This is just to say I overwashed the dishes

Apparently, using a dishwasher is not like riding a bicycle. Sometimes you just forget how things work. A co-worker who shall remain nameless called me the other day to relate a domestic disaster: she just moved into a new apartment and, after a 10-year dishwasher hiatus, was happy to have the miracle appliance again. Having managed to live only in dishwasher-less apartments, I was jealous.

Anyway, she relates that after filling the dishwasher with any old soap (read: not soap specifically designed for dishwashers), she went away to work on a poem at the computer, an epic poem perhaps, because by the time she went back to the kitchen, a foot of bubbly suds was covering the floor. I felt her pain. I’ve suffered from the “just a little more soap in the laundry will make my clothes extra-clean” fallacy, but that only results in soapy sweaters. I wasn’t sure what you do when you over-soap the dishwasher.

Treating it like a grease fire, she smothered it with a blanket.

She cleaned up the suds and made it to work but left an appliance full of super sudsed-up plates and pans. “What should I do?” she asked.

“I’d run the rinse cycle,” I said, considering that that trick works when it comes to laundry.

“Right,” she said. “I’ll try it.”

The rinse cycle, however, resulted in another overflow (really, I’m not good with the domestic advice but I tried to fake it), so she did the next logical thing: she brought the dish rack to the shower and rinsed off the plates in their own little spa ritual. Oh, poets. They’re a funny bunch. She’ll probably write a poem about it, but I put forth this one in the vein of William Carlos Williams’s poem “This is Just to Say” about plums:

I have oversudsed

the dishes

that were in

the dishwasher

and which

you were probably


for dinner.

Forgive me

they were soapy

so soapy

and so clean.


2 thoughts on “This is just to say I overwashed the dishes

  1. That’s not true–it wasn’t just “any old soap.” It was soap that I specifically bought to wash my dishes in the dishwasher because it claimed to be earth-friendly. But it wasn’t “dishwasher soap,” and it wasn’t Hogg-friendly!

  2. Well, we should assume that soap is soap, but it’s not that simple–of course. I have different “soaps” in my bath and house-at-large, and I know that they do different things that I can’t always understand. I put the dish stuff in the dishwasher once and had a problem. Go figure.

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