Under pressure

(We keep our dish soap on the counter, in a small pump bottle to meter out doses, and to use less counter space.)

So I go into the kitchen to catch up on some dishwashing, and find a small puddle of goo on the counter.  “Is the barometric pressure dropping?” I ask the family as I sponge it up, and proceed to do my washing-up.

“It’s supposed to snow on Sunday,” answers my son-in-law.

Well, that explains a lot. Firstly, the reason the soap has drooled onto the counter is because the barometric pressure outside the bottle is now lower than inside the bottle. (I filled and re-sealed it a couple days ago.) The fluid seeps out because fluids go from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.*

Out of typical insatiable curiosity (“More input!”), I then check out my local weather data site. This explains the second question. No wonder I have a headache; the barometric pressure has dropped about 15 millibars in the past day, from the general maxima down to the general minima.  Barometric pressure hoo-hahs are one of my headache/migraine triggers.

Sometimes I wish I lived on the space station, where the air pressure is kept constant.  (Besides, I could grow my veggies, herbs and flowers without all the dang pests.)

* AKA “Why do we have to learn this stuff?”  Well, now you know — no one squeezed dish soap onto the counter and left a mess; it happened because of natural forces.


  1. 9 December 2017 at 22:56

    On a side note regarding soap goo on the counter: it’s not just due to changes in barometric pressure. I would see it frequently and wondered what was going on. I finally figured out that since the soap dispenser was translucent, light could shine through it and warm up the soap contents inside, which caused the air inside to warm up and expand, increasing the internal pressure. There were times during the year when the sun would enter the window at the right angle and heat up the dispenser for 20 or 30 minutes, forcing goo out. I temporarily solved the problem by moving the dispenser to a location where the sun never did shine. I later solved it permanently with an absurdly simple technique: loosen the dispenser cap about ¼ turn so it no longer forms a tight seal. That way any pressure that might begin to form can just leak out.

  2. JohnL said,

    20 April 2012 at 0:37

    It’s interesting that I ran across your website today, as I’ve apparently had some form of CAPD for at least 20 years and am just now discovering that. After complaints from my wife to get my hearing tested (again), I saw an ENT today who suggested perhaps I had CAPD. When I started researching it on the web, I ran across your story on “Living With (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder”. As I read through the article I was dumbfounded to find that, at one time or another, I’ve experienced nearly every symptom you described, plus a couple of related ones: all my life, not exerting the effort to understand the lyrics in songs, just mainly enjoying the feel of the music itself; and quite often being in a bar or restaurant with friends/family and being unable to hear their conversation over the background noise, while simultaneously being able to understand every single word of some person speaking 6 or 8 tables away.

    But I digress… the reason I’m writing today is to share an absurdly simple solution to the soap puddle goo enigma. We have jars of liquid hand soap in different bathrooms, and what used to happen (it took me quite a while to figure this one out!) was that at certain times of the year, at certain times of day, the sun would come through the window at just the right angle and shine on the soap bottle. This would heat up the soap and air inside the soap container, causing the internal air pressure to rise and force a puddle of goo onto the counter. I tried putting things on the counter to block the sun from hitting the bottle, but that was kind of clumsy and inconvenient. When I finally had my “Duh!” moment, I realized I could simply loosen the screw tops of the soap bottles by a quarter-turn so the container no longer held air pressure.

  3. 5 February 2011 at 11:23

    Good morning(Itrust that it is)Andrea: How observant you are. Thank you. I have learned that my wandering gaze should make closer notes to household activities that one might take for granted. I recently met with a new Neorologist(I seem to be a ‘study’ of sorts as my eeg readings produce, as I was told..’brain wave pattern that we ususally only see in 7 year olds’. My fMRI shows a rather different architectural format(as do London taxi cab drivers), so that I am on a first name basis with a anumber of Neurologists who greet me..’so….you are Gordon.’

    In the beginning, aeons ago, I started keeping journals of WHATS that might trigger this ‘event.’ Everything did. Conclusion. Gordon…being Gordon was the cause. Existence brings on these forays into dimensions.

    I am quite interested in the term ‘insect psychologist.’ Would you mind elaborating on this for me…if it is not too much trouble, as I am fascinated by these Life forms. I hold two patents on inventions based on insect/arthropod functioning…so I owe them a debt of gratitude. GHD

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