Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wishing store-bought dish drainers were of better design

Yesterday I shelled out ten bucks for a new plastic drip tray [aka drain board] for my dish drainer. It is identical to the one I had to throw out because the feet of the rack dug holes into it.

The drip tray, you see, is built on numerous parallel slats. This is as fine as far as it goes, but if you put the rack in the center of the tray - where it looks like it belongs - the pointy little feet of the rack are smack dab between slats. Hence, unless you remember to keep the rack off-kilter when you're using it, the feet concentrate the weight of the dishes between the slats, and the plastic gives way, and you get wells, and the wells make themselves permanent. The wells collect water, so if you don't remember (or decide not to bother) to lift up the rack mid-drying and sop up the water, you get water deposits like mad in them. More to the point, when your dish rack is sitting in wells, it is sitting lower than it ought to, and thus any glasses you have on the outside prongs hit the tray, and so do the plates you have in the plate slots. This is not my idea of ideal air drying, thank you very much.

There is another problem with these rack and drip tray combos that are available around here. (It's a major brand, too. Go figure.) My drying rack has eight prongs on the outside, to put glasses over. Four are on the sink side, four on the side opposite that. If you put glasses on the sink side, you're OK, because the rim of each glass hangs out over the sink. If, however, you take a glass straight from rinsing and put it on the far side, the rim hangs over the counter instead of the drip tray. What is the point of a drip tray if not to catch drips, I ask you? So why in the world are they made too narrow to accommodate drips coming from glasses put on the prongs made for glasses?

As for the first problem, i.e., the pointy little feet digging wells between slats business, I have a theory that if I'm extremely careful to always move the tray to where the feet sit on top of a slat before I weigh the rack down with dishes, that I can make the tray last a lot longer. It looks funky, being off-kilter like that, but it's either that or having plates and glasses hitting the tray as time goes on. I also have a theory that furniture coasters placed under the feet might do the trick. Since I have a track record of forgetting to align the rack just so, I am seriously considering the furniture coaster route this time around. I really think that should work. I would, however, appreciate it if I weren't required to be ingenious to keep a product from going bad in short order.

As for the second problem, i.e., the design that puts drips on the counter, I've learned to put my glasses on the sink side first, and then move the mostly dry ones across if I have more glasses than will fit on the sink side. Again, though, why in the world should I have to be going to the extra work when simply making the drip trays big enough to accommodate dishes put on the rack would do the trick?

I am thinking of making my own drip tray, perhaps of painted wood? Something, at any rate, that is large enough, and also strong enough to not warp under ordinary use.

Have you had this problem? How did you solve it?

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