• Dishwashers are generally self-cleaning devices, but to ensure that they continue to get your dishes sparkling clean they could use some attention every few months. A brief check is all it takes to prevent rust from forming on the dish racks and staining your dishes.

    Dish Rack Maintenance

    Every three months or so, remove the dish racks from your dishwasher and perform a visual inspection, looking for flaws in the rubber coating. Any holes or tears should be repaired immediately using a rubber or vinyl compound, which are available at most hardware stores. Some manufacturers also sell these compounds as repair kits. The compound is brushed on or applied with a cotton swab to the dry, damaged area. Let the compound dry completely before adding a second coat. Two coats on any flaw should be sufficient to protect your dish rack from rust. It is also advisable to inspect the filter (if you have one) in your dishwasher for wear and replace it if necessary. Refer to the manufacturer's manual for details on whether or not your machine has a filter that you can access.

    Preventing the Spread of Rust

    If you find a flaw in the protective covering too late, you may find a spot of rust is already forming on your dish rack. To prevent the rust from spreading, remove the spot as best you can with a fine exfoliant like sandpaper or emery cloth, or use an acid cleaner such as oxalic acid mixed with water. If using an acid cleaner to remove rust, read the manufacturer's instructions carefully on use and safety. After removing the rust, brush on a liquid or gel rust-neutralizing agent. Refer to the instructions on safe use and proper ventilation. Once the rust is neutralized it will be safe to paint over it using the rubber compound. Use two coats over the neutralized area, letting the first coat dry completely before applying the second. This will prevent your dish rack from rusting and ensure that you can save the trouble and expense of replacing it.


    Acme How-to: Cleaning and Repairing Rust Stains

    Garden Web: Tips for Cleaning Rust from Dish Racks

    H2ouse: Dishwasher Maintenance

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