Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Dishwasher Suds Mystery

I have had a dishwasher in my home since the second year I moved here.  My husband at the time decided that not having one wasn't worth the time spent doing dishes.

I have had no problems with any of the three machines I have owned..  That is, not until the past few weeks.  And as it turns out, it is not the fault of my machine at all.

I spent a considerable amount of time online looking for answers to why I had suds in the bottom of my machine.  Now, let me say, that I almost always turn it off at the end of the rinse cycle and let the dishes air dry.  That is when I always noticed the suds in the bottom of the machine.  So, I would then run a rinse cycle again, and presto, suds were gone.  If I forgot to stop the machine and let the dishes go trough the drying cycle, the suds disappeared on their own and I never would have seen them but for my interrupting the cycle.

I know there are not supposed to be suds.  Many posts online said that was left over suds from placing sponges in the dishwasher for cleaning.  But, come on, thee was no way a sponge from weeks ago could still be leaving suds.

There was no clogged drain line.  And the suds were not so bad that they were coming out of the machine.

I tried rinsing with added vinegar and using salt to disperse the bubbles.  I was using a lot of water and time.  I could have washed the dishes faster by hand.

So last night I did a search for dishwasher detergent problems and found several people complaining about the brand I bought recently.  Cascade Complete Pacs with Dawn.

So, I devised a little experiment.

Here is the pac in an empty but very clean jar (hand washed and dried).

Here is the jar after hot tap water has been added and the detergent has dissolved (for the most part) but the liquid in the pac is still encased.

And here is the pac after being broken and shaken up to release the liquid.

See the suds?  They only get worse in the dishwasher.  And then they sit on the bottom.  I have actually seen bubbles clinging to glassware when I have ended the cycle after the last rinse.  Yuck.

I will be taking the rest of these miserable excuses for cleaning back to the store and looking for a different brand.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Meanwhile, having put my chemistry lab education to good use, I am off to try to figure out how to make sure all the bubbles are out of the system.


  1. I haven't had a dishwasher since we moved into this apartment. I miss it, but mostly there are only two of us so I am told it's not worth it anyway. Someone offered to give us one and plumb it in for us, sadly it wouldn't fit in the kitchen. Matt is anti a portable, so dishes are washed by hand.

    1. When I do my big family dinners it seems to run non-stop.

  2. The last time I had a dishwasher is back in the 80's when my mom had one:) It is only the 2 of us so I don't see the reason but when you have a large family, it does come in handy. Too bad you can't try just 1 from each and see what happens. I also think they don;t make dishwashers like they used to (saw a Marketplace episode on this)

  3. Well, I'm still typing with my dishwashers. So I'm no help at all.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  4. I haven't had use of a dishwasher for 7 years! I miss it so much, the convenience, but now that I'm feeling more water conscience, I think I'll stick with hand-drying them once we move back to Canada. :) Glad you got to the bottom of it!


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