Let little kids “help” with cooking by placing the mixing bowl on the open dishwasher door

Chrissy’s smart “kids in the kitchen” hack:

Stumbled across this idea by accident this week when my four year-old wanted to help with the cooking. She’s kind of a wild stirrer and flour has a tendency to end up all over so I was feeling resistant to having her help. The dishwasher happened to be open and I got the idea to just set to bowl on top of the open dishwasher door. It was just the right height for her to help add ingredients and stir, and the pile of flour and sugar that usually ends up on the counter ended up on the dishwasher instead, making clean up as easy as closing the door :) It was definitely one of those “how did it take me so long to think of this?!” sort of moments.

Don’t you love those moments? After you stop slapping your forehead?

Another time the dishwasher door comes in handy: when kids want to practice pouring their own drinks.

Related: Parenthackers share their favorite kids’ cookbooks


  1. says

    i don’t think i would do this. leaning on or putting weight on the door of the dishwasher is going to put strain on the hinges. it will eventually screw up your dishwasher.

  2. says

    I too don’t like this idea because if the child is to open the Dishwasher “chemical” area and there is any “undisolved detergent” this could prove quite fatal as Dishwashing powder and children don’t go together so I definately wouldn’t be doing this either :(

  3. Twitterator says

    We have no problem with young children helping in the kitchen. Learning not to make a mess, to keep things clean (including hands and clothes), understanding dangers of sharp and hot objects, and understand why hygiene is important while preparing food is lesson number one. Children who make a mess are simply not yet ready for the kitchen and should play somewhere else. The kitchen is not a playground.

    We have a large box where children can stand on safely. It’s also handy for washing hands.

  4. says

    Nothing wrong with the dishwasher. If you’re concerned about the hygiene of a clean dishwasher door, you should be concerned about the clean dishes that come out of it. If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning all the detergent out of the cup, you are either loading it wrong or it’s time for a repair or a new dishwasher. And if there’s detergent residue on the door, simply don’t allow your child to lick the spilled flour off the door and wash their hands when they are done.

    Anyway, this is a fabulous idea that I will have to try this weekend. My parents used it for us when we were young to teach us how to pour milk on our cereal. Put the clean bowl of cereal on the clean door (or dirty door – who cares) and pour on the milk. we did this until we were old enough to do it neatly. My daughter is also learning to do it now and I think she’s probably one of the few 2 year olds who can take an almost full gallon of milk and get it into the bowl with very little spilling. She’s also learning to pour milk and juice into cups on the dishwasher though the smaller target is still a challenge.

  5. says

    I think this is sheer genius! When my daughter was younger, she climbed up onto the door of the dishwasher–and it was able to withstand the strain of her body, so I think it can handle a bowl of eggs. Of course, my dishwasher is ancient, so my motives may not be pure…

  6. Julie says

    only use the dishwasher door of an undercounter dishwasher. Even a young child could put enough force on end of the open door to tip a freestanding dishwasher onto him or herself.

  7. Katie says

    The dishwasher also makes a great “table” for little ones to do play doh. Teach them to pull up a stool, be gentle with the door, and enjoy not having all of the little dry bits around your kitchen table!

  8. Brian says

    Great idea! Some of you parents are soooo overprotective. Jeez. Chill out. It’s the same place that your clean dishes come from. If you are worried about the door breaking, place a block under it. I’d hate to be your kids.

  9. fiona says

    I wouldn’t encourage a kid to use a dishwasher door as a table. I moved into a house with a dishwasher that leaked and ultimately after an expensive and unsuccessful fix had to be replaced. The repairman told me the hinges were bent. When I asked how that could have happened he told me kids did it all the time using the door to play.

    I would worry that I was encouraging them to use the door as a table (or a step-stool) when I wasn’t around. (You do laundry change a diaper or go to the bathroom. A kid can do a lot of damage to themselves or others in that time.) I don’t like to encourage kids to see appliances they can’t use safely as a toy.

    My kids stood at a kitchen table or knealt on chairs to help me cook when they were pre-schoolers. I did a lot of bread baking and my daughter even had a set of mini loaf pans she used to make her own bread with me.

    We didn’t have enough chairs (no dishwasher then either) so I used a folding step stool as a booster seat. (The folding kind that has only two steps and a seat back at the top.) It was very stable had a seat back and was the perfect height for her feet and seat. She could sit on that and was at the perfect height to do things at the table.

  10. says

    That’s a great idea! Here’s another way to exploit your dishwasher’s self-cleaning ability :) – if you ever use a spray bottle of oil while baking to coat muffin tins, dough rising bowls, etc – hold it over the dishwasher while spraying – that way you don’t get the oil mist all over and it goes through the wash.(Obviously don’t do this when it’s loaded with clean dishes!) Brilliant or what? I forget who told me that one, but I’ve been doing it for years.

  11. Rebecca H says

    I want my son to be able to experience things in the kitchen so we bought The Kitchen Helper. So worth the money!