Unitasker Wednesday: Sunpentown SD-1501 Warm-Air Dish Dryer

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Cotton, staple fiber, dies at home

Cotton, one of the world’s most natural and soft fibers, has passed after a long battle with technology. No longer able to keep up with advancements like the Sunpentown SD-1501 Warm-Air Dish Dryer, cotton went into hiding and refused to be made into dish towels, clothing, and other extremely useful and multitasking items.

Cotton’s representatives notified the media of his passing in a press release on Wednesday. Foul play is not suspected.

Cotton is mourned by his natural fiber cousins wool, cashmere, flax, and angora.

At 13 pounds and wearing an oddly specific $101.22 price tag, the Sunpentown SD-1501 Warm-Air Dish Dryer is available to do exactly what a clean dish towel or regular air can do.

Thanks go to reader Luci for introducing us to this fabulous unitasker.

48 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Sunpentown SD-1501 Warm-Air Dish Dryer”

  1. posted by Jen on

    I’m going to need a bigger one to dry my pots and pans.

  2. posted by Sarah S. on

    I have a lot of counter space, but my counters tremble at the thought of that monster sitting atop them. I would rather drag out the hair dryer every day to blow my dishes dry. Yikes.

  3. posted by Dawn F on

    This is hilarious!

    My grandmother would go insane if she saw this contraption! She always cringed at the ridiculous gadgets on the market. Lordy, who comes up with this …stuff…?

    Oh please, Mario – please give us your thoughts!! Where are you?

  4. posted by Alix on

    Yeah, his cousin Wool told me he’d been depressed for a while. I’d go to the funeral, but I made a big dinner last night and it’ll take me at least three more loads to dry all the dishes…

  5. posted by Beth on

    Oh for the love of pete. What are people thinking? And what is it with the weird price point?????

  6. posted by mum mum on

    Hey. I live in an unbelievably frigid and dusty place. You wouldn’t have heard of it, but that’s beside the point. I just wanted to say that this thing is the only gadget I own, and it allows me to get my dishes and utensils dry after I wash them without all the water droplets freezing into dangerously solid chips of dirt-encrusted ice. Bless Sunpentown!!

  7. posted by Evil Heather on

    Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  8. posted by momof3 on

    Wow, I have saved another $101.22 by using my 15 year old Rubbermaid TM dish drainer and the water catcher underneath it (the thing that has a slight ramp to it so water drains back into the sink). Has served this family of 5 just fine, and no power is needed to dry any dish/pot/pan/lid/drinking vessel from a days worth of food prep.

    Have you ever totaled up how much money a person can potentially spend on all the featured Unitakser….or how much money the “average joe” still has in his pocket by not spending hard earned money on these items?

  9. posted by Lose That Girl on

    If you only eat toast and cereal, this gadget might be for you.

  10. posted by Andrew on

    I don’t know, a dishwasher has supplanted soap and elbow grease (and saves alot of time). This thing MIGHT be useful if air-drying did not work so well. Also dishwashers also have a drying feature. If you were to get this thing, you might as well get a dishwasher.

  11. posted by Michael on

    These are very common in hot, humid climates. In Taiwan, no one had a diswasher, but everyone had these because the water would not evaporate in those climate conditions. It may be a unitasker, but it is a necessity in some parts of the world if you want clean, unspotted dishes.

  12. posted by renee on

    I could poach an egg (or incubate one) in first batch of morning dishes. Then my tea could be poured into a warm cup taken from the dryer simultaneously with my cooked egg. This would be my breakfast everyday because my toaster and coffee pot would be removed to fit the egg incubator, I mean dish dryer.

  13. posted by Pat on

    And even in temperate but very humid climates. During the warm season, any wet thing here has a decent chance of picking up a ubiquitous but usually-invisible fungus. Many of my dishes don’t dry in time to avoid it, and dishtowels, well, let’s not get started on what dishtowels get like.

    I wouldn’t buy this myself – I’ve got no place to put it, for one – but it does fill a real need that people have. That YOU might live in a climate where dishes dry naturally and safely is beside the point.

