Dishwasher versus roach
June 20, 2006 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Does a regular consumer dishwasher chew up food particles? Reason is that a live roach that was in there when the cycle was started is now missing, and I think I saw an insect bit.

Short story is it was already crawling over the dishes, so I decided to kill two birds by (A) rewashing and (B) drowning the roach to get it rather than take a chance of it escaping. I checked on the dishwasher a minute later and the roach was trying to swim, and another minute later there was no trace of it. The drain cycle hadn't kicked in. I removed the nozzle and top plate, and can see a very fine screen, but can't get below that as about 25 allen bolts hold the rest of the housing on.

Dishwasher is a $250 Whirlpool Gold, about 10 years old, no fancy features.
posted by rolypolyman to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I recommend throwing away all your dishes. Actually, just move to a different apartment and don't take the dishes with you; this way you don't have to touch them.
posted by evariste at 6:36 PM on June 20, 2006

Excellent -- I'm off to Home Depot to get some boxes.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:41 PM on June 20, 2006

IANA plumber, but my dishwasher drains straight into the disposall--it doesn't have the ability to grind anything up, but the drain line is pretty wide in diameter to allow larger food particles to pass through (or the occasional bug). I would rewash a couple more times just to be on the safe side. Besides, accidentally eating few insect parts won't hurt you--just ask the FDA.
posted by jtfowl0 at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2006

The heated dry cooked the roach. You'll be safe.
posted by smackfu at 6:51 PM on June 20, 2006

My dishwasher does chew up food particles with a built-in, mini-disposal, but our dishwasher is only two years old. I think that's a fancy-shmancy feature that won't be there on a 10 year old dishwasher.
posted by teece at 7:33 PM on June 20, 2006

He went down the drain. Whether he went down alive or dead depends on if he got down there before the super hot water started spraying all over the place. I vote alive -- they're pretty speedy.
posted by Mid at 7:40 PM on June 20, 2006

I've only had old dishwashers, and they've tended to have a "gunk trap" where really big crud collects and eventually needs to be scooped out into the trash. Do you have one of those? I've also found that having chunks of food stuck to my dishes is really common with older dishwashers, unless you get all the chunks off the dishes before you load them in.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:07 PM on June 20, 2006

my guess is that the roach liked the dishwasher because it provided him with all the little bits of food you wonder about ... my guess is also he wasn't the first roach to crawl over your dishes and he won't be the last

in short, you have a bigger problem here
posted by pyramid termite at 8:46 PM on June 20, 2006

In my dishwasher, which I coincidentally took apart last week, the water "impeller" module at the bottom has a sharp metal disk called a "thresher" or "slasher" or something violent like that. It spins and apparently quickly slices up anything in its path, presumably to then be washed down the drain.
posted by intermod at 8:54 PM on June 20, 2006

my guess is that the roach liked the dishwasher because it provided him with all the little bits of food you wonder about ... he wasn't the first roach to crawl over your dishes and he won't be the las short, you have a bigger problem here

Rats live in the sewers and if given a reason they will crawl up the pipes, pop out of places like the toilet, and invade your house.

You may have even bigger problems here that can't be ground up and flushed away.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:30 PM on June 20, 2006

You have a funny idea about what roaches are. Roaches are essentially a large egg-producing device with a carapace and some other stuff tacked on. They fall apart if they are shaken roughly, scattering eggs everywhere. The titanic forces of cleanliness inherent in your modern dishwashing technology - heat, detergent, steam, and agitation of water - have plastered tiny, submicroscopic bits of roach leg, roach egg, roach hair, roach head, and roach ommatidia permanently onto every surface of the dishware, flatware, glassware, and beerware in your dishwasher.

I might do that load again if I were you. Then again, I might scream in panic and cower in the corner. Who can say?
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:23 PM on June 20, 2006 [5 favorites]

bits of ommatidia? now the roach is watching you from here and there and here and there...
posted by Cranberry at 12:35 AM on June 21, 2006

MIT once did a study that basically said if you have a clean house you'll have clean roaches. Now yours is sparkling clean!
posted by Gungho at 6:36 AM on June 21, 2006

Sounds interesting. Do you have a cite?
posted by found missing at 7:09 AM on June 21, 2006

You're cool with insect bits all over your dishes!?!
posted by agregoli at 7:48 AM on June 21, 2006

Just the other day my mother made the mistake of hand-washing a fridge with dishwashing detergent. It wrecked her nails.
If you used the dishwashing solution, it likely dissolved the roach the way it dissolves cooked-on proteins, and it's clean enough to eat off of.
As for eating roach bits, I've had friends who worked in restaurants who dont eat out any more.
posted by dragonsi55 at 7:56 AM on June 21, 2006

now the roach is watching you from here and there and here and there...

Right now, someone somewhere is tinkering with Photoshop and grinning. The end result will be Ceiling Roach.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:28 AM on June 21, 2006

I have the solution. But you're going to need to gather a few household items together. Namely enriched uranium, a carefully milled plutonium pit and a whole bunch of cobalt and tritium. You'll also need some way to achieve orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by loquacious at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2006

The most common bug-borne pathogen is salmonella (aka Typhoid Fever). Dishwashers nuke it. End of story.

Nothing to worry about other than Albert Schwitzer's vengeful ghost for your premeditated insecticide. But Schwitzer is pretty cool with small incidents like this. On the other hand, look what happened to Tom Delay...

So stop worrying. The roach is history as a disease-carrier and what is left is clean enough. If you're still freaked out, run it again with half a cup of bleach. That will nuke everything up to and including anthrax and ebola.

*looks around for agropyron*
posted by warbaby at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2006

Cockroach questions make the best AskMe threads.
posted by Zozo at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2006

The roach escaped down the drain, where he recruited an army of fellow roaches. Mounted on sewer rats. They are marshalling now, just beneath the floorboards, thousands strong, preparing vengance.

Don't sleep.
posted by LarryC at 9:28 PM on June 21, 2006

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