How to Remove a Built-in Dishwasher

How To Remove a Built-In Dishwasher and Step-By-Step DIY Instructions

Knowing How to Remove a Built-in Dishwasher is a relatively simple task for most DIY homeowners. Either way, If your dishwasher is nearing the end of its life, it’s a good time to know how to remove a dishwasher – That way, when it starts to fail or quits altogether, you’re ready to replace it.

You might be asking, can I replace a dishwasher myself?  Following the basic steps (below), you can replace your dishwasher in about 1 hour.

Built-in dishwashers are a convenient and almost necessary addition to any home kitchen. However, 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 Dishwasher?

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

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

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

  • The dishwasher is Old – 8 years and older and probably inefficient.
  • 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
  • The dishwasher shows signs of Rust
  • The dishwasher leaks water (and the water and drain line are secure)
  • The dishwasher has cracks on the interior cabinet
  • Dishes are always spotty
  • Any combination of the above dishwasher problems.

As a rule of thumb, If your dishwasher is over eight years old and shows some of the problems described above, it’s probably time to replace it with a new dishwasher.

See these Ten Steps to Take out a Dishwasher quickly, safely, and without creating a huge mess.

How to Remove Built-in Dishwasher – 10 Steps

  • Average Time for This Project: 1 Hour or Less
  • Skills Required:  6 (one scale of 1-10, with10 being hardest)

Step 1:  Clean Out the Sink Cabinet 

The first step in changing your dishwasher is to expose the water shut-off valve by removing 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 the 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 ability 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 the 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 is in line with your dishwasher.

Be sure to turn off the water supply to the dishwasher completley, 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 the Dishwasher

Modern dishwashers have a short “removable panel” on the bottom front of the dishwasher.  This front panel is typically placed with clips or two small screws.

Removing dishwasher kickplate | Best Home Gear
Removing Dishwasher Kick plate

Once you have removed the front panel, use a flashlight and locate the electrical wiring harness near the dishwasher’s front.   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), and then the black (hot) wire.

dishwasher wiring harness | Best Home Gear
Image courtesy of

Note: Before removing any wires, use a handheld voltage tester to check and ensure the circuit is off, even if you’re sure you flipped the correct breaker in the first step.

Hardwired Connections – On occasion, 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 a nearby electrical outlet.

If this is the case, and after you have removed the waterline (see step 6), slowly pull the dishwasher away from the wall to expose it, then remove the hardwired plug from the wall or the hardwires from the junction box. 

If you are unsure or have any questions at all, Seek the advice of a Professional Electrician.

Step 6:  Disconnect the Water Line

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

Make sure the water supply valve under the sink is turned off.  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 the “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 be connected to your garbage disposal (seen below) or 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 two screws from the clips that hold your dishwasher in place. (These two clips are located underneath the countertop).

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

Remember that the drain line is still connected  – make sure you pull the dishwasher out slowly and that the drain line is set 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 slide the dishwasher gently 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, setting it aside to take to a recycling center that accepts appliances.

Check with your new supplier first – Sometimes, the new appliance delivery includes hauling away the old dishwasher for a small fee.

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 a Dishwasher –  And install a dishwasher – And you just saved $125 – $200 in plumbing bills.  Pretty good day 🙂

 “How to remove and install a Dishwasher” – Video:

We highly recommend purchasing your NEW dishwasher “Before” removing the old one. This way, everything you did to “Remove a Dishwasher” is fresh in your mind, Reversing the Removal Steps To Install a New Dishwasher.

Now that you have your dishwasher removal instructions, you may want to check out our latest article – How to Repaint Kitchen Cabinets!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How Do You Remove A Dishwasher?

A:  Knowing How To install a Dishwasher begins with removing the screws from the top bracket connected to the countertop. From there, turn off the electrical power. Slide the dishwasher out, then disconnect the dishwasher’s electrical connection.

Last, shut off the water supply, remove the dishwasher drain line, and remove the dishwasher.  

Q:  How Long Should a Dishwasher Last?

A:  Dishwashers are relatively 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 correctly for at least seven years before it needs to be replaced.

Q:  How Do You Install A Dishwasher?

A:  To install a dishwasher, “reverse the process” outlined in this article for removing a dishwasher to Install a new dishwasher.

Q:  Is it Worth it to Repair a Dishwasher?

A:  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, dishwasher repair costs almost as much as you would spend on a new unit.

Removing your built-in dishwasher and replacing it with a new built-in model makes more sense.

Q:  How Do You Remove an Old Dishwasher?

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

  • Shut off the water and electrical power to the dishwasher
  • Disconnect the electrical hookup at the electrical outlet or disconnect the plug.
  • 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.

Q:  Should I Buy A Built-in Dishwasher or a Portable Dishwasher?

A:  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 undoubtedly an option, many people replace their old dishwashers with freestanding models that can be moved more quickly and don’t require permanent water or electrical hookups.

While the right choice for your home will depend on your tastes and needs, a freestanding dishwasher is more convenient. However, a built-in dishwasher will realize a much greater return on 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 include updating cabinets, countertops, and all new appliances.  When this is the case, most homeowners have no trouble removing the refrigerator or stove but are unsure how to remove or install a new dishwasher.

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

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

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

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Additional Reading and References:

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.


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Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

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