Dishwashers and divorce: stacking the odds in your favour

You know it’s the media ‘silly season’ when a story about the link between dishwashers and divorce appears in The Sunday Times. According to the article, the role of dishwashers in causing marital disputes is recognised by major dishwasher manufacturers: “It comes up time and again in our discussions. It’s definitely something we focus on in terms of general useability,” says Zoe Carter of manufacturers Miele.



stack dishwasher diagramIn a scenario many couples will instantly recognise, heated disputes often start over the correct way to load dishes into the dishwasher. One partner will stack the dishes incorrectly, according to the other partner, who will promptly rearrange them, causing the original stacking partner to go off in a humph to the sofa or go back to mother.


Dishwasher etiquette

In a survey by Betta Living, over 31% of women quoted “dishwater etiquette” as the single biggest cause of marital arguments. Manufacturers Bosch surveyed US dishwasher users and discovered other key argument-inducers included:

  • Whether cutlery should go in handle down or handle up
  • Where to put plastic containers

and the biggest dispute of all,

  • To pre-rinse or not? (Manufacturers say not, apparently.)


But seriously…

This seemingly trivial article does have a serious message behind it; it’s often the little day-to-day niggles that break marital bonds, not life-changing events or upheavals. As experienced family lawyers specialising in collaborative law, we regularly meet couples at loggerheads over seemingly minor issues that have created major divisions between them.

We never underestimate the factors that lead to couples wanting to divorce, and we appreciate that for many, these issues may be one problem too many. Our aim is always to ensure the best outcome from divorce for our clients and their children, and if the process all ‘kicks off’ over a row about stacking dishes, we will understand.


Ways to prevent dishes leading to divorce

The Sunday Times helpfully provided a dishwasher etiquette graphic to guide couples through the correct way to position plates and pans. Manufacturer Bosch, however, took it one step further, with an online dishwasher loading game, so clean dishes fans could hone their skills in a virtual dishwasher.

Sadly, the game has now disappeared from the Bosch website, but the debates will no doubt continue so long as there is washing up to be done and a great film about to start on TV…