Behind the Design: Space Saving Drying Rack
Words Rebecca Ulanoff
OXO Tot was born out of necessity. In five years, 25 babies were born to OXO’s then 50 employees.
Our engineers and product managers took the same curiosity-driven, problem-solving approach to parenthood (and the slew of gear that comes with it) as they did with creating household tools. Bib not catching crumbs, drips, and dribbles? Enter the Roll-Up Bib. What about a wipes dispenser that dispenses one wipe at a time instead of a handful at once? Try the PerfectPull Wipes Dispenser.
10 years and 90 products later, the OXO Tot team took on a new challenge in drying racks. Specifically, how to create a space-efficient drying rack that could handle a multitude of bottle parts, breast pump pieces, pacifiers and other soothing implements new parents rely on every day.
The Tot team and our design partners observed different families in the bottle feeding stage to see their cleaning routines and to learn their drying rack pain points. They saw that parents used a combination of drying racks and dish towels to handle the volume of bottles and parts needed on a daily basis. With an average of six bottles per kid per day and each bottle consisting of up to eight components, the counters were covered in kid paraphernalia.
Solution 1: Go vertical!
Other drying racks on the market claim to save space, but their tiered shapes take up more room than traditional rectangular racks and cramming baby gear on them tends to get super unwieldy. Our solution was to build up, way up – with a slim profiled rack that easily – and neatly — fits nine bottles and accessories.
Solution 2: Make it fit
Another space-saving issue we tackled was cabinet to countertop to drying rack ratio. We wanted to make sure our rack could sit flush against backsplashes, and that the top could be easily reached and removed without having to move the whole unit. So our team took measurements, lots of them. They calculated the average space between the bottom of kitchen cabinets and the top of the rack and built mockups of cabinets to test ease of use. This resulted in a right-sized design that works for most kitchen cabinet configuration.
Solution 3: A better angle
We also wanted to address a common parent pet peeve: thorough drying. Our original Bottle Drying Rack has specially designed pegs and raised “ribs” that elevate bottles so they don’t sit in a pool of water. We took inspiration from that design and (literally) turned it on it on its side. For the space-saving version, we angled the pegs at 48 degrees to force water downward and prevent pooling at bottlenecks. We then outfitted the base with the same raised ribs as the original, making it perfect for drying bottle nipples and sippy cup caps. The bottom of the rack has a drip spout for catching and draining water into sinks.
Solution 4: Everything in its place
Keeping track of bottle parts, accessories and the like while juggling parenthood is hard. Really, really hard. So we designated areas for each category; making it easy for even the sleep-deprived to quickly reassemble bottles and grab pacifiers at a moment’s notice.
Solution 5: Keep it clean
Finally, we knew sinks can get gross, and that, especially with newborns (and first-borns), parents are hypervigilant about cleanliness. The top and base of the Space Saving Drying Rack are removable for cleaning, and, if you really want to go there, the whole thing is dishwasher safe.