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A cutlery drainer is a piece of kitchen equipment that serves to naturally eliminate the excess water from silverware and other cutlery after the utensils are washed. A wide variety of cutlery drainers exist, from over-the-sink models to basic homemade sets. Though the simple device lengthens the time it takes for dishes to dry, it can eliminate the need to hand dry dishes with a towel.
To use a cutlery drainer, simply place all of the cutlery or other wet utensils, such as scissors or art supplies, into the cutlery basket. Place the basket in a place where the water can drain safely and with minimal mess, such as inside the kitchen sink. Many people also put their cutlery drainers within a dish draining basket, on top of a tray placed on a kitchen counter, or on top of a small towel. Each person's method of washing cutlery may vary, depending upon space constraints and available resources.
As most types of cutlery may fit in a cutlery drainer, some people may opt to use a cutlery drainer for storing cutlery instead of just washing it. This may be the case when a person lives in a small space, such as a college dormitory. Using a drainer for cutlery storage may also be a convenient option for people who are camping or traveling.
Cutlery drainers are widely available in department stores, domestic merchandise venues, and home improvement centers. They range from low-cost, plastic models to more expensive stainless steel varieties. Some small cutlery drainers that can be placed inside a dishwasher are also available. Cutlery drainers also vary widely in appearance, and may be round, square, or more creatively shaped for a whimsical appearance. Plastic varieties are usually sold in many different colors and patterns as well, which can help consumers choose designs that match their kitchen decor.
It is also possible to make one's own cutlery drainer. This can be done by drilling holes into a simple plastic container, such as a cup or caddy. Lidded containers may make optimal cutlery drainers for people who utilize them for storage in addition to draining. Some people use terracotta pots and saucers, which already feature holes for draining, in order to obtain a more natural, rustic look in their kitchens. Any object used as a cutlery drainer should be thoroughly cleaned before each use to ensure the health and safety of the people who will use it.