Tuesday, January 12, 2010

wfmw -- clean or dirty?

I cringe to tell you of the times (yes, more than once) that we would find ourselves half way through a bowl of cereal only to have someone walk into the kitchen and say, "You didn't take that bowl out of the dishwasher, did you?"


Nothing to ruin a quick snack like learning you were eating from a dirty bowl because you assumed the dishwasher was full of clean dishes, not dirty ones.

Enter the Clean -- Dirty sign.

Even our preschooler, although he can't yet read independently, knows whether the dishes are clean or dirty with this clever sign. The "Clean" even looks clean, and the "Dirty" is clearly dirty.

My husband printed this onto magnetic paper, but you could also use those magnetic business cards and relabel them or hot glue a magnet to the back of card stock or a homemade laminated sign. I'm sure you can figure out how to actually make a sign that works for you.

The word that is upright tells you what you will find behind the door. When my daughters (or another person graciously helping with their chores) finish loading the dishwasher and start the wash cycle, the sign gets flipped to "Clean." When the dishwasher is emptied and the refilling process begins with a few dirty dishes, the sign goes back to "Dirty."

Ahhh . . . no more unpleasant meal or snack interruptions due to surprise dirt.

This has definitely worked for us!


Michelle said...

This is great! We used to have a button like that on our dishwasher growing up. Now, if I could get one that says empty or full I would be happy! I can't tell you how many times it is full and never gets ran.

Treasia Stepp said...

I love this idea. It looks great. I have got to do this myself. It actually happened over the weekend. I had loaded the dishwasher, had not turned it on. Then later after eating supper when I went to finish loading more I noticed it was almost empty again. Whoops, I didn't tell the family. LOL. Shame on me.

5intow said...

Michelle, yes, that is still an issue in our house as well. :-) My girls are generally pretty good about it, but at least once a week we somehow end up with two loads of dirty dishes piled up. I am so thankful for my big helpers. If it was all still up to me that would happen daily!

Treasia, Glad to hear we weren't the only ones. We all survive those little mistakes without much ill effect. The signs are easy to make, so go for it!


Condo Blues said...

We do the same thing but with a specific magnet. It's not a clean/dirty magnet, it looks like a martini. If the martini is on the dishwasher door = dishes are clean. If it's on the refrigerator = dishes in the dishwasher are dirty.

REG said...

As our dog is able to make our dishes look clean, this is often a problem in our house as well. I hadn't heard of magnetic paper.

5intow said...

REG, What a helpful dog! ;-)

You can find magnetic paper at most office supply stores. It is a little pricey ($2 /sheet) so we use it sparingly. It sure does come in handy at times though.

Here's a link to one type out there:

Thanks for stopping in!

Taylor at Household Management 101 said...

What a great house cleaning tip. I have seen the signs that flip over before, but I don't like them because they can flip over on their own too easily. The magnet idea is very good.

3 for Me! said...

Sounds great and simple:) Might have to make our own with some of those business magnetics hanging out on the fridge.

Anonymous said...

I have long wanted such a magnet, I've seen them on other's DW but haven't been able to find one. Now I will see about making one for our family. Our DW does have a green light that comes on when it is done w/the cycle but if someone opens and the fully shuts it it goes off and everyone is asking if it is clean or not.

Thanks for your help =)

Elaine H

Jenny said...

Great idea. :D