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How to Remove a Built-in Dishwasher

Easy DIY Guide To Remove or Install Dishwasher

Knowing how to remove a built-in dishwasher is a simple DIY job for most homeowners. And If your dishwasher has reached the end of its life, it’s a good idea to know how to remove a dishwasher ahead and be ready to replace it sooner rather than later – or after it dies 🙂

Built-in dishwashers are a convenient and almost necessary addition to any home kitchen, but, like all major appliances dishwashers have a limited lifespan – usually 8-10 years maximum – and will need to be replaced eventually.

When Should You Replace a Dishwasher?

There are many signs that it may be time for a new dishwasher. If it is simply a matter of not draining properly, that can be as simple as clearing the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher.

However, If your dishwasher cuts itself off in mid-cycle or isn’t heating water properly, it’s more than likely time for a replacement. Many times, the cost of hiring a plumber to repair a dishwasher door, circuit board, or heating element can cost more than simply replacing the dishwasher.

(8) Signs – It’s Time To Replace Your Dishwasher:

  • The dishwasher is Old – 8 years and older and it is probably not an efficient dishwasher
  • Dishes are Not Hot after a dishwashing cycle
  • The dishwasher doesn’t drain completely (and the bottom drain is clear)
  • The dishwasher door doesn’t latch properly
  • Dishwasher shows signs of Rust
  • Dishwasher leaks water (and water and drain line is secure)
  • The dishwasher has cracks on the interior cabinet
  • Dishes are always spotty

Yes, If you’re a very handy DIY’er, some of these issues can be fixed yourself.

However, as a rule of thumb, If your current dishwasher is more than 8 years old and it’s showing some of the problems we describe above, it’s probably time to replace it with a new dishwasher.

Here Are the 10 Steps on How to take out a Dishwasher – quickly, safely, and without creating a huge mess!


How to Remove Built-in Dishwasher – 10 Simple Steps


Step 1:  Clean Out Sink Cabinet 

The first step in how to change out your dishwasher is to expose the water shut-off valve, remove the contents from the cabinet underneath your sink. This will give you clear access to remove the old dishwasher drain line, and inspect the existing plumbing connections for any kinks, or existing leaks.

Step 2:  Shut off Power to the Dishwasher

Before you do anything else, shut off the electrical power to the dishwasher. Locate your electrical breaker panel and turn off the power for the dishwasher electrical circuit.  This is also why we recommend this job as a “daytime” job where you will have plenty of daylight.

Tip:  If your electrical circuits are not marked at the breaker panel, turn the dishwasher on to the “dry cycle”, to illuminate the power on the dishwasher, then have someone tell you when you have tripped the connecting circuit “off”.

Step 3:  Shut Off Water To The Dishwasher

The water supply shut-off valve for most dishwashers is typically located in the cabinet underneath the sink (see image below), and it is located in line with your dishwasher. Turn off the water supply to the dishwasher, by turning the shut-off valve clockwise until it is fully closed.

dishwasher shut off | Best Home Gear
Dishwasher Shut-off Valve


Step 4:  Disconnect Wiring To Dishwasher

Modern dishwashers have a short “removable panel” located on the bottom front of the dishwasher.  This front panel is typically held in place with clips or 2 small screws.

Removing dishwasher kickplate | Best Home Gear
Removing Dishwasher Kickplate


Once you have the front panel removed, use a flashlight and locate the electrical wiring harness, which is usually located near the front of the dishwasher.   Test black and white wires with a voltage meter to ensure the power is off.

Remove the dishwasher electrical box/cover containing the wires, but first, test the black and white wires with a voltage meter to ensure the power is off.  Then remove the wired connections one at a time, starting with the ground wire (green) then the white (neutral), then black (hot) wire.


dishwasher wiring harness | Best Home Gear
Image courtesy of handymanhowto.com


Note: Before removing any wires, it’s a good idea to use a handheld voltage tester to check and make sure the circuit is off, even if you’re sure you flipped the right breaker in the first step.

Hardwired Connections – On rare occasions, you may find that the wiring harness and electrical box are hardwired to Romex (flexible electrical cable) and plugged into the wall behind the dishwasher, or hardwired to an electrical junction box. If this is the case, and after you have removed the waterline (see step 6), slowly pull the dishwasher out away from the wall, to expose then remove the hardwired plug from the wall or the hardwires from the junction box.

Step 6:  Disconnect the Water Line

Next, you’ll want to remove the water supply line. On most dishwashers, the water line is accessed when removing the bottom panel on the front of the unit. Before proceeding, be sure to place a pan or towel handy under to catch any water that may come out when it is disconnected.

