Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
8 of 8 added 103 characters in body; edited title

Cleaning computer cables In the dishwasher

A large quantity of assorted computer cables came into my possession. The collection includes almost every type of computer-related cable (video, USB, Ethernet, printer, audio and speaker, SATA, power, etc.). I'm focused here on just passive cables, nothing with active electronics or things like power bricks. They became dirty in storage and need to be cleaned.

Most of us have probably heard about washing a keyboard in the dishwasher, and now I am wondering if the same method can be applied to dirty cables. My assumption is that because the older PS2 keyboards used in these dishwashing experiments have their own cables attached, what could be the difference?

Some of the possible concerns I can envision with using a dishwasher to clean them:

  • Cable construction could be different from a keyboard cable and the materials and fastenings might not hold up to dishwasher cleaning.
  • Dishwasher water temperature might be too hot for the materials used in some kinds of cables.
  • Immersing some kinds of cables in water might be bad for them, so some might be cleanable in a dishwasher and some not.

My assumption is that if all kinds of cables cannot be safely cleaned in this way, cables fall into just a few broad categories that drive what would be dishwasher-safe.


  1. Dishwashability

    What characteristics (for example, type of construction or type of use), would differentiate computer-related cables that should not be cleaned in a dishwasher, and why?

  2. Scope of risk

    If a computer cable is put through the dishwasher and is adversely affected in a way that isn't externally visible (so it would be used rather than discarded), would it be only the cable that was affected? Or, is there any kind of computer cable where the kinds of adverse effects that could come from cleaning in a dishwasher could damage the equipment it's plugged into?