Dishwasher Users Beware: Check Twice Before Putting Soap in Your Machine

Editor’s note: This is part of our ongoing series, Laughter Is Often the Best Medicine. The contributors to this series hope their vignettes provide a chuckle, an "aha moment," or dispel myths about visual impairment for all readers.

Am I in the Middle of a "Soap" Opera?

Empish mopping the floor in front of her dishwasher after it overflowed with bubbles

I have used a dishwasher for many years. I can load and set up the machine in my sleep. I simply rinse off my dishes and silverware, placing them in the various compartments. Next, I add the dishwashing detergent to the dispenser, closing it carefully. Lastly, I set the dial to the appropriate setting that I have properly marked and labeled for a person with vision loss. So, one day, when my machine was making a strange sound and emitting soap bubbles, I was at a loss. What in the world was going on? Why was my machine sounding so off? Oh my gosh! Why were there tons of soap bubbles all over my kitchen floor?

I quickly stopped the machine and slowly opened the door. Peering inside, I was not sure what to expect. There was an army of soap bubbles all over the inside of the machine. On the dishes. . . on the shelves. . . on the walls. . . on the inside of the door. The bubbles were everywhere. I had to stand there and chuckle at the mess I had made!

I closed the door and touched the floor feeling the watery, soapy mess. The suds and soap bubbles had reached across the kitchen all the way to my refrigerator. Now what an even bigger mess! What to do?

My "Aha" Moment

I sat down on my sofa to think. Replaying the steps in my mind, I realized my mistake. I accidentally picked up the wrong container. Under the sink, I have different shaped containers for soap and detergent. My detergent container is tall and has a handle, while my soap container is also tall but has no handle. In my haste, I grabbed the wrong one not paying attention. Nonetheless, I knew that I needed to immediately address the soapy chaos on the floor to prevent a nasty fall. But I was not sure about the disaster in my dishwasher. Then I had an "aha" moment! When you don’t know what to do—Google it! So, I search for "what to do when you use dishwashing soap in the dishwasher?" In the first top 10 search results, I found a match. The search result was titled, "How to remove dishwashing soap from a dishwasher." I clicked on the Wikihow link and read over the instructions. Thank goodness for the Internet, right! And I must not be the only one making this mistake!

After getting some towels to clean up the water on the floor, I started to tackle the dishwasher. I removed all the dishes, put them in the sink, and wiped down the inside of the dishwasher to eliminate all the suds. I also took a measuring cup to remove the excess water in the base of the dishwasher. Next, I poured a cup or two of salt and several handfuls of ice cubes into the dishwasher. According to the instructions, the salt and ice cubes help break down the suds by acting as an anti-foaming agent. I ran the dishwasher so that the remaining soap would work its way through the machine. I ran it a couple of times until there were no more suds. While the dishwasher was running, I mopped the floor to clean up the slippery soap ensuring that I would prevent a fall.

Triumph over the Dishwasher

dashwasher with mop bucket with mop and dishwashing detergent and dish washer detergent

The last step I did was to place all of the dishes back in the dishwasher. I double checked that I was using dishwasher detergent this time and ran the machine. My dishwasher sounded like its old self, but I was exhausted! Who knew all the work it would take to wash some dirty dishes? Perhaps, I should go back to the old-fashioned way and do them by hand?

Has anyone had a similar experience? How have you coped? Share your story in the comments below.

Check out our Housecleaning Tips and our Sensible Solutions message board for quick, common sense hints for carrying out daily tasks as an individual who is blind or visually impaired. Also, read through the Essential Skills section for more information about living independently at home with vision loss.