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Fix Your Rusty Dishwasher Rack: Super Easy DIY Steps & Video

New dishwasher racks can cost hundreds. But, there’s a cheap & easy way to repair a rusty dishwasher rack. Anyone can do this!

How To Repair A Rusty Dishwasher Rack

For the last couple of years, I’ve been ignoring the little rust spots that have been showing up on the back of my white dishes. But, I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Almost all of the tops of the tines on my dishwasher racks were rusting. And, that rust was staining my dishes. So, I finally decided it was time to replace the racks.

BUT, the replacement dishwasher racks for my model would have cost be about $400. That’s right, I said $400! That’s crazy.

Image of someone using ReRack on rusty dishwasher racks. For a post about dishwasher rack rust repair, dishwasher racks rusting.

You can buy a brand new dishwasher for about $1000. So, I wasn’t about to spend that money to replace the rack. So, I did tons of research to figure out the easiest way to fix dishwasher rack rusting.

And, it was a HUGE success! Keep reading for the simple steps I used to repair my dishwasher rack rust.

Dishwasher Rack Rust Repair Video

If any of the steps below are confusing, watch this video. Seeing something done can sometimes help.

Quick & Easy Fix for Rusty Dishwasher Racks - Using ReRack Repair Coating!

How To Remove Rust From Dishwasher Racks

DISCLAIMER: If your dishwasher rack rusting is so bad that it’s falling apart OR close to falling apart, you might want to just replace the rack.

Missing tines and sections of your racks will reduce your ability to stack dishes properly and wash full loads.


Image of rust on the tines of a dishwasher rack.
Here’s a look at my dishwasher rack rusting before repairs.

Easy DIY Steps

Here’s a quick look at the steps to repair rust on dishwasher racks. A detailed explanation of each step is right below this list.

  1. Clean The Dishwasher Racks
  2. Sand All Of The Rusty Spots
  3. Brush Off Dust Then Clean With Alcohol
  4. Apply ReRack And Caps To Tops Of Tines
  5. Apply 2-3 Coats Of ReRack To All Other Rust Spots
  6. Let It Cure For 24 Hours Before Using

Now, let’s go over each step in detail.

Step One – Clean The Dishwasher Racks

To clean them, you can remove the dishwasher racks and wash them with dish soap and hot water in your sink. Be sure to scrub both sides clean.

Or, run the dishwasher empty, with 2 cups of vinegar in a cup on that top rack. Be sure to use hot water when you run the dishwasher with the vinegar.

I also use vinegar to Clean the Dishwasher Filter. It does a great job of loosening dirt AND killing mildew.

Image of vinegar in a cup on the top rack of a dishwasher. Vinegar used to clean the dishwasher.
To clean your dishwasher, run the dishwasher with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar INSIDE an open cup on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Step Two – Remove Loose Latex & Sand Rusty Spots

Once the dishwasher racks are clean and dry, remove any loose bits of the latex coating that cover the metal on the racks.

Then carefully sand off all rust spots with a coarse grit sandpaper until you get to smooth metal. You might still see a little rust coloring, but be sure to remove the rusty, bubbling looking flakes.

I like to use a small targeted sander, like this Gator Micro Zip. It makes sanding small spots easy.

Don’t forget to flip the racks over to sand spots on the bottoms of the racks too.

Step Three – Brush Off Dust & Clean

Once you’ve finished sanding, brush off all the rust dust with a dry rag. Then use Rubbing Alcohol to clean all of the rust spots.

Rubbing alcohol is great for cleaning rust spots and will degrease the spot before the next step.

Don’t use water to clean the rust spots, since water causes metal to rust.

Use rubbing alcohol to clean all of the rusty spots.

Step Four – Apply ReRack And Caps To Tops Of Tines

Apply ReRack around the top of a tine, then quickly slip a tine cap over the tine. You want to do this before the ReRack starts to dry.

Those dishwasher rack tine caps are great because they protect the coating on the tines from chipping and peeling again.

The ReRack will help to seal the metal and hold the cap in place. ReRack starts to dry within 30 seconds. So, working on just 1 or 2 tines at a time works best.

Wear a glove to protect your skin from the ReRack. ReRack can dry on your skin like superglue, which is hard to remove. So, be sure to keep it off your skin.

Repeat until you’ve covered every tine, OR every tine that had rust.

Image of someone using ReRack on a dishwasher rack.
Apply ReRack to the tops of tines, then quickly slide a tine cap over the tine.

Step Five – Apply 2-3 Coats Of ReRack To All Other Rust Spots

Once you’ve finished working on the tines, apply 2 to 3 coats of ReRack to the rest of the rusty spots. Let the ReRack dry for 30 minutes between coats.

And, again, don’t forget to the spots on the bottom of the dishwasher rack.

Image of a dishwasher rack repaired with ReRack coating.
You can see the dry ReRack coating on the two tips near my finger.

Step Six – Wait 24 Hours To Use

The ReRack will feel completely dry pretty quickly. But, it needs 24 hours to completely cure before it gets wet. Wait 24 hours before running your dishwasher.

A dishwasher rack with plastic tine caps.

That’s it for how to remove rust from dishwasher racks. Here’s some answers to common questions.

Can I Replace The Racks In My Dishwasher?

Yes, you can replace dishwasher racks on most newer dishwasher models. But, they can sometimes be pricey, depending on availability, type of rack, and age of the dishwasher.

You can usually find replacement dishwasher racks by googling the dishwasher Name & Model # with the words “dishwasher rack”. You can use that same search on Amazon too.

What Makes A Dishwasher Rack Rust?

Dishwasher racks rust when the coating over the metal frame wears down or breaks. That exposed metal reacts to water by rusting.

You can stop the growth of that rust by routinely repairing any rust spots with the steps above.

How Do I Fix The Coating On My Dishwasher Rack?

If the coating on your dishwasher rack is broken, peeling, or missing; you can fix it with a dishwasher rack coating product.

I used ReRack Coating to fix the coating on my dishwasher rack. Follow the steps above or watch the video to see dishwasher rack coatings work.

Image of a rusty dishwasher rack with text that says "Fix Rust Spots"

That’s it for everything you need to know about Dishwasher Rack Rust Repair.

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