How to Fix Dishwasher Rack Rust? – These Simple DIY Hacks Will Make It Look Brand New!

by Stephanie Yankova

Have you noticed rusty spots on your stainless steel cookware after you’ve washed them in the dishwasher? If you have, you probably have a case of rusty rack on your hands! Why is your dishwasher showing rust? Is it harmful? How do you fix it? Here’s everything you need to know about dealing with dishwasher rack rust! 

dishwasher rack rust rusty spots stainless steel cookware

Is it Normal for a Dishwasher to Rust?

The interior of your dishwasher is highly unlikely to rust if it’s made of stainless steel. However, it’s not uncommon for the dishwasher rack to suffer from rust. This usually happens when the coating of the metal frame rack wears down. The rust begins to form when the exposed metal gets in contact with water.

Read also: How to clean the dishwasher and disinfect it? Tips and home remedies that work well!

Is Rust on Dishwasher Rack Harmful?

The rust on your dishwasher rack shouldn’t be neglected! When the rust gets in contact with water it diffuses upon your dishes. This leaves a rusty coating of harmful chemicals on their surface. Depending on the amount of buildup, it can affect the efficiency of the cookware. The rust on the metal rack isn’t particularly harmful to your health. However, chipped pieces of metal can make their way into your dishes, which is something to be wary of when you unload the dishwasher.

rusty spots stainless steel cookware pan dishwasher


Why does Stainless Steel Rust in the Dishwasher?

Firstly, it’s important to know that stainless steel is not rust-proof. It’s especially susceptible when the surface is scratched. When the dishwasher rack is chipped and the minerals in the water cause it to rust, we observe something called “floating rust”. This is a process in which the rust in the dishwasher gets distributed by “floating” onto steel and sometimes ceramic surfaces. It appears as small brown spots on your cookware and cutlery.

Also read: What’s the Proper Way to Load a Dishwasher and 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

How to Remove Rust from Stainless Steel Cookware?

When the spots are caused by rust in the dishwasher, the first step is to eliminate the problem. Cleaning the rusty spots off the stainless steel surfaces is actually really simple! The only product you need is white vinegar:

  • Take a clean cloth and spray or pour some white vinegar into it.
  • Wipe the rusty surface of the stainless steel item with the cloth.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Wash under running warm water.

How to Fix Dishwasher Rack Rust?

dishwasher rack rust quick fix repair hacks diy

It’s completely normal for your dishwasher rack to rust at some point in time. The good news is that this is a really quick and straightforward fix that you can do all on your own! While the rust itself can’t actually be removed, it can be managed. This way it won’t cause you any more trouble in the future! There is no need to break the bank and invest in new parts! Here are some simple DIY solutions that will make your dishwasher rack look good as new!

Vinyl Repair Paint

The most simple way to repair your rusty dishwasher rack is by renewing the coating. The vinyl repair paint is a product that creates a protective layer preventing the paint to chip from the metal rack. It’s an effective solution that will improve your dishwasher’s durability! Here’s how to use it:

  • Extract the empty rack from the dishwasher.
  • If necessary, use sanding paper to smooth out any uneven areas where the rust has formed.
  • Use a damp cloth to clean the dust from the sanding paper.
  • Depending on the vinyl repair paint’s brand, the instructions for use may vary. Make sure that you read and follow them carefully.
  • Once you’ve sanded the rack, take a small clean paintbrush and apply the vinyl paint evenly onto the surface.
  • Let the paint dry for a couple of hours. Make sure that the rack sits in a place unreachable for children!

After the paint has dried, the surface of the rack should feel even and smooth. If there are any gritty spots, apply an additional layer of paint and leave it until it’s completely dry! Once you’re happy with the result, carefully install the rack back into the dishwasher!

Take a look at the video below for more instructions:



Dishwasher Rack Repair Caps

gray sillicone dishwasher rack caps protect rust

Usually, the one spot in your dishwasher that gets rusty the quickest is the tips of the rack tines. This can turn into a real nightmare as most of your dishes lean on them. You’ll soon begin to notice the brown rusty spots on your cookware caused by those rusty tips. If you don’t have the time to go through the whole vinyl paint process, there’s another simple solution. Go on Amazon or the closest hardware store and buy a pack of dishwasher rack caps. Yes, this is a thing! Not only are they incredibly cheap ($10 for 100 pcs), but they’re also effective! However, keep in mind that these caps will only work for the tines in the middle of the rack.

Note: These caps are usually quite stiff and difficult to apply. To make the process easier, soak them in hot water for a few minutes. This will help soften the rubber and make the application process much easier!

Read also: How to remove rust naturally? 8 home remedies for getting rid of rust from tools and clothes!

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