The first dishwasher was invented in 1892. Weary of servants chipping and breaking her dishes, Josephine Cochrane rigged a copper pot with stiff brushes and a motor. It worked so well that she showed it at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair — and won first prize! Today, most homes have a dishwasher. Unlike other appliances, the less you use it the more likely it is to break down. Water that remains in the bottom of your dishwasher is there for a reason; it keeps seals moist, to prevent leaks and protect the motor. When not used for long periods, the water evaporates, seals dry out and leaks and motor problems become likely. To prevent this, before a dishwasher sits unused for more than two or three weeks, pour in a half cup of liquid bleach (this prevents bacterial buildup). Then add 3 tablespoons of mineral oil. These coat the surface of the water and prevent evaporation — even over long periods of time. With a dishwasher, it’s “use it or lose it” — or protect it.