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Does That TikTok Dish Drying Hack Really Work?

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Having a dishwasher is a game changer, even if it’s a tiny dishwasher, cutting down on both labor and water use. Next to air conditioning, the dishwasher is my favorite discrete invention of all time, excluding big big ones like electricity and indoor plumbing (both of which necessarily predated the creation of the dishwasher). Most dishwashers are very good at washing dishes, but they aren’t so great at drying dishes.

Enter this hack from Babs, the TikTok grandma everyone loves. I generally enjoy Babs a lot—though she’s had her hits and her misses—but this dish-drying maneuver is a true timesaving hack. In her video from last year (which has since resurfaced and gone viral a second time), Babs drapes a terrycloth dishtowel inside her dishwasher once the dishes are “done” (that is, after the washing and drying cycle is complete). She lets it hang out for five minutes, then opens the washer to reveal truly dry dishes.

I hate touching wet dishes (it feels bad) and I hate drying dishes (it’s boring), so I gave this a try. It works well, though it’s not quite as effective as the video implies. I washed my dishes, I draped and waited, and then opened my dishwasher to reveal…mostly dry dishes. My plates were completely dry, as were most of my other dishes, but there was still some water pooled on top of a few bowls and coffee cups.

Why does this work? The towel absorbs the steam that’s floating around in the washer after the washing and automatic drying is all done, and keeps it from condensing on your dishes. Of course, a dish towel, no matter how absorbent, is simply not capable of soaking up pooled water from several inches away, so this hack means far less drying, which is not the “no drying” Babs promises, but is still much better than drying every single dish.

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