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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dish draining closet

This is such a simple, yet useful idea that I had to share it. The Finnish invention combines a dish drainer and a cupboard. Picture your typical cupboard located above the kitchen sink. Instead of the shelves having bottom boards, they have wire racks.

Normally when we wash dishes by hand, we put them in a dish drainer to dry. Then we either dry them with a dish towel or leave them to air dry. If air dried, we have to put them away later. With the dish draining closet, you just wash dishes and put them away -no hand drying or waiting. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the time savings add up. Dishes are washed every day.

I used to really hate washing dishes by hand. I once moved apartments because the new apartment came with a dish washing machine. Times have changed. Last winter my home dishwasher failed. It’s not going to be replaced.

There’s a common argument that dishwashers use less water than washing by hand. I’ve discovered that I use a lot less water and electricity hand washing. I follow my electric use carefully. My water is pumped up from my well with an electric pump. It runs a lot less now. One big energy savings is a simple on/off valve at the nozzle of the kitchen sink. It makes it very easy to turn the water off between dishes.

Electric dishwashers still have to be loaded and unloaded. Often, really dirty dishes need a good rinse before being put in the machine. Dishes that don’t come completely clean have to be either hand washed or run through again.

I think the Finnish dish draining closet is an excellent alternative to the electric dishwasher. It saves energy and it saves space. There’s one less machine to break down. It requires a lot less resources to install and maintain. It’s low tech, but good design.

I’m really tempted to retrofit my kitchen. I’d put in the draining closet before buying a new dishwasher, that’s for sure. The next kitchen I build will definitely have this clever invention installed from the get go.



  1. I first ran across the idea of a dish draining cupboard in the housebuilding and kitchen design books by Sam Clark. (perhaps he saw the Finnish ones, or it may simply be a case of "parallel evolution") I have friends that live on Vancouver Island and built one in their kitchen, it works really well. I would be happy to xerox and mail you the relevant pages from "The Motion-Minded Kitchen" (which I've had on my bookshelf since 1985 and is long out of print)

    1. Hi Alison, We are currently building a house and would really love to have a dish draining cupboard in our kitchen instead of a dishwasher. I'm looking all around for ideas and would love to see the pages you mentioned from Sam Clark's book. Our library doesn't have it. Would you mind emailing them to me? I'd be forever grateful. Margie

  2. Great idea, but where does the water from the dishes drain to?

  3. I love the idea but I love a window above my sink too....

  4. Thanks, I am ordering Motion Minded Kitchen from my library.

    BTW, the water drips down into the sink below. For those with a window over the sink, consider a cabinet to the side...