Don't bet on your dishwasher saving your valuables during a storm

Dishwasher
Jenny McGrath / Digital Trends

With hurricane season underway, those in the path of the storms are seeking ways to keep their valuable safe. Could a dishwasher be the answer? 

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, a new “hurricane” hack surged (no pun intended) on social media: Using your dishwasher to protect your valuables from potential flooding. 

One Facebook user posted the advice on September 6, claiming that dishwashers are waterproof and secure, ultimately saving your valuables from the ravages of monster hurricanes like Harvey.

“Florida Peeps! Good advice! Empty your dishwasher and put anything you want to preserve in there!” he wrote. “It’s waterproof and secured to cabinets so it’s more likely to survive a storm. TELL YOUR FRIENDS.”

The concept gained steam and many were soon placing their items in a dishwasher; even CBS News picked up the tip and named the move one of seven “hurricane hacks.” Pictures emerged of people putting important documents, family photos, and bottles of wine inside their dishwashers in preparation for Hurricane Irma. CBS and the Miami Herald told people to store items in plastic bags and place them in your dishwasher. Turning off the water supply to the unit adds further insurance.

However, plumbing experts soon disparaged the idea. 

Ralph Feldkamp, owner of Ralph’s Appliance and Air Conditioning Repair in St. Petersburg, Florida, said that putting valuables in a dishwasher is a bad idea, as the appliance could flood along with your home once a storm hits.

“If your dishwasher gets ripped, then your valuables are going to be floating around the neighborhood,” he told Snopes, which debunked the idea in a recent post.

Additionally, Kim Freedman, a representative for GE Appliances, told Business Insider that “appliances are not waterproof, nor would we endorse such a tip.”

New Orleans-based newspaper The Times-Picayune addressed the subject during Hurricane Katrina. A reporter tested out the idea by placing dishes inside her dishwasher that she wanted to save during the storm. The result? The dishes and glasses did not break, but mud and water got inside the dishwasher. Even some of items she put in Ziploc bags were wet, while others were dry.

Experts say that your best bet is to scan important documents and put them on an external hard drive. As for that heirloom china? Probably best to take it with you if you really want it to survive.