Readers deal with rusting dishwasher racks

Before buying a new dishwasher, readers say try coating rusty racks.
Before buying a new dishwasher, readers say try coating rusty racks.
Posted: May 12, 2012

My readers never disappoint, and this week is no exception.

One of you wrote to say that the white plastic coating on the bottom rack of the dishwasher was coming off, leaving rust on the dishes. The manufacturer’s solution: a replacement rack for more than $200.

Respondents cited similar problems — and solutions.

From Stephanie Simkins: “My dishwasher is many years old and still working perfectly except for the rusting racks. I wrote to Maytag about the problem and did receive a call back from their customer service department. They left a phone number for me to return their call — which I did.

“Unfortunately, Maytag never followed up with my question and I assumed (rightfully) that they would be telling me I would have to replace the racks. So I let it go.

“My dishes also have rust marks on them, which is no big deal since they are my everyday set, and only my husband and I use them.

“Other than purchasing new racks, I think your reader and me are stuck with this problem.”

Simkins did say that she used Lemishine, available for $4 at Wal-Mart, Target and other stores, to clean off the rust stains.

From Larry Schofer: “I also have experience with rust on the rungs of my dishwasher racks.

“I discussed this with the dealer, and we came to the conclusion that this was really a matter of an inferior product, despite the brand name of the dishwasher. When we looked closely at various models of the same manufacturer, we could see real quality differences in the rubber finish of the racks. Rather than spend an exorbitant amount on a new rack, we installed a new dishwasher — same company, but higher up in the product line.

“We now have a much better machine, and no rust!”

From another reader: “My Maytag dishwasher (Quiet Series 300) has the same problem. It’s 8 years old, but the racks have been getting progressively worse in the past four years or so.

“I called Maytag last summer and was told, ‘We hear that a lot,’ which wasn’t very reassuring. The price to replace the lower rack was $150 a year ago. I figured it wasn’t worth replacing the rack because of its age. Someone told me there is a paint you can use to coat the rack; I didn’t investigate this. I’m just putting up with the problem until the dishwasher dies. I won’t be buying another Maytag, however.”

Encouraging words from Rhonda Casey: “Though my solution is not pretty, it has proven to be most effective. I applied bathtub caulking with a Q-tip to the various prongs and grids of the lower rack. It has held up very well.”

More from Dori McCrane: “Hardware stores used to sell a liquid to put on the places where the vinyl was worn [Ace Hardware has a Permatex vinyl repair kit that McCrane may be referring to]. I had the same problem about 20 years ago.”

Finally, from Gerry Zanzalari: “A possible remedy might be to purchase a product sold in places like Home Depot or Lowe’s that is used to put a plastic coating on things such as the handles of pliers. [Reader “Larry” says it is ReRACK, sold at both Lowes and Home Depot in a small bottle for about $7, www.plastidip.com]. This product is applied by dipping the tool handles in this liquid to apply a plastic coat. The more you dip, the thicker the coat. I have used it for various outdoor sporting activities and it has proven to be excellent in all conditions. Despite rigorous use over a number of years, it has not come off or deteriorated and can be easily applied with a brush.

“I know it’s waterproof, but I am not certain about its resistance to hot water. My bet is that it would work like a charm, especially if the rust were to be removed first.”

Questions? E-mail Alan J. Heavens at aheavens@phillynews.com or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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