Is a Sega Genesis dishwasher safe?

Is a Sega Genesis dishwasher safe? Of course not, but how about the case? A friend of mine was doing some storage space cleaning and found this forgotten gem. He offered it to me as a gift.

Congrats! You were just given a free old Genesis. Here is your gift..

That bad boy could be a great portal to a segment of video game history. TONS of great games came out during the 90’s for Sega. But in its current condition, this one looks like crap next to my other entertainment center components.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Every stylized groove on the case lid is covered in ancient finger spunk. And then there’s the switch…the fuck!?




I have washed Sega Genesis Model 1 systems before by hand using hot soapy water. The results are always disappointing. Soaking the components and scrubbing every nook and cranny can be really time consuming. The more time I spend cleaning my systems, means the less time I have to play my systems. So since I received this baby for free, I am going to use it as a test subject.

First, we need to disassemble the system, so that we can protect and clean the circuit board separately.

Remove the 6 screws on the back side. Then flip the system over to gently remove the top of the case.
Remove the 6 screws on the back side. Then flip the system over to gently remove the top of the case.
You will find the top of the case is tethered to the board by the LED wires.
Gently bend the LED cathode and anode prongs so that they are straight.
Slide the connector off the prongs and set the case top aside for now.

Next, we need to unscrew the circuit board from the bottom of the case.

Click the photos for a close up of screw placement




The board is sandwiched between 2 EMI(Electromagnetic interference) plates. These are supposed to prevent the Sega from interfering with other electrical devices. The EMI plates will occasionally have a little rusting, but can usually be simply wiped down to remove any debris or dust. Many people ask if the plates are necessary. It is really a matter of preference. If your goal is to keep your systems with stock components you absolutely want to re-install these plates, but if you are modding or tinkering, the system will operate just fine without them. Just know that nearby electrical components could, theoretically, have interference issues. And if you are not going to reinstall the plates, I always recommend holding onto them, putting them on ebay, or giving them to a collector. Remember, once a device is no longer in production it will one day become rare and by default valuable.

Once all of the corner screws are removed the board will still be anchored to the case with the 2 black screws that go through the cartridge connector.

Just remove the screws enough to release the board from the case. Set the board aside someplace safe.


After the board has been removed take special note of the little “M” clip.

This little clip seems to reinforce the case and help align the top with the bottom.
This little clip seems to reinforce the case and helps align the top with the bottom.
Wipe out any dust you can prior to placing the case in the dishwasher.
Be sure to remove the Sega CD adapter cover from the case bottom.


It is now time to disassemble the case lid.

Click the photos for close-up action


Looking for a quick and easy mod? Now is a great time to swap out that LED with whatever color fits your fancy. Pick a color that goes with the room you will be keeping the system in. Ladies love that kind of shit. Err..I mean, it will be bad ass.


I decided to take a gamble and use the bottom rack. I would like to push the limits on this first attempt, rather than be left wondering.



I had to use a spoon and a shot glass to weigh down the flappy door and LED cover. Yeah, I know the flappy door piece feels fragile, but this is an experiment. If it comes apart, that will be info to use for next time.

The dishwasher is a standard model. Kind of a crapper actually, but it gets the job done.

These are the settings I used to clean the model 1 on the bottom rack. I made sure to turn
These are the settings I used to clean the model 1 on the bottom rack. I made sure to turn “heat dry” off. Melting is undesirable.

I have some other plastic storage containers on the top shelf to clean at the same time. Might as well not run an empty load, but I would probably not use many food containers because, I don’t know about that gunk. Kind of nasty…

Superfluous gunk shot.

As I mentioned before, you can save yourself some time by cleaning up the circuit board as the washer runs. When the dishwasher is done running you can take the pieces out and hand dry them. Do not reassemble any part of the system while still drying. Take the time to get every last drip of water.

The Results:

Much better!
No more gunk.
Pretty good, but not quite finished.

As you can see, the dishwasher was a great success. I have never gotten such quality results by hand cleaning, even after a long soak. Obviously, they are left looking a bit dull. Fortunately, the solution is simple.


A little bit of Pledge goes a long way.

Just spray a little bit of pledge onto a dry paper towel and evenly rub down the system. Using too much can give a greasy feel, so start off light. Take as much time as you’d like on this step. It all depends on the final product you are trying to create.

Now that is system I would proudly display in my living room.
The polish worked wonders for the 20+ year old switches.
Bout time to get to playin’.

Now reassembly is basically the reverse process we went through above. Just a few things to note.

Don’t go Hulk on the screws. Just a light twist of the screw driver is important to maintain the integrity of the case mounting holes. It is easy to strip out holes on a dinosaur system like this. Just start them off softly and let the threads of the screw find their way into the threaded hole. And don’t forget to tighten down the 2 black cartridge connector screws. I would say those 2 screws are the most important. Also, when reconnecting the LED the longer prong (the anode) goes with the red wire. An LED will not work if connected backwards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s