Not For Use In Dishwashers

It was still two days until payday, and my wallet was empty, so it was scrambled eggs and pancakes for supper. There’s something about eating breakfast food at supper time that incites a little bit of giddiness and lightens the mood. Kids especially love it.They are thrilled by the idea of mom breaking the rules. It turns their little world upside down and kids love going upside down. It’s almost like being on vacation. Almost. I too loved it as a child, and now, as a single parent, with a more mature view on things like money, groceries and stretching a dollar, I was still enamored with eating pancakes at night time – but mainly for the joy it brought my bright-eyed, tow-headed spitfire of a daughter.

After supper and bath time and brushing our teeth and story time and snuggles, it was lights out for my four year old. I was looking forward to vegging out in front of the TV and watching my new favorite show, Northern Exposure. I had a mad crush on John Corbett who played Chris Stevens, the town’s ex-con, philosophical  DJ in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska. I also had a connection with Alaska due to my own skirmish with the law, and there was something about watching that show that helped me begin to come to terms with some demons in my not-so-distant past.

Before bath time I had loaded the dishwasher and desperately needed to run it but was out of Cascade. While I was out of dishwasher detergent, I still had a few drops of Joy dish liquid left, and although it clearly stated on the back of the bottle, “Not For Use in Dishwashers”, I silently reasoned that there could be little harm in using a few drops just this once. Detergent is detergent, right?

The dishwasher had been running for about 45 minutes, and fresh-faced and in my own jammies, I made my way back to the front of the apartment where the kitchen, dining and living rooms were situated. Not much could have prepared me for the MOUNTAIN OF SUDS that greeted me!

For several minutes I was in shock and stood at the entrance to the kitchen speechless, both hands covering my mouth in disbelief – my mind whirring full speed wondering how in the world I was going to clean it up. There were tiny bubbles four feet deep, filling the entire kitchen, which was roughly six by twelve feet. When I gathered my wits, I knew that I had to share this outrageous spectacle with another human being. The only one around was my preschooler who was probably already asleep, but this spectacle trumped bedtime, so I woke her up, excitedly saying, “Look, come see!”

I carried her, bleary-eyed and groggy, into the kitchen. She was only slightly amused by the bubble-filled room, and after just a moment was ready to be put back into bed. I told her, “This is why we don’t use dish liquid in the dishwasher. Now we know!” She mumbled in agreement and laid her head on my shoulder.  Once again, I tucked the covers up close to her chin and kissed her goodnight, and I’m pretty sure she was back asleep before I left the room. Then I set about the task of making a gazillion bubbles disappear.

Chris In The Morning was left to wax poetic on the topic of the day without me in the viewing audience that night. It took the rest of the evening for me to clean up the mess I had created. I started by turning on the water and began scooping handfuls of bubbles into the sink. I soon switched to scooping with a large plastic bowl. I would scoop a sinkful of bubbles, then douse them with the hand-held sprayer until the sink was empty – and then do it again. And again. And again. And again.

Two hours later, at my bedtime, the kitchen was back to normal – even better than normal. I had put some of those offending bubbles to good use and scrubbed the fronts of the cabinets, the appliances, and the floor. I had also rinsed, dried and put away all the dishes from inside the dishwasher. Everything sparkled and shined with lemon freshness, and there was no lasting evidence of my lack in judgement from earlier in the evening. I learned a very valuable lesson that night.

There are worse things in life than dirty dishes. 

12 thoughts on “Not For Use In Dishwashers

  1. I know exactly what your kitchen looked like, Vanessa. My daughter did the same thing once. At first I thought there was something wrong with the dishwasher. Don’t you think the sight of all those suds would make a great advertisement for the liquid dish soap?

    I agree about breakfast for supper. It feels strangely rebellious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every time I tell this story, I suspect that people who haven’t made this mistake think I’m exaggerating at the shear volume of bubbles! I know I’m not the only one, and there’s some comfort in that 🙂

      Strangely rebellious should be my motto!


    1. By the way, at the moment I am making pancakes for dinner….. as the result of reading your post! I’m making them using mashed up winter squash from the garden as part of the ingredients!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They were good, although I burned them a bit when I decided to write you while they were cooking… I will definitely do it that way again!


      1. I imagine sometime it is intentional (i.e. when we are out of dishwasher detergent) and sometime it is without thinking since we are used to cleaning dishes with the dish washing liquid. I may actually have done both in the past, once intentionally and once unconsciously. I don’t remember for sure. 🙂


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