What Cannot be Used to Dry Utensils?

8 mins read
What cannot be used to dry utensils?
White paper towel on white background

What cannot be used to dry utensils? Of course not all materials can be used to dry your utensils, so what? Let us discover.

You cannot use a washboard table to dry utensils. Do not also use an unsterilized towel to dry the utensils. After drying your utensils, store them properly on a hygienic surface.

Speaking of the best way to dry utensils, you can air dry. You can do this by racking the utensils. The surfaces should not be flat so that water does not become stagnant in one spot, preventing the utensil from drying faster.

Why do you need to dry utensils?

Typical utensils spread bacteria and many consumers, including restaurants, are either unaware or ignorant about this. When you store wet utensils, you invite bacteria.

Holding wet utensils in your kitchen at home or place of business increases the chance of contamination. Bacteria prefer warm and moist environments to grow and spread, and this may be a perfect condition for them in your kitchen.

You need to know that there are bacteria everywhere. You can reduce the spread when you store your utensils only after drying them.

Bacteria will not find it comforting to multiply on dry utensils, even most food-borne infections related to wet utensils, and that contain enormous organisms are not accommodated.

Perhaps, any method can be reliable for drying your utensils, however, air-drying is the most recommended by experts, although not always the case.

Any hand-drying method is also a great way to dry your utensils but must be sterilized. Suppose you use a towel to sterilize your utensils, you want to ensure to keep a clean towel to avoid the risk of contaminating the utensils.

Should kitchen utensils be left to dry naturally?

In some cases, you want to leave your kitchen utensils to air-dry instead of using a towel or soft cloth. It is more advisable to air-dry since hand-drying may harbor all sorts of bacteria (if the cleaning material is contaminated).

Moreover, you may be tempted to wipe your hands with the cleaning material, dry the counter with it and then use them on the dishes.

When drying the utensils, you want to be careful not to store them wet to avoid bacteria contamination.

What can you use to dry utensils?

In this section, you will discover the drying solutions you can use for your utensil and some recommendations. Below are the things you can use to dry utensils:

  1. Air

As mentioned earlier, air drying may be the best drying solution. If you use a towel, and the utensil or towel is already contaminated, you will smear any bacteria or residue on the dish.

If you use a sanitizer, you may need to air-dry. Air-drying mostly prevents cross-contamination of clean utensils. However, drying utensils with air does not completely eliminate bacteria, only a significant amount.

Thus, air drying is only sanitary to an extent. The room air may not be sterile after all, so you may have microbes lurking around.

Nonetheless, drying with air is easier and more eco-friendly even though it takes longer. You do not require wet towels and extra laundry.

  1. Utensil dryer rack

A rack brings versatility through holding whatever items until they dry. You can buy any rack with S-hooks to quicken the drying speed.

Below is a drying rack you can buy for your kitchen:

SANNO Stainless Steel Cutlery Utensil Holder Silverware Organizer Rack with Hooks Removable Drying Rack

  • Compartments. This rack has 3 separate compartments. It has a stainless steel drying basket that holds small utensils, including forks, spoons, and knives. It also keeps your countertops clear, so no mess on the sink.
  • Quality. This rack uses high-grade stainless steel material, which is dishwasher-safe and rust-proof.
  • Hook design. The design of the hook is easily attachable to most wired dish drainers. It is built with an open design to enable a quicker water drain.
  1. Paper towel

A paper towel can be your go-to solution for drying the utensils, the risk of bacteria spread is greatly reduced when compared to textiles. Using a paper towel for drying all your utensils can also be expensive.

The big caveat is that when you use paper towels to dry your dishes, you may be practicing a wasteful habit, which is quite expensive. Nonetheless, paper-toweling gets rid of any residue and prevents water stains.

Buy the paper towel below to give your utensil essential polishes that keep them tip-top for decades:

Amazon Brand – Presto! Flex-a-Size Paper Towels

    • Absorbent. This paper towel is 75% more absorbent. Its flex size allows you to easily get rid of the mess.
  • Rolls. It comes with 12 large rolls of 158 2-ply sheets per roll.
  • Technology. You can restock the rolls using Alexa. Simply say, “Alexa, order Presto! paper towels” through your Alexa device.
  • Warranty. This paper towel promises the best toweling experience. Moreover, you can request a refund within a year if you are not satisfied with your purchase. Click here to see on Amazon
  1. Kitchen towels

Cleaning utensils with a towel will easily remove water spots, especially in a hard water environment. This puts away the mess faster than allowing it to air dry, there is also no rack clutter, which is typical in air drying.

Kitchen towels give the utensil less contamination exposure time to bacteria and airborne particulates.

From the viewpoint of sanitation, toweling needs to be sanitary to work best. Make sure to have a specialized towel that nobody handles. An infested towel contaminates the utensils with every wipe.

When you wash and set out to air dry the utensils, you can advisably wet down the towel and stick it in the cooker for about 10 seconds on high. When the towel cools down after a little while, use it to dry your utensils.

The heat from the cooker kills nasties gives your utensils the desired shine and reduces drying time.

