How to Remove Buildup from a Dish Drainer

The white residue that builds up in a dish rack is limescale, which is caused by hard water. The longer hard water is allowed to build up on a surface, the more difficult it will be to remove. Follow the steps below to remove the deposits.

Removing the Buildup

You Will Need:

  • Paper towels
  • White vinegar
  • A scrub brush
  • An old toothbrush

Steps to Remove the Buildup:

  1. If the deposits are thick, soak a paper towel with white vinegar and press it onto the deposits. Let it soak for about an hour.
  2. Pour white vinegar onto the areas that have mineral deposits and scrub the areas with a scrub brush. Continue adding more vinegar while scrubbing as needed.
  3. If the limescale is between the slats of the rack, sanitize an old toothbrush, then use it to scrub the slats.

Additional Tips and Advice

Rubbing the mineral deposits with a lemon slice can also help to remove them.

Rinsing the dish rack with soapy water each night before you start cleaning the dishes will prevent the buildup from hard water.

Wipe the dish rack dry after cleaning it to minimize buildup.

if the limescale covers the dish rack like a grey film and is not easily removed, that means the soft surfaces of the rack that protect the dishes are likely starting to deteriorate and it would be best to purchase a new rack.

If you decide it’s time to throw away your dish drainer, consider using it as a storage container to hold pan lids instead.


  1. The Cleaning Bible by Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie
  2. Handy Household Hints from Heloise
  3. The Miracle of Lemons by Dr. Penny Stanway
  4. The Cleaning Encyclopedia by Don Aslett
  5. Help! from Heloise by Heloise

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