Hurricane

In a pinch, these appliances could keep your valuables safe during the storm

Storing valuables in your washing machine could be a viable option during a hurricane.
Storing valuables in your washing machine could be a viable option during a hurricane. cogle@miamiherald.com

Whether you ride out the storm in your home or evacuate, you’re sure to have valuables to safeguard against Hurricane Irma.

Here are two options you might not have thought of: the washer/dryer and the dishwasher.

These household appliances could theoretically house lighter, less bulky items like small picture frames, documents and sentimental keepsakes.

Your best bet is to wrap the items in plastic bags before placing them inside your dryer or dishwasher — though for some wine buffs we know, you’re probably OK with stacking a few precious bottles upright sans plastic in the washer.

Anna Kearns’ Facebook post touting “GOOD ADVICE! EMPTY YOUR DISHWASHER AND PUT ANYTHING YOU WANT TO PRESERVE IN THERE” has attracted more than 1 million shares.

Some sites, like CBS News, seem to back her as they also suggest using your dishwasher as a makeshift “safe.”

But first, turn off the water supply to the unit. “It’s sealed to keep water in, so it should do just fine keeping it out too,” CBS affiliate WTSP in Tampa reported.

Hurricane Irma remains dangerous. The storm is poised to bring hurricane conditions to the Florida Keys & South Florida Saturday night Hurricane warnings are in effect for southern Florida while hurricane watches are under effect into central Flor

But not everyone is sold on the dishwasher option. Even Snopes, a popular online debunker of urban legends, is on the case.

“It’s not a good idea to keep valuables in your dishwasher,” says Ralph Feldkamp, the owner of an appliance and air-conditioning repair shop in St. Petersburg. He told the Tampa Bay Times that dishwashers don’t keep water out in extreme situations.

Feldkamp also ominously noted that there’s the remote possibility that your dishwasher could turn on during the storm. You don’t want to “clean” your valuables unless, well, they’re dishware.

Barring all of that, you can also use your washing machine as a temporary cooler: Fill it up with ice and close the lid to keep food and drink items cool. When the ice melts, it will simply drain normally.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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