    The hairdrier thing, though; that sounds like a good idea. I don’t have one but I run across em for cheap or free all the time – this is a good reason to pick one up.

  14. posted by chacha1 on

    jeesch, I’m glad I don’t live in one of those climates where this is viewed as a good idea. Ugh. Sorry for all those of y’all who do!

  15. posted by Karen on

    This would be a very good and probably needful appliance for a kitchen that a) is in a climate where it’s very humid and b) doesn’t have a dishwasher. My dishwasher has a dry function, that works very well.

    While this does do “only” one thing, I don’t see it as a true Unitasker. To me, a Unitasker is an object or appliance that fills a “created” need–you know, the needs created by manufacturers. Many of the objects hawked on late night television fill those created needs. Or to put it another way, the gadget is invented, and then they find a way to sell it so you think you “need” it. Boom. A created need.

    This appliance, though, makes me think that somebody was once living in a very humid climate, where dishes never air dried and towels got very gross in the humidity. And they thought, “What if I could create a small appliance that would air dry dishes, so they wouldn’t grow mold?” Or would dry dishes in very cold climates. It’s something that was invented to fill a need, rather than create one.

    Kind of like a breadmaker. Sure, it only does one thing, but when I need to make a loaf of gluten free bread and I don’t want to crank up the oven and heat the house? I turn to my breadmaker.

  16. posted by Mario . on

    Little Pepitto and His Warm-Air Dish Dryer

    Back in Rome, ’86, I was working as an Actor doing small stage work and some commercial voice over work (I’m fluent in English my native born language, as well as Italian and three different southern-Swahilli dialects). The town? Monte Cappuccino. The weather? Surprisingly cold and fridig as some Italian winters can go. I remember during breaks on stage that I would have time to wonder about the small town of Monte Cappuccino and I instantly fell in love with the locals. Being an American Actor, as small an actor as I was, they fell in love with me too. The romanticism of the Italian culture led to instant fascination with all things stage and screen so I was quickly popular among the local folks. I would visit the coffee shops. I would visit the small stores. I would visit the brothels (What? My girlfriend was 3000 miles away in New York, and I’m sorry but who are you to judge me? Exactly.) I would also be keen on a daily shoeshine. An extravagance at best, gluttony at it’s worst, but the dollar was strong back then and this small town, unchanged since the old-times, has shoe-shines costing me two bucks, and that was with a buck-fifty tip. So I indulged. And I met the most fascinating person I will ever meet in my life during those shines.

    It was during these shoe shines that a little boy with jet black hair (a long, messy tangled tussle) and dark olive skin would run up to me and ask me, “Senore’ would you like an expresso while you have your shoes shined? Only one American dime!” I would always gladly oblige and he would run off into the small crooked pathways, the maze that make up most small Italian towns, and he would disappear for a moment only to return with the most beautiful bone china expresso cups, trim painted in gold, and the most wonderful scent of fresh coffee emanating from the cup that I have ever enjoyed.

    So this is how I spent my time in Monte Cappuccino. Daily shopping. Daily shoe shines. And daily expresso that made my mouth melt in caffeinated aromatic delight.

    One day while getting a shoe shine, before he could scurry away and earn his dime, I stopped him and asked him is name. “Pepitto” he replied. I asked little Pepitto why he worked so hard? And complimented him on his work ethic and how proud his parents must be to have such a hard working boy. I which I could turn back time and not ask little Pepitto that questions and make those statements, because the only reaction I got from little Pepitto was a quivering lower lip, followed by round red eyes and he turned away from me as tears rolled down his cheeks. He ran into the distant and that day I didn’t get my coffee. I wan’t worried about the dime he still had in his pocket, I owed him much more now that I had somehow made a hole in his heart.

    Antonio was the gentle who tended to my shoes with black wax and white handkerchief, and he stopped shinning my shoes to look up and me. I knew I was about to learn the reason my questions and statements had made little Pepitto run off into the distance.

