Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dishwasher Throw-Up

One day in our second little apartment I heard a weird gurgling noise coming from the kitchen. I ran in and found my dishwasher had thrown up all over my kitchen floor. This was the first run through with the new dishwasher detergent, but I had added the amount the instructions directed so I figured something was up with the machine. The apartment manager thought my description of the dishwasher throwing up was hilarious and called the maintenance guys in right away (I guess humor gets you good service?). After reassuring them multiple times that I didn't add more soap than needed (or the wrong soap) to the dishwasher, they pulled it apart to see what was up. Apparently the tenants before us tried to hold a Barbie sauna party in the dishwasher because they found a barbie arm and scalp lodged in the drain, and it had caught enough soap during previous runs that the new soap was able to react with it and produce the bubbly spew of dishwasher throw-up. 

Why do I tell you all this? Because it's still funny to me and to let Ellen know, "I feel your pain." How did Ellen's come about? Well let's start at the beginning. A very good place to start. When we read we begin with A-B-C, when we Pinterest we begin with "That's for me!" Ok, enough Sound of Music. We've all seen this pin, right? 

The Original Pin
http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/02/how-to-clean-your-dishwasher.html 
Cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar (and a later cycle of baking soda). I tried it once upon a time...made the surfaces pretty but it didn't make the machine quit spitting food chunks on the dishes (which I didn't figure it would as it's only really a surface cleaner, but it was worth a shot). 
http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/02/how-to-clean-your-dishwasher.html 

Ellen told us, "I'm not sure what happened - I think maybe my (admittedly crappy) dishwasher just hates vinegar, because when I tried the vinegar as Jet Dry trick a while back it caused a stain. Anyway, I tried cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar as instructed in this pin and when I happened to walk back into the kitchen about 15 minutes into the wash cycle, this is what I found. Oops."

The Pinstrosity

See, her dishwasher threw up too! But if you look on the bright side, mopping the floor was easy. 

Vinegar doesn't foam up like that by itself, so I have a few ideas as to what went wrong but having not been there and without getting into the dishwasher I can't be certain. So here are some theories, and they're worth everything you're paying for them. 

  • The original instructions say to run the vinegar through first, and then the baking soda. When I tried it I almost missed the line that says to run them through separately, but luckily I caught it in time. Vinegar and Baking Soda will react in foam, and if you run the two cycles through together you will get foam throw-up. That's is NOT what happened here, Ellen ran them through separately following the directions. I'm just saying it could happen. 
  • This may be a similar case to mine...not necessarily the Barbie arm and scalp, but if there was enough residual detergent in the dishwasher the vinegar could have reacted with it causing the spew. 
  • The only other thing I honestly can think of is that if you're like me you have bottles of cleaners...but sometimes it's a homemade cleaner in a vinegar jug, or a glass cleaner jug. I've forgotten that the jug does not have the original contents once or twice (my vinegar jug had dish soap in it once...just about had the most interesting chicken marinade ever). Don't worry, I very thoroughly wash containers out before I put other contents in them. Anyway, perhaps there was a cleaner in the vinegar jug and not vinegar? I know it's a slight chance...but hey, it could happen, right? 
Other than that, I honestly am stumped. There was something in the dishwasher that the vinegar reacted with, but all I can do at this point is guess. 

To make the original pin work, make sure to try and clean out any chunks from the drain (as the directions suggest) and to run the vinegar and baking soda cycles through separately. This isn't the best pin for getting chunks out of the dishwasher's system (we still had chunks of food being thrown up on our dishes...sometimes the dishes were dirtier coming out than they were going in), but it is a great pin for those of us who don't really want to get on our hands and knees and climb into the dishwasher to try and scrub it down by hand. We tried a number of specific dishwasher cleaners and we even tried taking the machine apart and had no luck until we tried the Lemon Shine Machine Cleaner. If you're having troubles, this stuff is awesome and comes at a great price. 

And don't forget to join The Pinstrosity Challenge!


                             

42 comments:

  1. Oh no! I use vinegar every day in my dishwasher and this has never happened...
    I'm betting they used vinegar and baking soda together... bummer!

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  2. Oh my! Thank you for sharing this, I have that pinned to try too. My dishwasher sounds like it's going to explode just normally, maybe I won't tempt it to also throw up by adding vinegar.

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  3. Hey, that's my kitchen! I definitely didn't mix the baking soda with the vinegar - I think it must have been residual soap in there. The foam didn't smell of soap at all, though - just vinegar. In retrospect, it's pretty funny.

    Ellen

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  4. I can vouch for the LemiShine products. They really make a difference in how my dishes come out. Of course, I had to get down on my hands and knees first and clean out the drain. Its amazingly gross what you find trapped in there. EWWWW!

