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How to Install a Dishwasher (Illustrated Guide)

Collage of illustrations on How to Install a Dishwasher.

The dishwasher is an electric porter and kitchen hand with essential functions in automated and modern kitchens. The latest models are show-off pieces in design and keep up with technological innovations to be energy and water efficient. And you don’t have to get someone in, as any DIY enthusiast can install a dishwasher.

Dishwashers are installed in an hour if you’ve done it before and in less than three hours if you’re a first-time DIYer. The essential parts to install before leveling, plugging in, and testing a newly installed dishwasher are fitting the water pipeline, the wastewater, and the electrical line.

Homeowners’ excitement often is hardly containable as they can’t wait to open up and install their prized dishwasher with Wi-Fi connectivity. You can imagine they’ve looked forward to controlling the dishwasher remotely from their smartphone. With the latest models, you can start and stop cycles, do maintenance from afar, and know the progress of each wash cycle.

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 1: Remove Dishwasher From Box

How to Install a Dishwasher

1 hour for DIYers that have done this before

More than 2 hours for those first-time DIYers


  • Water hose
  • Electrical supply line
  • Water-drainage line
  • A towel


  • Drill with interchangeable bits
  • Interchangeable wrenches
  • Screwdriver – Phillips
  • ¼ nut driver


Top Tip: Disconnect the power and water supply before thinking of installing a dishwasher.

Prevent accidental death by electrical shock – switch off electrical supplies. Also, ensure the water supply is turned off to prevent flooding. And don't attempt to lift a dishwasher on your own. The weight of a dishwasher is over 100 pounds and shouldn't be lifted single-handed.

Step 1: Remove Dishwasher From Box

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 1: Remove Dishwasher From Box

Clear the space where you are installing a dishwasher. Move the new boxed dishwasher close to where it'll be installed. Carefully remove the dishwasher from the cardboard box casing and ensure you have what's needed in the supplied hardware bag.

As you stand back and admire your masterpiece dishwasher’s design, you might be reminded of this innovation's history. Just 150 years ago, the first wooden and hand-cranked dishwashers were launched at the Industrial Revolution's peak. The essential functions were to spray water on dishes, so they didn't break in the hand-washing process.

Curiously, one of these hand-powered inventions in the manor of late Victorian wealthy socialites, the Cochrane family, was designed to protect the Lady’s china from damage when washed. This invention stood out at the 1893 Chicago World Fair under Lavadora and was later renamed the Lavaplatos. The first electric dishwasher was showcased in about 1917.

Since the seventies, dishwashers have been commonplace across the world. They are sought-after household appliances, especially with the latest technological innovations like Wi-Fi connectivity! Now, that's enough marveling and time to get started.

Check Instructions on How to Install a Dishwasher

Ensure you check the installation instructions on the box's lid provided. Printed on the top of the box is everything you need to know. There is often a manual included too on how to install it. Make sure you have been supplied with the right connections:

  • Water pipeline that connects to the sink
  • Disposal line for waste and run-off water that hooked up to the drain vent
  • Electrical cord or line (often you have to install the power cord either as new or reusing the old unit's cord)

The water connections (supply and waste piping) and the electrical supply line must be correct. Also, there are different options for supply lines you can choose from. 

Step 2: Flip Dishwasher on Its Back

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 2: Flip Dishwasher on Its Back

With the dishwasher out of the box, put a towel on the floor to protect the floor. Then slowly bend down beside the dishwasher, you on one side and a helper on the other. Best to get help as the average weight of a dishwasher is around 105 pounds, and you can strain your back doing this process on your own.

Gently, with help, lower the dishwasher into a turtle position. This means that the back side of the dishwasher will be flat on the towel allowing you to inspect the dishwasher's inner workings flat on the ground. Also, install the water supply, drain lines, and electrical cord to get the dishwasher ready for a test wash and then up and ready to run.

Flipping the dishwasher on its back makes it easier to install and hook up the drain line and the water supply line and get to the dishwasher's electrical or power box.

Step 3: Connect Water Inlet

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 3: Connect Water Inlet

Before you install the water supply line, ensure the dishwasher filter on the water inlet is in place before installing the water supply. The filter is a fixture and must remain there. You can choose the kind of water-line supply you want to use. However, it's recommended that you use a stainless-steel connection.

