The Biggest Unsolved Mystery in the History of Kitchen Appliances

We’re living in a world where anything is possible. I can talk to my light bulbs. My plants water themselves. There’s an electric car floating out in space somewhere right at this very moment. The sky’s the lim— ok the sky isn’t even the limit anymore.

Mind-blowing technological breakthroughs are happening across every industry every day, proving that anything we can dream up is possible. So why am I still opening the dishwasher to check if the dishes are dirty or clean like some kind of pilgrim.

When you really want popcorn but you can’t miss one second of “The Tick,” your show will follow you into the kitchen for snacks.

(Image credit: Samsung)

It’s not like the kitchen appliance industry is struggling to keep up. There are toaster ovens that can “see” what you put inside of them and toast everything to perfection. There are refrigerators with internet-connected touch screens mounted on the front, where you can access cooking videos, digital shopping lists and the entire library of every film, show or song that has ever been created. Some connected refrigerators even have cameras built-in on the inside so you can literally see inside of your fridge and freezer from anywhere on your phone, for when you need to check and see if the OJ is low while you’re at the store.

Yet our best option for indicating whether or not the dishwasher has run is buying some $2 plastic magnet that we have to manually rotate like barbarians.

This is the future that kitchen appliance manufacturers want.

(Image credit: Amazon)

The highest-rated result on Amazon for “dishwasher dirty clean sign” is this $14 slider magnet, which looks nice enough, and seems easy to use. The product description promises to “Keep your family from yelling, ‘Is this clean?'” and “Alleviate the worry of your loved ones using a germy dish or cup.” It seems like a life-changer for the people who use it.

“It’s hard to believe how neat it is to have the sign on our dishwasher. I have tried to be of help to my wife and two times I have started to empty the dishwasher when I thought the dishes were clean to find out half way through putting up the dishes they weren’t washed yet. Had to wash more than needed because I didn’t remember what was clean and what was dirty. With your small sliding sign I now know when it’s ok to empty. Great addition to help in the kitchen. So glad you provided this product. Highly recommended that if you have a dishwasher you buy one of their sliding signs. Worth every penny that it costs.”

But the question still remains: If I can use my smartphone to set my oven and watch the entire Star Wars franchise from the comfort of my refrigerator door, why hasn’t any manufacturer ever thought to add an LCD screen to the front of a dishwasher to signify if the dishwasher has been run?

The logistics are easy to handle. When the dishwasher has finished a cycle, the screen says “clean,” and it says “clean” until the user pushes a button to switch the sign to dirty — like right after they unload the dishwasher. Then the screen says “dirty” until the dishwasher is run again. Hell, it could say “running” while it’s running, which seems obvious and unnecessary but, like most product features that seem obvious and unnecessary to the able, is probably of some advantage to people with disabilities.

(Dishwasher people: Please call me, I have lots of ideas and some of them are good.)

Until these appliance manufacturers get on their game, the best solution I have found is this $18 AUTOMATIC Clean & Dirty Dishwasher Indicator (caps pulled directly from the product listing because this company, unlike every appliance manufacturer ever, actually understands how important this feature is). It attaches inside the dishwasher, where the blue “clean” status thing is automatically activated each time the dishwasher is run thanks to the laws of floatation physics. When you unload the dishwasher, you push the status thing back down. Like a neanderthal, but a neanderthal who never accidentally drinks from dirty glasses.

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