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!