We’re all lazy sometimes, (okay, most of the time) and many of us will try to find the easiest way to do something when we can. Disc golfers are no exception to this and many of us have stared at our piles of dirty disc golf discs and wondered if it’s okay to just throw them in the dishwasher.
I’d like to take a moment to answer this question for you and explore some of the better alternatives.
So, are disc golf discs dishwasher safe? No, disc golf discs are not dishwasher safe. The heat of the water can warp the disc and change the way it flies. The heat may also change the way the plastic feels in your hand, and if your discs are really dirty, the dirt could damage your dishwasher.
So dishwashers are out, but don’t worry. Here are a few methods I like to use when cleaning my disc golf discs.
How to Clean your disc golf discs
Method 1: Deep Clean
- Fill your sink (or bucket) with warm (not steaming hot) water
- Drop in a decent amount of Dawn dish soap
- Grab a disc and dunk it in the water
- Scrub liberally
The most effective way to clean your discs is with some old fashioned elbow grease. Fill your sink (or a 5 gallon bucket) with some warm water and soap. I’ve found that Dawn works the best. Grab a scrub brush or sponge with an abrasive pad, and start scrubbing.
You don’t want to use really hot water here. Keep it warm, but not scalding hot. The super hot water could warp your discs. Also when you place them out to dry, don’t let them sit in the sun. If it’s a hot day, the extended heat from the sun could also warp your disc.
Once dry, you can go a step further and sand down any nicks or dents along the edges of your discs with some fine grit sand paper. I’ve found that 120 grit works well here. Removing the burs along the edge will bring a little bit of life back into an old disc and help it fly correctly again.
Method 2: Convenience – The Shower Method
A really easy way to get your discs clean is to take them in the shower with you. Bring your scrub brush and give them a quick scrub until they’re clean, then drop them on a towel just outside of the shower to dry.
This is a great way to clean your discs without making it an all afternoon project. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this method:
Keep the heat down. If you’re one of those people that likes to take piping hot showers, you may want to skip this method. The heat, as said above, can warp your discs.
Also, if your discs are really dirty, like caked in mud with small rocks and sticks attached, don’t take them in the shower. All that debris going down the drain is bad news for your pipes and can easily lead to a clogged drain, which could mean hundreds of dollars in plumber bills.
If your discs are that dirty, skip down to Method 3.
Method 3: Quick and Easy
The quick and easy method is to hose them off. Take your discs out to your driveway or a grassy area and hose them down. Often times you won’t really need soap or a scrub brush. If you don’t have a nozzle for your hose, putting your thumb over the end is a great way to add pressure to make the water spit out faster.
Of course, this method won’t get your discs sparkling clean like the first method, but if you’re not worried about super clean, brand new looking discs, this is the fastest way to get the dirt off your discs.
Why should I keep my discs clean?
Dirty discs are harder to throw. Dirt messes with your grip and we all know (or should know at this point) how important a solid grip is when it comes to throwing a disc golf disc.
You need a firm grip and you definitely don’t want a disc flying out of your hand at the wrong moment simply because it was dirty.
Dirt and mud on your disc also weigh it down. That little extra weight adds up over a few hundred feet and could cost you some yardage. Or worse, mud could throw off the balance of your disc, which could ruin the flight path.
Predictability is important when throwing a disc. You need to plan your shot. A clean disc is part of that equation.
How often should I clean my disc golf discs?
This is a great question. I give my discs a wipe down on the course as I play to keep the dirt and mud off. This is effective and helps keep your discs nice as you play the game, but it doesn’t get everything.
You shouldn’t have to really deeply clean your discs very often. I’d say once a month or so if you’re an avid player. Maybe every six months if you play casually.
Of course, if you’ve just played in the rain, mud or in the morning when everything is still covered in dew, you’ll want to hose your discs off when you get home.
Keep em clean as you play
The best practice is to keep your discs clean as you play. Bring a hand towel or terry cloth with you and store it in your bag. You won’t need to wipe off your disc after every throw, but it’s nice to have if you throw your disc in some dirt or mud, or if you’re playing early in the morning when everything is wet.
It’s also a good idea to keep some hand sanitizer with you to get the grime off your hands, or in the worst case scenario: your disc lands in dog waste. It doesn’t happen often, but if/when it does, you don’t want that all over your hands. Here‘s the one I use.
What if I throw them in the dishwasher anyway?
Bad things happen. Or well, could happen. Even a little dirt can cause big problems for your dishwasher. Dirt, mud, or even small twigs which cling to your discs are bad news for dishwashers.
Really dirty discs could clog up your filter or spray arms (which are a pain to clean out). If this happens, your dishwasher won’t clean your dishes effectively. You’ll know if this has happened because there will be bits of food still stuck to your dishes after your dishwasher if finished it’s cycle.
In the worst case scenario, repeatedly washing your dirty discs in the dishwasher could cause severe damage to the dishwasher. I just wouldn’t do it. It’s not worth the risk of breaking your dishwasher when it just takes a little extra time to wash them by hand.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line here is simple. Clean discs fly better. I recommend keeping your disc golf discs reasonably clean as you play and if they get super dirty, try one of the methods above to give them a wash. Your score will thank you for it.