Dishwasher Safety

Publication Date: 
Tue, 11/08/2011
By: Alere Staff

You don’t typically walk by the dishwasher and see it as a potential safety hazard, but it is. You may first think of the water and electricity combination. For warfarin patients, the risk lies in what goes into the dishwasher.

As a patient on warfarin, you need to be cautious with anything capable of causing cuts or bruises. The dishwasher presents both of these risks.

Dishwashers normally have a basket for utensils. Many patients place utensils facing up for a more efficient cleaning and drying. Forks and knives facing up create a serious hazard for a dangerous cut or puncture wounds. Cuts from knives can be deep and require immediate medical attention. Puncture wounds are unique in that they often introduce bacteria that foster infections yet may not bleed as much as cuts and can be quite deep. Medical attention is also recommended for puncture wounds.

Placing forks and knives with the blades and tines down can help prevent injuries.

Dishwasher doors are frequently left open when they are being loaded following a meal. You need to be cautious of walking into the open door and bruising your shin. It is difficult to evaluate the severity of a bruise by sight. Bruises are internal bleeding, so you do not see the blood as easily as with a cut or scrape, but they are as serious as cuts that bleed. To avoid bruising, place all products in the dishwasher at once and close the door between loading.

While these recommendations sound over simplified, they can save you from a painful and potentially serious injury.

As a patient on warfarin, you are at increased risk for prolonged bleeding from simple cuts or bruises. You should perform your own first-aid measures when cuts, bruises or punctures occur. Providing a dressing and keeping constant pressure on the injury site is suggested. You should not remove the dressing to look to see if the bleeding has stopped as this may remove the forming clot. Report any injuries to your physician.