You Should Never Wash Dishes During a Thunderstorm—Here’s Why

Consider a storm yet another reason to procrastinate on your dishes.
Consider a storm yet another reason to procrastinate on your dishes. / SVphotography/iStock via Getty Images

You may know to avoid taking a shower during a thunderstorm, but that's not the only indoor activity that leaves you vulnerable to electrical shock. Washing dirty dishes can be just as dangerous when there's thunder and lightning outside your home, according to Reader's Digest.

Stories of people getting injured while showering in electrical storms may sound like myths, but they're rooted in fact. When a lightning bolt leaves a cloud, it follows the fastest route to the ground. Because metal framing and piping make for good conductors, that path sometimes leads through a building.

It's possible for lightning to move through a home without harming the people inside, but it can also cause serious injury under the right circumstances. The water in a house's plumbing system often contains metallic impurities that are conductive. If lightning hits your home while you're doing the dishes, that charge can travel through the pipes, through the water, and ultimately through the sink you're in contact with. The same thing can happen with the water from your shower head.

The chances of lightning striking you in or out of your home are slim, at roughly 1 in 775,000. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions as soon as you hear thunder in your area. In addition to steering clear of the water that comes from your pipes, you should also avoid using any corded appliances for the duration of the storm. Your toaster, stand mixer, and landline are all potential conductors.

[h/t Reader's Digest]