Make sure to buy this towel for cleaning your utensils:

Amazon Basics 100% Cotton Kitchen Dish Cloth

This Amazon dishcloth gives your utensil the desired wipe, and offers the following:

    • Quality. It has 100% BCI (Better Cotton Initiative). This material is given a ringspun weave to enhance absorbency, strength, and durability.
  • In the pack. You have up to a 4-piece set, including 2 dish towels and 2 dishcloths for your kitchens, restaurants, and break rooms.
  • Washing. This towel is hand and machine washable, and dryable.
  • Certification. This towel is made in OEKO-TEX Standard 100 factory, this independent certification system ensures textiles’ high safety and environmental standards. Click here to see on Amazon
  1. Drying mat

That you just washed your utensils does not mean bacteria is not lurking around. But with an antibacterial dish drying mat, this problem of sticking bacteria is resolved.

Experts claim that some bacteria on your dish drying mat are harmless. However, it is not uncommon for more nefarious pathogens to lurk around.

Invest in the drying mat below to keep your utensils dry:

Envision Home 418101 Microfiber Dish Drying Mat

  • Absorbent. The Envision Home 418101 Microfiber Dish Drying Mat is unique for its abilities. It can absorb water 4 times its weight and radiate moisture from point of origin too, ensuring dry countertops.
  • Drying. This drying mat cushions delicate utensils, excellent for convenience, and gives optimal drying performance. It also holds water drips under your dish rack. You can also place utensils such as pans, pots, glassware, etc., directly on the Envision Home 418101.
  • Quality. Quite durable. It also keeps your counter from scuffs and scratches when you place smaller appliances like your blender and mixer.
  • Washing option. You can use machine wash in cold water with liquid detergent. Use tumble dry low. Click here to see on Amazon
  1. Dishwasher

Your dishwashers can dry some utensils. A typical dishwasher may use an electric coil that heats the air, a fan, and increased water temperature towards the end of the cycle to dry utensils.

Your dishwasher may leave the utensils wet due to improper loading. You do not want to place the wrong utensils or overload them with too many dirty utensils that reduce the airflow. Make sure to put suitable utensils as recommended by the product manufacturer.

Why do plastics not dry in dishwasher?

Plastics do not retain heat, so they tend not to dry when you put them in your dishwasher. This is unlike ceramic which gets dried because it retains heat.

Water on plastic does not easily evaporate. This is where the setting of a dishwasher’s heat comes into play.

How do you dry utensils after washing?

You can dry utensils after washing in a couple of ways. Below are the steps to dry utensils after washing:

Apply a drying method

After washing your utensil, you want to pick a suitable drying method. Note that your selected drying method depends on the texture of the utensil.

You can choose to air dry, towel dry, or even dry the utensil with your dishwasher.

Sterilize (optional)

Your next step is to sterilize the utensil. This may be optional but when you do not sterilize your utensil after washing, there is the tendency of bacteria and other contaminants lurking around.


Finally, store your utensil. Ensure to store them in a clean and dry place, not moist. Storing the utensils in a dirty area can contaminate your initial hard work.

Drying wooden utensils

After you wash any wooden utensil, you want to wipe it to dry quickly. You can then leave the wooden utensil out so thoroughly air dry.

Wooden utensils easily trap water droplets in gaps within the wood, which keeps it from drying completely. The water will accumulate over time, warp in the wood and cause it to crack.

You do not put your wooden utensils or even cutting boards in the dishwasher. Your dishwasher produces intense steam and extended hot water time that can cause the wood to crack.

Never sit a wooden utensil in water to soak for extended periods in water. You can pat the utensil with a dry cloth and allow it to air dry or leave it in a rack. You can rub a slice of lemon on it and let it air dry.

To protect your wooden utensil from cracking, you can occasionally apply mineral oil to it.

Drying plastic utensils

After washing your plastic utensil, perhaps, in the dishwasher, you can leave it for 30 minutes to air dry. When the utensil air dries, you can put them away.

A plastic utensil can take longer to dry because the droplets have a smaller surface area when compared to glassware and ceramic. You may wipe plastics with a paper towel to reduce the drying time.

Drying glass utensils

To dry glasses utensils, leave them for up to 30 minutes after washing. You can use a clean cloth to wipe or just turn them over to air dry. Note that air drying can take longer, and the accumulated water can attract bacteria.

Drying ceramic utensils

A slow and even drying is recommended when drying your ceramics. Ceramics require air to freely circulate around the object.

Ensure to cover the objects loosely using plastic to avoid quick drying. You can turn pots upside down for an even drying.

Drying stainless steel utensils

Dry your stainless steel utensil with a soft lint-free cloth after washing it. Do not allow your stainless steel to dry naturally, otherwise, the water and detergent will leave marks on and also attract bacteria.

The drying process of stainless steel begins immediately. It may take up to 1 hour or more for stainless steel to dry completely, depending on the size of the utensil and the drying method employed.

If you invest in good stainless steel, it can remain stainless even without wiping it immediately. But this is necessary to prolong the lifespan.

Exposure to water for a long time can cause rust on stainless steel, this happens when there is no more interaction between its alloying elements and the environment. 

Final thoughts on What cannot be used to dry utensils?

After washing and drying your utensils, ensure to store them in a clean and dry place. If you do not towel your utensils, they can take longer to dry, so you want to leave them on a utensil rack for water to drip faster.

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