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  5. I actually did this in the dishwasher in our new house before we moved in. Seemed to work out okay. Even if it didn't actually do anything it makes me feel like I washed off all the gunk from the previous owners.

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  6. I use about 1/4 cup of vinegar in my dishwasher every time I use it (sometimes more). It helps the dishes to not be spotty and to not build up hard water deposits. I don't have to buy those gels anymore either.

    Now, I haven't used it with baking soda though, and I don't think I will after reading this. :)

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  7. I tried this pin a few days ago. it worked perfectly well. (my apartment's dishwasher had horrible hard water stains) I didn't have white vinegar, so i used apple cider vinegar instead. i ran a rinse cycle with the vinegar (since the directions only say to use hot water) & then another rinse cycle with the baking soda. & voila! my dishwasher was clean both visually & smell!

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  8. I have actually used baking soda and vinegar to unclog ( and get rid of the bits of food) the dishwasher and didn't end up with a foamy mess. The key is you first make the baking soda into a pourable paste (this dilutes the soda, so to be speak). Pour it in to the drain and then add the baking soda. 3/4 cup soda paste, 1/2 cup vinegar. Let it sit 15 minutes. Then you will want about a kettle's worth of boiling hot water. Pour it in and drain the dishwasher, 1/3 at a time. Then run an empty cycle with no dishwasher detergent.

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  9. I use vinegar every wash cycle as a rinse aide to ward off those lovely spots and hard water stains. Never ever seen anything like that before. My mother has been using vinegar as a rinse aide since she got an electric dishwasher pry 40 years ago.... again nothing like this. I'm going to go out on a limb and say we don't have the whole story here.

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  10. That picture almost looks like a liquid dish soap in the dishwasher fail.

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  11. I used to have that EXACT dishwasher and it is the woooooooooooorst! I tried EVERYTHING to get it to clean my dishes and nothing worked. I think it might have been built on an Indian Burial ground and be possessed. Regularly, I would get sand and silt residue left on my dishes. Basically, no matter how many pins you try, it will not fix this dishwasher!

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  12. I would guess that maybe there was vinegar in the rinse dispenser. So when she was doing the baking soda wash, the rinse aid trickled in and caused the foam.

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  13. I haven't done this in my dishwasher but I have used baking soda and vinegar together in the washing machine and it does not bubble up like that because of the amount of water diluting it... so I am really doubting that even if they did accidentally mix the 2 it would foam like that. With the amount of water in a dishwasher being thrown all around, there would not be enough reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar... just a scientists thought.

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  14. Just an fyi on the food chunks and dishes coming out dirtier than going in; I had that problem as well in my apartment. I always rinsed my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and they were coming out with chunks of food on them. It turned out that whoever had the apartment before me apparently didn't rinse at ALL (like leaving chunks of food on their plates) and it got trapped inside the door of the dishwasher. If you open your dishwasher and take the panel off the door (where you put the detergent and such) you might find a similar situation.

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  15. My dishwasher wasn't performing as well as it did when new and food chunks were becoming a problem. I found out that the washer has a filter that needs to be cleaned about every six months. (It's a Kitchenaid) After some work with an allen wrench and a really gross gunking out, the washer again works like it did when new. If your washer has a filter, this might be the problem. Good luck! http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-clean-the-filter-in-a-dishwasher/

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  16. Worked well for me without that happening and it cleared up some staining too. We have hard water problems which vinegar works well for. I also sprinkled the bottom with baking soda.

    If you put any type of regular dish washing soap in, it will do that.

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  17. Dear Writer-
    Next time just put 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup Borax powder in the bottom of a load of dishes. Clean dishes, clean dishwasher, no odor, no mess. I promise :)

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  18. I do this all the time with the vinegar.. I have never had this happen.

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  19. Putting regular dish soap in the dishwasher will also have this result, as my dad found out one day when all of us girls were gone for the week!

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  20. Rolling in my own bubbles laughing! My first attempt at home made laundry soap produced what I describe as a 1950's pink poodle backing out of the pot! http://forwhatitsworth-jeannie.blogspot.com/2012/02/bucket-of-bubbles.html

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  21. I sometime put my dish sponges in the washer to sanitize them. and this happened. it is the left over dish soap.

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  22. I did this and it worked just fine. My dishwaster never 'threw up'.

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  23. From reading over the other posts on this site, no one seems to follow the directions the first time around. Seems to be the case here as well.

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    Replies
    1. Directions can often get skipped over, yes, but sometimes the pinner is trying to add their own creativity which is great! Everyone would have the same old stuff if we all just did exactly what the pin said and didn't deviate slightly.

