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This Absorbent Dish Drying Mat Makes Doing Dishes 100% Less Gross

Jul 04, 2023

By Genevieve Yam

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This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are eating, drinking, and buying right now. Here, Genevieve Yam writes about the dish drying mat that absorbs water instantly.

Nothing is certain except for death, taxes, and that festering pool of water sitting at the bottom of your dish rack. As an editor who tests and develops recipes for a living—and therefore does a lot of dishes—I’m intimately familiar with this puddle of water that just won’t go away, no matter how frequently I empty the tray. The liquid is gross and, let’s be real, probably full of bacteria. It’s the last thing I want to see or think about when I’m preparing food in my kitchen. This was my daily reality until a friend introduced me to Dorai’s instant-drying dish pad.

The dish drying mat absorbs water droplets so quickly that it’s mesmerizing to watch. According to Dorai’s website, that’s because it’s made with Diomat, a mixture of recycled paper and diatomaceous earth, which is “a naturally occurring mineral made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms” that can hold up to 150% of its weight in water. Its fine, pore-like structure helps liquid evaporate quickly, which makes it the ideal material for dish pads, bath mats, and sink caddies, all of which Dorai sells. Diatomaceous earth is also used in water filters and beer brewing, to make grills, and as pest control—pretty handy, if you ask me.

Curious to see if the dish pad was worth the hype, I bought a set of two (along with a bath mat) and put them to the test. Each dish pad is comprised of three lightweight, stonelike slates encased in a mesh silicone cover that acts as a buffer between the Diomat slates and your tableware, if you’re not using a dish rack. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it did, indeed, absorb all the water from my dishes quickly and effectively, leaving no trace of water behind. Thrilled by my new discovery, I began to use the dish pad for my produce, wet planters, and anything else that needed to air-dry.

Because the dish pad folds into thirds like an envelope, it’s great for small kitchens, freeing up precious counter space when you aren’t using it. There’s one permanently ensconced beneath my dish rack—which I use to maximize drying space—while the other gets tucked away into a drawer and only comes out when I have an abundance of produce to wash or I’m cleaning up after a dinner party.

The one downside is that caring for it isn’t entirely effortless. To keep my Dorai dish pad clean and absorbent, I remove the silicone cover at the end of each week, sanitize it in the dishwasher, and allow the slates to fully dry by propping them up against a wall. Though cleaning the cover isn’t necessary (and you can totally hand-wash the cover if you don’t have a dishwasher), I’ve found it helps to maintain the quality of the dish pad and minimizes staining, which can happen if the panels become oversaturated with water and aren’t given adequate time to dry. But this is a small price to pay so I don’t have to stare at the stagnant puddle below my dish rack each night.