Make sure the water supply valve is turned off under the sink.  Loosen the nut that holds the line in place, then allow it to drain into a shallow pan or towel.

Disconnect water line from dishwasher | Best Home Gear
Disconnecting Dishwasher Water Line

Step 7:  Disconnect “Drain” Line

Remove any standing water inside the old dishwasher.  Next, remove the old dishwasher drain line by accessing its connection underneath your sink.

The flexible drain line will either be connected to your garbage disposal (seen below), or to your PVC sink drain pipe (if you don’t have a garbage disposal).

dishwasher drain line | Best Home Gear
Dishwasher Drain Line (Grey Line)

Step 8:  Pull the Dishwasher Out

To remove the old dishwasher, remove the 2 screws from the clips that hold your dishwasher in place. (These two clips are located underneath the countertop).

Carefully lift the 2 front leveling legs onto an old towel to protect your flooring, and slowly slide the dishwasher out.

Keep in mind that the drain line is still connected  – make sure you pull the dishwasher out slowly and that the drain line is free from the sink cabinet.

Step 9:  Remove and Dispose of Your Old Dishwasher

Now that the electrical hookups, water supply, and drain lines have been disconnected, you should be able to gently slide the dishwasher completely out of the space it occupied, again use a towel to keep it from scratching up your kitchen floor.

Allow any remaining water from the lines to drain into buckets, then remove the dishwasher aside, to take to a recycling center that accepts appliances, or in some cases, the new appliance delivery includes hauling away the old dishwasher.

Step 10:  Clean Up the Area

No matter how careful you are, removing a built-in dishwasher will result in at least some minor water spills. After the dishwasher is out of the way, give the area a thorough going over with a clean, dry towel to remove any water from the floor or under the counters.

This is a great time to double-check for any plumbing leaks. Since the space under the old dishwasher will not have been cleaned in many years, you should also mop and clean it before installing your new dishwasher.

Congratulations – Now you know how to replace and install a Dishwasher – And you just saved somewhere between $125 – $200 in plumbing bills!

If You need a Visual Refresher Before you Remove or Install a Dishwasher – Check out this quick video:  “How to remove and install a Dishwasher”


Hey, Now that you have your dishwasher removal instructions, you can check out our article on how easy it is to Repaint Kitchen Cabinets!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Install A Dishwasher?

To install a dishwasher, simply “Reverse” the process we have outlined above for removing a dishwasher, and you will have the steps in place to install a new dishwasher.

How Long Should a Dishwasher Last

Dishwashers are fairly long-lived appliances, with many units hitting the 10-year mark in good working order. As a general rule, you can expect a dishwasher to work properly for a minimum of at least 7 years before it needs to be replaced.

Is it Worth it to Repair a Dishwasher?

If your dishwasher has stopped working, you may have wondered about getting it repaired instead of replacing it altogether. While we’re all for repairing things when it makes sense, the cost of dishwasher repair is usually almost as much as you would spend on a new unit.

At the end of the day, it makes more sense to remove your built-in dishwasher and replace it with a new built-in model.

How Do You Remove an Old Dishwasher?

While the process is discussed in more depth above, the basic steps on how to take out a dishwasher are as follows:

  • Shut off water and power
  • Disconnect electrical hookups at the junction box
  • Remove the water supply line
  • Remove the drain line
  • Pull the dishwasher out

As soon as these steps are finished, you should be able to fully remove your old dishwasher, dispose of it and replace it with a new one.

Should I Buy A Built-in Dishwasher or Portable Dishwasher?

Once you remove your old dishwasher, it’s time to start thinking about what you should replace it with. Although another built-in model is certainly an option, many people choose to replace their old dishwashers with freestanding models that can be moved more easily and don’t require permanent water or electrical hookups.

While the right choice for your home will depend on your exact tastes and needs, a freestanding dishwasher is more convenient to install, however, a built-in dishwasher will realize a much greater return for your investment when you sell your home.


Some homeowners choose to replace working dishwashers to give their kitchens a more updated appearance, or to match other newer appliances they now own. Even if an older unit is still working ok, its appearance may date your kitchen and make it feel less modern.

Many kitchen renovations also include updating cabinets, countertops, along with all new appliances.  When this is the case, most homeowners have no trouble removing the refrigerator, or stove, but are quite unsure how to remove or install a new dishwasher.

Now that you know how to remove a built-in dishwasher, you’ll be able to remove and replace your old dishwasher with a new dishwasher.

As a final reminder, always be sure to check the water and power to the dishwasher is shut off, before you begin removing it.

If either one remains on, you run the risk of damage to your home and injury to yourself as you remove or install a new dishwasher.

Thanks for Visiting BestHomeGear.com and don’t forget to leave us a message or any suggestions below!

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