How to Remove Rust From a Dishwasher Rack in 8 Easy Steps

Dishwasher racks are susceptible to rusting, especially if they’re made of iron or steel. Rust can cause the frames to deteriorate and eventually break. Fortunately, removing rust from a dishwasher rack is relatively easy – all you need is vinegar, sandpaper, a vinyl repair solution, and tine caps.

You can remove rust from your dishwasher rack by placing a bowl filled with vinegar in the dishwasher and running a hot water cycle. Once the cycle is complete, scrub down the rust spots with sandpaper and apply a vinyl repair adhesive while covering the tines with plastic caps.

However, there are also some advanced techniques that you can use to remove rust from your dishwasher rack. If you’d like a more thorough guide that expands on the steps above and some other tips and tricks, keep reading.

Removing rust from a dishwasher rack.

1. Fill a Large Bowl With Vinegar

The first step is to get a large bowl and some vinegar.

You’ll need to use a big bowl to fit inside your dishwasher so the vinegar can reach all the rust spots on the racks. Additionally, ensure you use white vinegar, as its acidic content is strong enough to break down rust from metal surfaces.

Pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl and place it inside the dishwasher on the top rack.

2. Run a Hot Water Cycle on the Dishwasher

Now that you have the bowl and vinegar, it’s time to start removing the rust from your dishwasher racks.

With your bowl of vinegar in the dishwasher, run a hot water cycle to allow the vinegar to loosen the rust and make it easier to wipe off.

Once the cycle is complete, open the dishwasher and use a clean cloth to wipe down the rack. As you wipe, you should see the rust coming off. Don’t worry about the stubborn rust spots for now; we’ll get to those in a minute. Just focus on getting the rack as clean as possible.

3. Use Sandpaper to Remove the Stubborn Rust Spots

Now that you’ve removed some rust and loosened the stubborn spots, it’s time to break out the sandpaper.

Using medium-grit sandpaper, carefully and gently sand down the stubborn rust spots so you don’t damage the rack. Start from the top side of the rack, then turn it upside down and sand the bottom.

Be sure to move the sandpaper in a circular motion to avoid damaging the metal. The idea is to use sandpaper to remove the top layer of rust while leaving the metal beneath intact.

Due to the design of most dishwashers, the upper side of the rack tends to collect more rust than the underside. So don’t get surprised if you have to put extra elbow grease into removing the rust from that side.

I highly recommend getting this Micro Zip Sander to make your work easier. This sander works great, especially in tight spaces and corners. It also has a grip that molds to the shape of your finger, making it extremely comfortable, and it includes a quick change hook and loop base. Therefore, you can easily change sandpaper grits.

4. Clean the Loose Rust Particles and Let it Dry

Once you’ve removed all the rust spots with sandpaper, it’s time to clean up the loose rust particles.

Using rubbing alcohol and a cloth, gently wipe down the rack to remove any rust particles left behind. The alcohol will also help to disinfect the rack and prevent further rusting.

Once you’ve cleaned the rack, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

5. Check for Any Remaining Rust Spots

Rust is stubborn, so it’s important to check the rack for any remaining rust spots.

Inspect the rack thoroughly, looking for any rust spots you may have missed. If you find any, repeat steps 3 and 4 until the rack is completely rust-free. The goal is to remove all the rust before moving on to the next step to avoid further damage once you start using the dishwasher again.

6. Apply a Vinyl Repair Adhesive and Cover With Tine Caps

After you’ve removed all the rust from the dishwasher racks, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

One way to do this is to apply a vinyl repair adhesive to the rack. These adhesives help to seal off the metal and protect surfaces from rust, corrosion, and other damage.

Using the small paintbrush, apply a generous amount of glue to each tine, slipping on a tine cap as you go. Don’t apply the adhesive to the entire rack before adding the tine caps, as this can cause the glue to dry too quickly. Work one tine at a time to avoid this issue. Continue until all the tines are covered and the rack is fully protected.

Apply the vinyl adhesive to the underside of the rack as well, being sure to reach into the corners to prevent rust from forming on the bottom of the rack in the future.

One vinyl repair adhesive that worked for me is the Rerack Dishwasher Rack Repair. This OZ White Repair Coating is specifically designed for touch-ups and repairs on dishwasher racks. It’s easy to use and provides long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion.

Once you’ve covered all the rusty spots, let the adhesive dry for 24 hours before using the dishwasher again. This will give the vinyl repair adhesive time to fully cure and provide maximum protection against rust, corrosion, and water damage.

7. Use a Rust Prevention Spray (Optional)

If you want to take extra steps to prevent rust from forming on your dishwasher rack in the future, you can use a rust prevention spray.

Applying a rust prevention spray creates a barrier between the metal and water, helping to prevent rust and corrosion.

To apply it, hold the spray can about 6 inches away from the rack and coat it evenly. Be sure to get into all the rust spots, as rust will likely form in those areas first. It’s important to apply the spray evenly and reach into the corners.

Remember to cover the tine caps with tape to avoid getting the spray on them. You can remove the tape once the spray has dried.

Rust prevention sprays are available in different colors, so you can choose one that matches the finish of your dishwasher. Some brands even offer clear sprays, which can be a good option if you’re unsure what color to choose.

After you’ve applied the spray, let it dry for 24 hours before using the dishwasher again. This will give the spray time to fully cure and provide maximum protection against rust and corrosion.

8. Run a Cycle With Hot Water to Sanitize it

After you’ve taken all the necessary steps to remove the rust from your dishwasher rack and the preventative measures, it’s important to sanitize the rack before using it again.

Running a cycle with hot water is the best way to do this as it will kill bacteria and help remove any lingering rust particles.

If you’re concerned about using hot water on your rack, you can also sanitize it with vinegar and water. Simply mix the solution and use it to thoroughly clean the rack. However, remember to rinse the rack with hot water after cleaning it with the vinegar solution.

Once the rack is clean and sanitized, you can use it again.

Rust Prevention Tips and Tricks

To prevent rust from forming on your dishwasher rack in the future, you can take a few simple steps:

  • Rinse the rack thoroughly after each use to remove any food particles or residue that could lead to rust.
  • Keep the rack dry when it’s not in use.
  • If you have a dishwasher with a self-cleaning cycle, run it twice a month to help prevent rust.
  • If you notice any rust spots, clean them immediately with a rust removal product or method.

Is Rust on Dishwasher Racks Dangerous?

Rust on dishwasher racks are dangerous because they could scratch or cut your skin, leading to an infection. Additionally, rust is made up of iron oxide, a chemical compound that can be toxic if ingested.

Along with causing an infection on your skin, if you have a rusted dishwasher rack, there’s a risk that the rust particles could contaminate your dishes, causing food poisoning.

To avoid these dangers, it’s important to remove rust from your dishwasher rack as soon as you notice it and prevent it from happening again in the future.

You may also like: What Happens If You Eat Rust

Final Thoughts

Rust can be a severe problem for dishwasher racks, but it doesn’t have to be. With some elbow grease and the right products, you can easily remove rust from your dishwasher rack and keep it looking new.

Remember to take preventive measures to avoid rust in the future, such as rinsing the rack after each use and keeping it dry when it’s not in use. These simple steps will help to extend the life of your dishwasher rack and keep it looking its best.

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