    “Senore'” he said, his own lips starting to shake now too! “Senore’, little Pepitto’s Mother passed away a year ago, but little Pepitto doesn’t know yet. He waits for her to return, and he earns a living selling coffee using his Mothers kitchen. No one in the village has the courage to tell little Pepitto that his mother is never coming back, so he works all day selling coffee and at night he waits in his bedroom, alone with candlelight, for Mother to return. But she never will. And his father died many years ago in a freak accident while drying the dishes.”

    Glad to be a professionally trained actor I cold hold back my tears, but my voice still quivered with sadness. “What happened to little Pepitto’s parents?”

    “He was washing all the cups that the family went through, as they earned their keep as a family selling coffee to the town. That is how little Pepitto knows how to work the machines in the kitchen. So, his Father was drying the dishes and a cup fell to the floor and smashed into little pieces. As the father bent over to sweep up the pieces, he slipped in the kitchen. The most minor of things! But he hit his head on the corner of a table and fell to the floor with a sick smack. He would never wake up. Pepitto’s mother, Anna, worked so hard to run the coffee business by herself. She would travel many miles to get the beans but she was not used to driving such a small car such far distances as the father would always do the long trip to pick up the beans while she tended to business and child back home. On one trip she bought too many beans and while driving the curvy hills, the car flipped over. The hills of Italy are not forgiving for such things, and she fell hundreds of meters. They are both in heaven now, waiting to be with their child one day.”

    I was frozen. I was hardly breathing. And I was crying.

    “How does such a small boy run such a business by himself?”

    “He knows the espresso machine from watching his mother. He is smart, little Pepitto.”

    “But how does he tend to the cleaning, especially when his father died drying the dishes!?! How does he even hold a dish towel without crying himself into a heart attach? I can barely breath now just thinking about it!”

    “Not a problem” he said. “We in town all chipped in and bought him a Sunpentown SD-1501 Warm-Air Dish Dryer. I think his mother and father will have to wait a long time in heaven before they get to hug their son, he’s got a lot of good to do down here for a while.”

  17. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Mario — Bravo! Again, bravo!

  18. posted by henave on

    I hear that story being told in the voice of John O’Hurley as J Peterman from Seinfeld.

  19. posted by Java Monster on

    I think about all the crap and bacteria that live in cotton dish towels (if they’re not cleaned right after use) and I’d much rather have the dishes dried this way. Yeah. I’d put the hundred bucks on the counter if I didn’t already have a dishwasher. Of course, my house has minimal counter space, so there is that. I could get rid of that awful rice cooker I bought, and the blender that doesn’t blend, and put it where those currently live.

  20. posted by Grant on

    I have to imagine that if you live in a place where this is a good idea, and it’s also a place where you have 100 USD in disposable income as well as a set of dishes, then you ALSO have another great idea, called an air conditioner, which does a marvelous job of removing moisture from the air. Or at the very least, a dehumidifier.

    I live in North Carolina, and have lived in Georgia, both places are humid as all get out but things seem to dry just fine inside. Not sure about this fungus, but I would imagine that if people live there they have managed for a long time without this thing.

  21. posted by momof3 on

    Bravo, maestro story teller~~

  22. posted by Marti on

    Ay, Mario . . . sniff.

  23. posted by Dawn F. on

    Long live Pepitto!

    I suddenly have the urge for a cup of coffee.

  24. posted by Tammy on

    I grew up in the humid swamp of Northwest Ohio and we dried all of dishes with a dish cloth. We never had a moldy dish or a moldy towel. I honestly don’t understand what the concern is …. it makes me wonder if these reports are sarcastic and I missed the joke. After you dry the dishes, you put the dish towel in the laundry and get a new one out next time. It’s really quite simple!

  25. posted by Finno on

    So do I have to apply my own bacteria to the dishes separately or does the machine do that for me to before providing a nice warm environment?

