Monday, February 06, 2012

The Boat Galley: A Better Dish Drainer

In her first Daily Boater post, guest blogger Carolyn Shearlock shares her recommendation for the best dish drainer for your boat...

Guest blog by Carolyn Shearlock
Carolyn Shearlock, a new contributor to the Daily Boater, is the author of The Boat Galley.

Even a galley this nice has challenges! Photo © Brian Palmer/

Do you get frustrated with trying to find a dish drainer that works on your boat?  One that’s large enough to hold a reasonable number of dishes, but stores in a minimum of space?

About a year ago, I spent a week aboard Winterlude, owned by our good friends Jan and David Irons. And Jan had come up with the perfect answer:  instead of any of those fancy dish drainers, just throw a chamois on the counter. 

A real (not synthetic) chamois absorbs seven times its own weight in water.  Just place the dishes on it to air dry (air drying is recommended by the FDA as more sanitary than drying with a towel, so you’re not being lazy by not wiping them!).  When they’re dry, just wring out the chamois and hang it to dry.

The chamois won’t slip on the counter, and dishes don’t slip on it. Just lean your plates up against the mugs or pans so the water will run off.

I’ve tried using folding dish drainers and found them too small – and they tended to slide on the counter. I bought a larger one, but it was too big to store so I left it on the counter – and that meant giving up 25% of my limited counter space.

When I saw Jan’s solution, only one thing ran through my mind:  why didn’t I think of that?

You can buy a chamois at any auto parts store or department for $10 to $15 – they’re more often used for car washing. Just be sure to get real chamois and it’ll last a couple years in tropical temperatures, longer if you’re in a cooler climate. 

Carolyn Shearlock is author of The Boat Galley, with over 250 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too – plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers!



  1. Chamois do indeed last years. To enhance this... best advantage is to use anti-bacteria dish shop and rinse the dishes well. I wash/soak the chamois every 2 months with two drops of the same soap in a quart solution. Again rinse well and let dry. This keeps the microscopic particulate matter from decay within the chamois which destroys the device.

  2. The key here is to have one of your deckies dry up straight away! and stow the dishes straight away too! last thing you need is "crash" "bang" in some swell whilst moored.

    Chamois are a fantastic idea as well.

  3. Wouldn't it be nice to have 'deckies'!