Dish soap instead of dishwasher detergent created a water damage emergency!

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Water damage from a dish washer

Childhood sure is a steeping learning curve, huh?

Looking back at mine it seems like a fuzzy haze of mistakes. Some funny. Some not so funny. And the one I’m about to tell you here…. we laugh about it now, but at the time…well, let’s say it took my parents a few of weeks to recover from this water damage emergency.

I was always a curious young kid. My parents would only give me pocket money when I did my chores so I grew up looking to clean the leaves in the back-yard, bring out the garbage-bags and anything else that I could do to pay for my Pokémon stickers (hey, don’t judge me, everyone my age was buying them!!!)

Anyways, I was about 7, and I’d just found the next love of my life: video games! I got a Super Nintendo after a few months.

My parents started to complain because it became harder to get my undivided attention and suddenly cleaning the backyard didn’t hold the same appeal.  A few different times I got busted lying about my homework not being finished before I started playing video games, then my dad made a rule.  I only got to play when all the chores are completed, and all assignments are done.

I was not a happy camper!

On this fateful day, my parents were out at a business dinner and a sitter was looking after me.  I’d already done my homework (honest!) and wanted to fly through my chores as too so I could jump back onto “Mario Kart”.

I put the dishes that we used that morning into the dishwasher and reached into the kitchen cabinet for the dishwasher soap.  I grabbed the first bottle of dish liquid that touched my hand and poured it into the dispenser. Closed the dishwasher and hit start.  I felt pretty good about myself, in fact.

To be honest, even if I had seen it was dish soap, I probably still would put it in anyway.  “It’s for the dishes, isn’t it?”

But, no. No, it was not…

While the dishwasher started its cycle, I went into my room to check if my game partner was online.  I was just gonna take a glance at the screen and come back to the kitchen but I think I spent more than a few minutes because when I came back the kitchen was a like something out of a cartoon. I had never seen suds that high.  I’ve never seen them since. It was crazy!

The kitchen floor was in a sudsy mess, there was water everywhere. The dishwasher was bubbling over and had overflowed. Nan was too busy watching “Golden Girls” to pass any remarks as I ran to gather towels, a mop and bounty.

I started cleaning frantically.  I could still salvage this and save myself a scolding.

I turned off the dishwasher to stop the bubbles and started mopping to get the water off the floor. So much was soaking into the mop that even the bucket I was wringing the mop into was getting full!

I think the sitter heard me shuffle around because she shouted to me from the living room what I was doing. I told her I was finishing up my chores and I’d be out in a bit.

I managed to soak up all the suds and water from the floor, dried it and cleaned some parts of the kitchen wall where the bubbling got to.

Then I took out the dishes and rinsed them in the kitchen sink.

When I finished, I raced up to my room and never mentioned the incident to anyone else much less my parents.

It was the perfect crime. Well, a victimless one, at least.

Fast forward to a month later, the kitchen started smelling like a small family of mice had died in it (I’m not quite sure where that image came from…)

I had actually forgotten my incident with the dishwasher. My dad tried to figure out what caused the smell but he was stumped.  We looked in the kitchen cabinets, under the sink, and just could not figure it out.

After a little while my parents stated to freak out over this horrendous stench that was getting stronger over the next few days.  Finally my dad decided he needed to call someone.  Thinking something died in our kitchen he called a dead animal removal company.  When they arrived, we learned, this smell was not from an animal, it was caused by mold. The next call was to a mold company to report a water damage emergency.   Once the mold removal company arrived it became clear this is not a simple fix.  Cabinets had to be removed, the dishwasher taken out and we were told to stay out of the house, because some molds are toxic.

BELOW: In a water damage emergency, the water damage often turns into a much greater damage situation once mold starts to grow.  Considering the situation in this article, if the soapy water was removed and also removed from under the cabinets then mold would not have started to grow.  However, since the flood water was not entirely removed mold growth started.  Check out this article on How mold Grows.    In this article you will learn that mold spores are always present.  However, once they become moist, mold growth starts in as little as 24 to 48 hours.  Removing mold damage, requires sealing off certain parts of a home as a way of keeping the mold contained.   In addition, there are health issues involved with mold growth,  Read: Is mold making your sick?

Mold remediation taking place in a Mold Damaged home.
This picture was taken inside a mold damaged kitchen. Removing mold required two parts, the removal of the visible mold and the second part the mold remediation which involves the removal of the mold spores which are not visible but are in the air.

In addition the insurance company was called because everyone knew this would be an expensive service.  While our homeowner’s policy should cover the cost of repairs, my parents didn’t even know how the problem started.

When asked if there was an incident with the dishwasher or a water spillage, my parents were confused and explained that there was none.

When the mold company left, I told my parents the truth and how I tried covering the whole incident up by mopping the floor dry.  Then, It all spilled out, more potential water damage forms the tears, and I shed as I told my parents.   My parents were disappointed that I kept the whole incident from them somehow I managed to avoid being grounded for life.

Anyway, the mold company started the remediation process the next day and the repair was finished within a couple of days. Like it never happened.

So, oh yeah here was one lesson: don’t put dish soap in the dishwasher kids. The bubbles are a lot more fun in the cartoons!

If you smell something, say something.   

Mold damage could result in a wide range of serious, home damage and health issues.  This story ended with a complete restoration of a kitchen, however as a South Florida mold removal company we have seen much worse.  Mold is a living organism that grows by eating the sugars in wood and paper based materials.  Over time mold growth will turn your kitchen into a toxic mess of rotten wood, with nasty smells.   By the way, yes I said toxic.  As mold grows, the mold releases seeds known at spores.  These lightweight spores get picked up by the air and land in other places to start a new area of mold growth.  Here in South Florida the climate is often damp, especially in the summer months.  This combination of moisture, heat, and stagnate air create the perfect environment for mold to grow.  Once a surface becomes wet or damp, the mold growth will start in as little as 24-48 hours.    Like I stated earlier, mold spores are also toxic.  Just how toxic depends on the type of mold.  Sometimes there is only a slight smell, eventually the home occupants just become ill and they have no idea why. Often, in these cases the mold is found only after the person visits the doctor, and hospital.  Check out this article on toxic mold.

Once mold starts to grow in a hidden spot the result is a mold emergency

At Get Dry, Inc. we are South Florida mold and water damage experts.  Many of the emergency calls we receive are the result of broken plumbing pipes, air conditioning leaks, roof leaks, and broken appliances that have leaked water.  If you are in South Florida and have a water damage or mold emergency call us at 561-777-2618.  We are based in Boynton Beach and have helped home and business property owners in all these cities.  West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Wellington, Stuart, Port St. Lucie and other areas of Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Martin County.  If you are facing a water damage emergency call us for quick, reliable help before water damage also becomes mold damage.