  26. posted by Lee on

    While in college many years ago, I learned that dish towels can contain and spread germs and that it is better to air dry dishes that have been rinsed in very hot water. When one of my boys had reoccuring ear infections, a friend told me that her pediatrician told her to throw away the dish towel. I’ve seen people throw dish towels over their shoulder and also use them to wipe spills. I’m all for air drying using a drying rack and something to catch the dripping water. I also use the “sanirinse” and “air dry” on the dishwasher. My 90 year old mother, however, cannot relax until she has dried the dishes. That’s OK for hers, but she still trys to dry mine. I’m glad I have her, even though we battle over how dishes should dry.

    If you have RevereWare, the copper bottoms will look acceptable by rinsing them last in cold water.

    It has been interesting to hear how others cope in conditions that I haven’t lived in. Thanks to those who enlightened us.

  27. posted by deb on

    Hmmm, while I don’t need or want one of these, it makes me think of another (quite popular) unitasker: a dishwasher. Especially since I have a Bosch that doesn’t even have a “dry” option. It is a true unitasker, like the dish dryer.

  28. posted by Kaz in Oz on

    Bravo again Mario.
    But can I use it to help me get hot things out of the oven?

  29. posted by sophie on

    bravo, Mario! aww, poor peppito…

    anyway, my mother-in-law, who lives in a tropical country, has one of these. in the tropics, despite how clean your house is, sometimes there are bugs that go around or sometimes, flying roaches (yes, they have wings and are huge) that could get into the house when the doors and windows are open. also bec it is so hot and humid where she lives, they try to keep the lighting dim so it doesn’t add to the heat (they have no central air, only some parts of the house have a/c) and we know what happens to dark and humid corners…bugs and spiders love those areas. so MIL’s dish dryer is actually a necessary unitasker since it keeps the bugs and critters away from the just-washed dishes.

  30. posted by Doug on

    I have to echo the comments of Michael and Sophie. I live in Taiwan and these are quite popular. Dish towels never dry here. These don’t just dry the dishes, they keep off dust and critters, and provide a storage place for the dishes.

    As for the comment about a/c, we only have a/c in some of the bedrooms, not the kitchen, and we never turn them on anyway. We’re comfortable with the heat.

  31. posted by [email protected] on

    Just how dry do clean dishes really have to be? If you are airdrying, you usually reuse most of them anyway.

    If you have a moisture problem in a dish cupboard due to humidity, surely a powdered moisture absorber is cheaper and more efficient?

    Or, for such extreme circumstances, drying with paper towels? Those are hygienic, store easily in a small handy roll, and won’t strain your wallet much either.

    If you’ve got that many flying bugs in your tropical paradise, having them walking on your dishes seems like only the beginning of the nightmare. Might I suggest screens?

  32. posted by Miriam on

    do dishes have to be dried? they dry on their own! it´s like a miracle, i wash up in the morning and when i come back from work, the dishes are dry. or i wash the up before i go to sleep and they are dry in the morning. that´s really…. wohooo :o)

  33. posted by Karen on

    Tammy, I grew up in Northwest Ohio also (while I remember it being humid in the summer, it was never humid in the winter–usually dry and frigid). I wasn’t suggesting people in those climates *need* one of these, there are other countries and regions where it’s a lot more humid than up in Ye Olde Black Swamp.

    I currently live in Southwest Ohio, and sometimes our dish towels just get gross, even after one use of drying a pot. I am constantly tossing them in the washer and bleaching them. So we use the dishwasher (hey! another unitasker!) and air dry other dishes when practical.

    If i lived in a very dry, dusty region (and not all these regions do have air conditioning, contrary to what another poster said), this would come in handy to keep the dust off my air-drying dishes, as well.

  34. posted by JustGail on

    Erin – remember when you were pondering ending the unitasker posts? THIS is why I love them. The comments that point out that in certain conditions they do fill a need. And comments giving other alternatives. And Mario’s stories. In this case, I had no clue that in parts of the world it’s too humid for dishes to dry, although I did wonder about dirt, bugs and cats wandering across them.

