Rusty Dishwasher Racks

Time: 45 minutes

The average dishwasher has a life expectancy of 9 years. An easy way to extend the life of your machine is to make sure your dishwasher racks are in good shape.

Most racks are coated in a layer of vinyl to prevent the underlying metal from rusting. Over time, this coating can develop nicks and tears, leaving the metal vulnerable to corrosion. If the coating wears off on your dish racks, repair or replace the racks ASAP.

Left alone to rust, small shards of rusty metal can enter the dishwasher pump and cause a breakdown. Rusty racks can also leave streaks and scratches on your dishware.

What’s in it for you?

  • Longer machine life
  • Scratch-free dishes
  • Rust stain prevention

Feeling DIY-ey? Find a vinyl repair kit online. They’re simple to use, far cheaper than buying a new dish rack, and even come in a variety of colors to match your machine.

To repair rusty dish racks:

  1. Remove the rack from the dishwasher. Depending on your model, the rack may simply lift off the track, or you may need to push forward/backward locking tabs located on the front of the track to release it.
  2. Clean the rack and dry it completely.
  3. Inspect the rack for rust. Fit a wire brush onto a rotary tool and use it to remove all signs of rust.
  4. Inspect the rack for damage to the vinyl protective coating, and for blisters or bubbling. Bubbling occurs when the metal under the coating begins to rust, and can be found by running your fingers along the rack. Using the rotary tool, scrape damaged areas to remove compromised vinyl and to expose bare metal.
  5. Apply the vinyl repair paint from your vinyl repair kit to stripped areas. You may want to use more than one coat.
  6. Use a pair of pliers to snip the ends off of any rusted tine tips. Remove remaining corrosion using sandpaper or the rotary tool.
  7. Coat freshly cut tips with vinyl paint, then slip a replacement tip over the tines. If your repair kit doesn’t come with replacement tips, you can buy them separately.
    Pro tip: If you need to replace a large number of tine tips, you can take the cap off of the vinyl paint, flip the dish rack upside down, and dip the tines directly in the bottle.
  8. Allow the new vinyl to dry for a couple of hours and return the rack to the dishwasher. Do not use your dishwasher for 24 hours to allow the vinyl to cure fully.
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