What is a Draining Board?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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As a staple with most kitchens prior to the invention of the automatic dishwasher, a draining board provided a surface that allowed a rack of freshly washed dishes to drain and dry. In some instances, it was part of the overall sink configuration, while in other cases, the board was a detachable section that could be stored when not in use. Here is some other information about draining boards and their uses.

When constructed as part of the single or double sink, the draining area was often an extension of the stainless steel or porcelain coated body. The surface was often ribbed and occasionally slightly turned downward in the direction of the sink proper. A draining rack would be placed on the board, and loaded with dishes after they were washed and rinsed. The slight incline of the board back to the sink would allow water to run into the sink as it dripped off the drying dishes. The draining racks themselves were purchased separately, and could be replaced from time to time as necessary.


A detachable draining board was also available for smaller kitchens, such as those found in apartments. Rather than being a part of the sink construction, portable boards stored easily in a closet or under a bed. When needed, the board would be set up, with the platform part of the board resting on the edge of the sink. The device was sturdy enough to support a dish washing rack, and the legs on the portable board were usually tall enough to create a very slight incline back into the sink, so water could drain off easily. Detachable draining board models were usually constructed of heavy duty aluminum or tin, making them lightweight enough to take down and set up as needed.

Along with providing the ideal spot for drying dishes, the draining board was also a popular location for such tasks as cleaning and fruits and vegetables. The close proximity to the sink and running water was ideal for the task, and the strong steel or porcelain surface of the draining area worked well as a chopping surface. Once kitchen disposals were introduced and often installed as part of the kitchen sink drainage system, the area became even more popular as the place to do chopping, peeling, and dicing.

While many modern kitchens no longer feature built in draining boards, there are still manufacturers that offer a line of customized sinks with draining boards, as well as reproductions of sink models from years past. For anyone who wishes to recapture a bit of history in the overall design of the kitchen, the inclusion of a draining board may be just the touch that is required.


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