Can You Put Dish Rags in A Dishwasher?

Can you put dish rags in a dishwasher?

Though the dishwasher relieves us of some burdens and it can perform a lot of tasks, especially when it comes to keeping some of the kitchenware. That, however, doesn’t mean that you should regard it as a superhero. This implies that some kitchen items such as the dish rag should not be washed in the dishwasher. This is because the dishwasher is designed for dishes and not fabrics. Check out this article for more information.

What to do with dirty dish rags?

After some period of usage, the dish rag will become dirty and smelly. What you do in such a situation will determine if it will still be useful in the future. Here are some of what you can do with a dirty dish rag.

  • Wash it

Once dirty, the obvious thing you need to do is to wash them. However, the dishwasher is not safe for you to wash the dish rag or any type of fabric. To fully restore the dish rag when it is dirty, you should soak it with hot water.

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You can also add vinegar to the water and leave the dish rag for a minimum duration of 15 minutes, depending on how dirty it is. You can sprinkle it with baking soda, preferably 1 tablespoon. Any of these will get rid of bacteria and odor on it. Add bleach into the hot water if the dish rag is color white and set the washer to hot water before you wash.

  • Dry it

Once the washing circle is complete, you should not leave the dish rag in the washer for an extended period. It is recommended that you transfer it to the dryer immediately, you then hang it for it to thoroughly dry.

Why do my dish rags always smell?

While it is common for dish rags to get smelly, It is, however, unlikely that you will be able to endure the stench. Highlighted below are some of the reasons why they bring that offensive smell.

  • When they are dirty

It is normal for the dish rags to get dirty when they are used. Just like your normal attire that will become smelly when you wear them and they are dirty, the dish rag could also become smelly after some period of usage.

  • When they are always wet

We use the dish rag often in the kitchen whether for drying our hands when they are wet, to clean the cabinet, wiping spills, and a lot more. The implication of this is that the rag will become wet and will need enough time to dry. If you fail to dry the dish rags after a while, it is likely they will become smelly. Leaving them wet after washing also could lead to the smell.

  • Presence of bacteria

A typical dish rag, depending on how often you clean it, could contain grease, moisture, and residual food particles. In this situation, the rag could serve as a breeding place for bacteria. This will in turn lead to a sour or foul smell. Not only will the dish rag become smelly, but it could also transfer bacteria to any surface that you clean it with or contaminate your food.

How do I keep my dish rags from smelling?

Some of what could be done to get rid of the smell from the dish rag has been highlighted earlier. The next thing is to ensure that you prevent the smell by changing the way you do some things. Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent the dish rag from smelling.

  • Dry them

Leaving the wet dish rag lying on the sink after use will lead to a smell. It might have become greasy or trap food particles while you are using it. To avoid the smell, you can lightly rinse and look for a good spot around the sink where you can hang and allow it to air dry. If possible, you can get a towel rack in the kitchen where you will hang it. 

  • Have more than one

Hanging the dish rag to dry overnight is good, but replacing it with a new one the following morning is a better way to prevent the smell on the dish rags.

  • Wash often

Rinsing the dish rag before spreading it overnight isn’t enough to prevent smell. It is better that you wash the dish rag properly with soap and water weekly. You can then leave it to thoroughly dry before you store it. If you are using a washer, it is recommended that you switch the washer to the hottest settings.  

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Where do I keep dish rags in the kitchen?

What you do after washing the dish rag is very important. Keeping them in the wrong locations could ruin them. Nevertheless, where you will keep them depends on how soon you plan to use them again. Below are some ideas on where you can store them.  

  • Place it on the faucet

In most cases, likely, you work close to the sink while you are in the kitchen. One of the best places where you can keep the dish rag in this instance is to place it on the faucet, depending on the type. If you have a window above the sink, the dish rag will likely get dry quicker with the help of sunlight.

  • Towel rack

While leaving the dish towel on the faucet might appear to be the easiest way to keep it, the truth is that it is going to be an eyesore and makes the kitchen look unorganized. You should then consider alternatives. One of the things you can do is to get a towel rack and create a space for it. It is a piece of homeware that is not expensive. This will serve as a spot where you will keep your dish rags and also hang them to air dry when they are wet.

  • Get a drying bar

Apart from towel racks, you can also get the over-the-sink drying bar. This will serve as a spot where you will dry the kitchen towel and other kitchen utensils. This, however, depends on the amount of space in the kitchen.  

How to store dish rags in the kitchen?

It is better to separate a clean dish rag from the ones that are currently in use. There are many places in the kitchen where you can keep them. Below are a few examples of where you can store a dish rag in the kitchen

  • Cabinet

A lot of kitchen items can be kept in the cabinet apart from the traditional utensils. You can just create a small space in the cabinet where you will store the neat dish rags. Make sure you fold them neatly before you place them there.  

  • Drawer

If you have drawers in the kitchen, you can dedicate any of them to dish rags. Make sure you neatly fold the rags before storage. 

Frequently Asked Question

  • How long should I use a dish rag?

The lifespan of a dish rag depends on how often you use and care for it. However, you should remember that their surfaces could serve as fertile ground for bacteria. If you consider this, it will be ideal that you replace them every 6 months.


Dealing with a smelly or wet dish rag could be a hassle. We hope that the ideas that have been highlighted in this article will guide you on the best thing you can do. 


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