I've done this a couple times. Most recently and only documented here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/a-275-el-doh-rah-no
As someone else mentioned, that machine was so far gone and I was at such a loss for what to do or how to proceed, I said "eff it what have I got to lose" and gave it a shot.
It worked wonders!
I recommend a soft spraydown with Purple Power before spraying the water. YOU WILL BE SHOCKED AND ASTOUNDED at how much nasty brown nicotine (or worse) grime and regular coil dust just pours right out of places you couldn't reach or dare scrub aggressively, with almost no effort at all.
I was especially pleasantly surprised with how well it restored the color to the fabric wires: all that grime in the fabric literally just rinsed and evaporated right out, they looked almost new afterward!
So as for the question "Does it hurt to do this?"... Well the proof is in the pudding: there is NO WAY I was going to touch or adjust every one of those disgusting nasty switches and mechs individually to clean them; I may as well just burned the machine like others suggested. But I sprayed it outside on a warm sunny day and left it out to dry... while blasting compressed air in all the switch & relay banks to flush water and bubbles out of crevices and crannies and springs and such... places that would be likely to swell or oxidize if left exposed or wet too long. A few days later, I tested it and it worked! And TWO YEARS later, I finally got the machine 100% done and playing with no apparent long-term ill effects from the soapy bath.
The key to using water is to dry it out quickly! Think of a car: water exposure is inevitable, but rust only forms if it's constantly wet or not allowed to dry sufficiently (such as in those crevices and crannies beneath where rust always forms naturally because you can't easily dry, yet you'd be shocked how much bare metal is otherwise exposed and clean in a car). So, if you wash your parts and then dry them promptly and thoroughly - again, use outdoors in full sun, and/or compressed air to blast water out of crevices and such - you shouldn't have much to worry about. Plus, if the game was in such poor shape that "washing it outside" was even a consideration in the first place, you almost can't make it worse