Dishwasher Leaking | Suds On Floor

Photo of dishwasher flooding floor with suds.

Has this happened to you? You walk into your kitchen and discover that there are suds and water all over the kitchen floor. As panic starts to set in because you have a wood kitchen floor, you ask yourself how could this be possible. Then you look over at the dishwasher and you see suds coming out of the bottom of it. Soap or detergent suds coming out of the bottom of a dishwasher, quick call the repairman! Hold on not so quick, back away from the phone, you can fix this.

Well as it turns out flooding dishwashers, or I should say a dishwasher that is flooding water and soap detergent on the floor is very common. If you have a water softener, or if you live in an area with very soft water, you are more likely to have and over sudsing dishwasher.

In my 30+ years experience working on appliances, almost always when I have seen this problem it was caused by a simple mistake. And that is the person loading the dishwasher grabbed the wrong bottle of detergent. Thinking they were grabbing the liquid dishwasher detergent they actually grab the type of dish detergent used to wash dishes in the sink. The problem also happens when someone pre-washes dishes and neglects to get all of the dish detergent off of a plate or pan for example, and then loads it into the dishwasher. It's a lethal combination because this type of detergent is highly sudsing and dishwashers have an aggressive wash action that tends to create suds almost instantly when the wrong detergent is in the water.

The good news is that regardless of how the wrong dish detergent got in the dishwasher there is a simple solution. And by the way, simply operating the dishwasher in an effort to get the suds out won't solve the problem.

If you have a dishwasher that is over sudsing and spilling onto the floor, turn the dishwasher off immediately and get some fabric softener. Measure out about a quarter of a cup of fabric softener and pour it in the bottom of the dishwasher on top of the suds. Now close the dishwasher and turn it back on. Believe it or not the softener will kill the suds instantly.

If you don't have liquid fabric softener available but you do have the fabric softener sheets that you put into the dryer, they will work also. All you need to do is take a tall glass and fill it up with warm water. Take two fabric softener sheets and put them into the warm water and move them around to remove the fabric softener from the sheets. When you believe you have most of the fabric softener out of the sheets, simply pour the solution into the dishwasher on top of the suds. And like magic, no more suds in your dishwasher or on the floor.

For the record I do not recommend using liquid detergent in a dishwasher or a washing machine. Just like using a liquid detergent in the washer creates a buildup behind the scenes and causes a washing machine to smell, liquid detergent in a dishwasher tends to build up also. To see the article on washing machine smells, click here