      But...not following the directions is actually not the case here, as we mentioned in the post.

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  24. im gonna have to say that we used Vinegar when we did Carpet cleaning to reduce foam in the dirty water section. So I doubt that it was vinegar in the vinegar bottle.

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  25. I've done this pin before and my dishwasher didn't do this. IDK What she did wrong... It cleaned my dishwasher and left it sparkling white.

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  26. I tried this one too but the version I read had the vinegar and baking soda together -- my dishwasher threw up! It said it would take care a stopped up dishwasher - it didn't just made a mess.

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  27. I have to turn on my garbage disposal to clear it and the drain before I turn on the dishwasher or it would run all over the floor. Carol B.

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  28. After my kids had tried helping one day by putting the blue liquid they thought I used in the rinse aid hole (They used Dawn dish soap) and having to call the repair man, he used rubbing alochol to get rid of the bubbles. Filled to hole with it and sprayed it inside on bubbles. We kept doing that until there were no more bubbles. Later our dishwasher got clogged and started making a bunch of bubbles so we did it again and it worked great. --Susan F

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  29. Well, if there was a homemade cleaning solution in the vinegar bottle, better to have the dishwasher throw up than a person who ingested it! Please, please, when you're cleaning the bottles for reuse, peel off the paper labels (if present). Invest in a permanent marker with a broad tip so that you can write the name of the new contents on the bottle.

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  30. My dishwasher suddenly began "throwing up" after I added a new bottle of Jet Dry to the rinse aid compartment. Except I didn't a tally add Jet Dry. One repair call, and one "I'm such an idiot moment" later, it turns out I'd grabbed an identical-shaped bottle holding an identical-colored fluid...not Jet Dry. Dawn concentrated dish soap. Yeah - turns out that DOES produce suds, and quite a bit. Ever try to clean out a rinse-aid compartment? I couldn't do it either. As the dishwasher-repairman told me, "that's why I get the big bucks".

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  31. I have tried this multiple times!! And it does something, can't say it is spotless and perfect but it does freshen up the smell. But I have never had an issue, so obviously something wasn't done right or something was put in the dishwasher that someone didn't know about because that is a strange reaction...

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  32. The gunk that is stuck to your dishes is from stuff caught in the sprayer arms and drain. DH cleans ours out every so often and all sorts of nasty stuff gets in there. Pieces of plastic wrap, bread ties, chicken bones...you name it. Check your manual or look up on line how to take them apart. THEN run the vinegar through the cycle.
    Good luck!

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  33. Maybe the final rinse cycle after the vinegar didn't remove all of the residue and then it reacted in the baking soda cycle.

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  34. I never had a dishwasher growing up in my parents' house. I just got my own place about 6 months ago and I was thrilled to have a dishwasher! Then about a month ago, I can't remember now what it was I fixed for dinner, but it left the pot really dirty! I let it soak in warm water with Dawn in it then when I dumped the water out, I sprinkled just a couple drops of Dawn in the pan before putting it in the dishwasher thinking "that should help clean it right up!" Wrong!!! Apparently even a couple drops of Dawn will make your dishwasher throw up a lot of bubbles! I thought it was broke at first!

    Hollie

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  35. I did this. Had no issues.
    Try throughly rinsing your dishes in the sink before washing in the dish washer. Excatly what I do and I have NO issues with mine.

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  36. I heard using a small jar of Tang drink powder would clean stains. Tried it and it worked quite well. Also heard you can use a dry pack of lemon Kool-aid, but haven't tried it.

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  37. I only use vinegar and baking soda in my dishwasher and it just cleans them, never throws up lol. and I use quite a bit at times. I've only heard of liquid dish soap causing that kind of mess ^^^^. My upstairs neighbors did that and it flooded into my apartment. That was a crazy surprise to walk in to.

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  38. As far as the chunks are concerned, I taught my daughter at a early age to make sure there was NO FOOD left on the plate/pot/pan/ etc. Kids tend to just throw there plates in the dishwasher with food still on them, this is why you have the chunks of food being redeposited on your dishes. I get all the food off, then do a soak in bleach and hot water, rinse, and put in dishwasher. (I know, then you will say why not just wash them) I do this just to make sure that no food gets in the dishwasher, and to sanitize.

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  39. The only way to not have problems w/ chunks is to rinse the dishes before putting them in the DW. It seems counter-productive & you may have the most powerful dish washer in the world, but the drain can still only handle so much & if your plumbing gets messed up, you're screwed... especially if you have septic.

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  40. I see where she used the baking soda, and then vinegar. That is a really bad combination. There will be residual soda in there, and the dishwasher throws up. Try using these two a few cycles from each other, then now vomitus.

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