally, I wanted to test the stability of that holder first. I hung a pair of my largest glasses and eventually added a couple more, and I found them to be incredibly sturdy. They didn’t bump up against one another, move, or cause the rack to tilt even when it wasn’t full.
The flatware cubby easily supports two or more sets, and I slid glasses and mugs of all sizes on and off the side holders without them making contact with one another, regardless of size. The silicone plate holders were great at separating dishes; I didn’t worry about them leaning or getting chipped or scratched from clanging together. Overall, it effortlessly held several large plates, a handful of flatware, and a total of eight glasses at the same time.
The Final Word
The Simplehuman Steel Frame Dish Rack’s functional and clean design was a win for me. While it’s a bit sizable for my space, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the wineglass holder for the compact version. Overall, the rack makes my kitchen look more sophisticated and feel more orderly (even when it’s actually not). After its first two weeks on the job, it’s still in pristine condition, but the capacity of the frame and anti-residue coating are things I’ll keep a close eye on in the coming months.