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 permanently 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.
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You can buy a brand new dishwasher for about $1000. So, I wasn’t about to spend that money to replace them. So, I did tons of research to figure out the easiest way to fix a rusty dishwasher rack.
And, it was a HUGE success! Keep reading for the simple steps I used to repair my dishwasher racks.
Table of contents
How To Fix A Rusty Dishwasher Rack
DISCLAIMER: If your rusty dishwasher rack is so rusty 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.
What I Use
Click the links to see each item on Amazon.
- ReRack Dishwasher Rack Coating
- Dishwasher Tine Caps
- Coarse Grit Sandpaper (I used a Gator Micro Sander with Coarse Grit Sandpaper)
- Rubbing Alcohol & Paper Towels
- Protective Gloves
Easy DIY Steps
Here’s a quick look at the steps. A detailed explanation of each step is right below this list.
- Clean The Dishwasher Racks
- Sand All Of The Rusty Spots
- Brush Off Dust Then Clean With Alcohol
- Apply ReRack And Caps To Tops Of Tines
- Apply 2-3 Coats Of ReRack To All Other Rust Spots
- 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.
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 covers 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.
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.
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.
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.
That’s it! You’ve successfully repaired a rusty dishwasher rack.
Rusty Dishwasher Rack Coating Repair Video
If any of the steps above are confusing, watch this video. Seeing something done can sometimes help.
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 Dishwasher Racks 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.
That’s it for everything you need to know about How To Fix Rusty Dishwasher Racks.
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