If you look for pictures of “salad bowl on a drying rack,” there is a good chance you will find pictures of salad bowls, and pictures of drying racks, but you are not likely to find any pictures of salad bowls ON a drying rack. WHY? Because you shouldn’t do it. Not really.
Because people taking pictures of drying racks want to show you how many dishes that drying rack can comfortably fit. And if you put a salad bowl in there, it will not even be comfortably fitting the salad bowl. And if you’re taking pictures of salad bowls, then why the hell would you want a drying rack in the picture? You either want to show off how awesome your bowl is by showing it empty, or you want to make it look really good by filling it with a beautiful salad.
None of that is really the point, though. The point is more about effecient systems, and how to design them to encourage desirable human behaviour.
I will not here get into an analysis of the benefits of washing dishes by hand vs using a dishwasher, but I will get into how to optimize a washing-by-hand setup. First of all, one should never permit dirty dishes to reside in the sink, since their presence inhibits the washing of other dishes. Which makes it more likely for people to simply discard their dirty dishes into the sink without washing them. In such a case, when someone finally decides to do the dishes, they will have to take all the dirty dishes out of the sink so that they can use the sink to do the dishes. Creating hurdles for beginning somewhat undesirable tasks is the best way to inhibit their completion. Storing them in a second sink (if you have one) or on the counter is ideal — since when counter space is needed, one may be inclined to simply wash the dishes rather than finding a place to move them (this relies on a taboo existing for ‘dirty dishes in the sink’).
The next hurdle occurs with the drying rack. The drying rack must be empty. If it is full, then one is less inclined to do the dishes, since there is nowhere to put them! And why indeed should you dry them, if vapour pressure is offering to passively do all that work for you? No, you let them air dry when you can.
But a full dish rack creates a problem. A zealous washer will simply tetris the extra dishes into the full dish rack, thus wetting the already dried dishes, and creating a cycle of an unstable stack of clean and wet dishes, that will grow until something breaks. This also makes the dishes on the rack difficult to access, and thus less likely to be used. Remember: in most cases you won’t have to put the dishes away — the dishes you use will continually be taken from, used, cleaned, and returned to the drying rack; only occasionally will they need to be actually put away.
If you’ve got a salad bowl on there, though, then you have filled the rack with a single dish. All dishes already on the rack are difficult ot access, and all subsequent washed dishes will be necessarily placed precariously on the saladbowl-dishrack complex.
So just don’t do it! Where does the salad bowl go? NOT ON THE DISHRACK! It can dry on the counter, or else it is one of the kitchen items (like high end knives, pots, pans, and woks) that are best kept off the dishrack, and perhaps worth drying directly after cleaning. Indeed, the lost opportunity time and effort savings of not allowing them to passively dry are almost certainly balanced by the benefits of an open rack.
It’s true: most people wouldn’t think much of a salad bowl on the dishrack, but it is a menace. It inhibits subsequent good works. It is unassuming, but disruptive. It must be recognized, to be properly addressed and dealt with. No salad bowls on the dishrack. It will improve the quality of your life.
Now you know.