  35. posted by Lilliane on

    Another use I can think of is someone who is ill with a severely compromised immune system, such as battling cancer or HIV, who is being cared for at home or someone who is contagious with something. This would be a much more sterile an environment than a dish towel.

  36. posted by Lilliane on

    Adore Mario’s stories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. posted by Wendy on

    With dishes washed in very hot water they will air dry in a couple of minutes.

  38. posted by Jay on

    I must be missing something.

    If dishes and utensils are turned upright and pots turned upside down, gravity pulls the water down. Voila! Dried dishes, even in a humid climate.

  39. posted by Sarah on

    Even with AC (window units) it was regularly 87F in my kitchen this summer, and unbelievably humid. Dishes don’t dry, and a person can only go through so many tea towels in one day (especially the way my husband tries to cram every pot, plate, and spoon we own into one sink drainer.) I had to regularly re-wash ‘clean’ dishes that had started to smell moldy and awful. I ended up scrubbing everything with baking soda and extremely hot water to kill the smell, one piece at a time. Drying them with a towel, and turning the ceiling fan on high. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to afford to remodel the 1930s kitchen to make room for a dishwasher (Our cabinets are 18 inches deep, making room for one will require a major structural overhaul of two rooms. believe me, I’ve looked into every alternative.) So…yeah. About a month ago this would have looked pretty good to me.

  40. posted by Joseph Silva on

    I’ve lived in the tropics for months at a time where the humidity was always high. I can’t see this being useful for the equatorial zones as it would be pointless. Think about it for a moment.. the moisture would immediately go to areas of less moisture, hence those dry dishes would end up with the same level of humidity as before. If people are worried about fungus on sponges or dishclothes, they can use a microwave to zap em regardless of humidity. This thing I really doubt is used in any place other then cold climates where having a cold cup and then pouring in your hot coffee, tea or cocoa will leave you with a cold drink (because the cups are warmed while the drink is cooled via convection). So imagine you are freezing your butt off in Alaska and want something nice and warm…this might actually do the trick..as well as nuking them, pouring warm water in the cups first to take the chill out.

    The one thing that I was REALLY hoping for was that you told us it was Battery operated!

  41. posted by Mike on

    Dish towels are disgusting and unhygienic and letting dishes sit around on the counter top with water on them can be pretty iffy too. I don’t think this device is any more ridiculous than a dishwasher–another unitasker–and it’s smaller and cheaper.

  42. posted by islandgirl1 on

    @ those who think this is worthwhile in humid climates. I grew up in the Caribbean and no one had anything like that. Now live in a place where the summers are extremely humind. We either use a clean dishtowel or put in a regular dishrack to air dry. Never heard or saw a problem with fungus or lots of spotty dishes or long drying times.

  43. posted by Tony on

    TV dinners and plastic forks. No dishes. 🙂

  44. posted by Jay on

    What do people do with wet toothbrushes in those very humid climates that, apparently, justify this uni-tasker?

  45. posted by Rebecca on

    @Grant– I’ve lived both in Taiwan and in Georgia, and Taiwan is more humid. Also air conditioning is less common there.

  46. posted by mydivabydesign - The Diva's Home on

    Really? Doesn’t the dish drainer do the same thing without electricity?

  47. posted by Dave on

    I lived on my boat some this summer in South Carolina, 104F and 99%RH and the dishes still dried and the dish towels did not mold, how did that happen.

  48. posted by Kam on

    Apparently the Taiwanese don’t think these are “ridiculous”, and it seems pretty useful. The house I rent was built in the early 1900s so no dishwasher (and no A/C, I have a swamp cooler). I have to handwash everything. Usually what ends up happening is I wash half because the rack runs out of space and I have to wait for those items to dry before I wash the others. Not only that, but the hard water in my area leaves spots on my dishes. A quick heat will solve the spot problem and allow me to get to the second batch of dishes much faster. It’s one more step to keeping my house clean. It’s now on Amazon for $100, but I have seen it elsewhere for 69.99.

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