Battling The Bubblepocalypse? Here's how to bring your dishwasher back from the brink.

Dishwashers are amongst the greatest of all everyday modern conveniences, and most people who own one are often hugely attached to never needing to do their own washing up. Like many such things, however, they're actually quite likely to suffer the occasional mishap - and the dreaded Bubblepocalypse has come to many dishwasher owners in their time.

How does the Bubblepocalpyse come about?

The Bubblepocalypse comes to you when too much soap has got into your dishwasher--which can occur in a variety of ways. Common harbingers of the Bubblepocalypse include:

  • A tired person (or well-meaning but misguided houseguest) loading up a laundry liquid tab instead of a dishwasher tab before running the machine
  • Using your dishwasher to rinse out old shampoo pots (or similar) for re-use, without first sufficiently rinsing them
  • Spilling rinse-aid while refilling the rinse-aid well and not wiping up the spillage before running the machine
  • Adding two dishwasher tabs rather than one in an attempt to deal with extremely dirty dishes

Basically--if it makes bubbles and it's not recommended by the manufacturer, it can bring the Bubblepocalypse to your kitchen.

So just what is the Bubblepocalypse?

Should this dreaded mishap befall you, your experience is likely to be something like this:

  • Quite shortly after beginning your dishwsher's cycle you'll hear a horrible noise you weren't expecting, followed by the sound of your dishwasher grinding to a halt.
  • When you go into your kitchen to investigate, you'll find the floor near the dishwasher flooded with tepid soapy water.
  • Upon opening the dishwasher door, you'll be greeted with a veritable wall of bubbles so thick it seems solid. They may begin churning out all over you and your floor.
  • Once you've recovered a little from the shock, you'll notice a horrible gurning noise coming periodically from the depths of the machine's inner workings.

If you'd like to avoid this eventuality it's extremely important that you only use specialised dishwasher-only tablets when you run your dishwasher. Substitutes are highly likely to cause the Bubblepocalypse, so play it safe! Give anything that has ever been soapy a thorough rinse before putting it in, and be careful when you refill your rinse-aid well.

Help! The Bubblepocalypse has come!

Should the worst have happened, you'll probably have more bubbles than you know what to do with. Spritz an aerosol (a deodorant or similar) around a little to deal with the worst of them, and clean up your kitchen floor as best you can. Once the seemingly solid wall of bubbles inside your dishwasher has been tamed, take everything out and just start tipping jugs of water in. The machine is probably making a periodic strange churning, groaning noise as it tries to clear the pipes out; just stand there for a while tipping in water, letting it drain out and tipping in more water.

Essentially what is happening is that the pipes are all filled up with bubbles and your poor defenceless dishwasher can't cope with it. The gurning sound is its own attempts to clear out those pipes and tipping in some extra water can help it along, but really you're going to need to wait for the bubbles to die off and subside on their own. This shouldn't take longer than 48 hours, and you'll be able to tell it's sorted out by the fact that the dishwasher agrees to play nicely again. Run it empty and with no tablet at all at least twice before putting it back into general service. You'll probably need to refill both the salt and the rinse-aid before washing dishes in it again; all that draining is likely to have finished them off!

The Bubblepocalypse can be scary, but it's generally possible to bring your dishwasher back from the brink. If, incidentally, you do all this and wait two days and still have no joy it's time to bring in the professionals--there may be something more serious going on. Most of the time, however, all you need to do is rinse and wait.