The stainless-steel connection is durable and won't damage as quickly as an alternative plastic connection which might be cheaper. The plastic connections often cause water leaks. Also, remember to take care when you screw the stainless-steel connection into a plastic fixture on the dishwasher so as not to damage the plastic.

At the same time, ensure that the gasket in the supply pipe is in place before you tighten the water inlet to the dishwasher's water supply connection. Often the gasket is not there when you buy a dishwasher (and there are many reasons for this), but ensure you only install the water line with the gasket as it will stop any leakage at this spot.

Step 4: Connect Drain Hose

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 4: Connect Drain Hose

With the water inlet in place, you must ensure you fit the drain hose. Depending on the washing model, the hose is equipped with a 110-degree elbow end to the dishwasher’s drain port connection. From here, it is rolled out toward the back of the dishwasher.

Ensure you don’t have the drain outlet interfere with the power setup or water supply. These three essential parts of the dishwasher connect through a cabinet's opening to the sink's underside. The electrical supply is secured, too, as well as the water inlet.

The drain outlet fits over the factory-fit hose on the dishwasher. Ensure the drain hose and the draining fixture overlap deep enough. Also, make sure that you securely clamp the two hoses together with a single clamp as to prevent any leakage.

The drain hose installation can vary, and the instructions are helpful and must be followed. The drain hose can discharge in a garbage disposal vent or a p-trap port that’s smaller in diameter.

A dishwasher's drain outlet pipe has optional outlets that can connect to the smaller diameter of a p-trap. The process of connecting can be a bit more intricate. But make sure, in whatever way you connect, that the outlet is secured and won't leak when the dishwasher is in use.

Step 5: Connect the Power Supply

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 5: Connect the Power Supply

It’s recommended that you connect the power supply with a new cord if the power cord isn't factory installed. Alternatively, reinstall the one previously used on the machine you are replacing. This part of the DIY project might be a bit more intricate and require a lot of concentration. Also, remember every electrical installation on a dishwasher is different.

There are two kinds of possible connections that are used:

  • Wire nuts
  • Clamps

The process to connect is, however, the same. Generally, the green line is the 'ground,' the white is the 'earth,' and the live wire is black. Again, it is best to follow the instructions in the dishwasher's manual.

Of course, having the dishwasher flipped over and lying on its back gives access to the electrical box, and wires can be hooked up more quickly. Once done, securely close the electrical box.

Step 6: Secure the Power Outlet

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 6: Secure the Power Outlet

With the water inlet and drainage pipes in place and the electrical connections made, you are ready to place the dishwasher in an upright position. You can slowly, with help, push the dishwasher toward the opening. By the way, the size of an average dishwasher is 34 inches in height and has a 24-inch width. The depth of a dishwasher can vary from 18 – 24-inches.

Step 7: Connect Water Supply

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 7: Connect Water Supply

Slowly slide the dishwasher into a position that more than likely is under a kitchen cabinet near the sink. This has to be done carefully, and again best to have help, as you don't want to damage the dishwasher's casing or the sides of the opening you're moving the dishwasher into. 

Ensure the dishwasher's inlet hose that will supply water to the dishwasher is tightly fitted. You must connect the dishwasher's water inlet line with the feed line. When the connection is hooked up, use a shifting spanner to tighten the nut on the outlet hose to a thread of the inlet fitting on the dishwasher.

You can only open the water supply once the water inlet supply is fitted securely and doesn't leak. The water outlet (see next) is connected to the drainage vent.  

Step 8: Connect Drainage Fitting

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 8: Connect Drainage Fitting

The outlet or drainage line from the dishwasher to the drainage vent needs to be fitted firmly. This is where the outlet water will gush when the dishwasher is turned on. You want to ensure that you do this step with care.

Ensure water outlets connect with the sink vent or a specifically installed vent. Also, ensure you can reach the power supply point with the dishwasher.

Step 9: Secure, Switch On, and Test

How to Install a Dishwasher - Step 9: Secure, Switch On, and Test

The last step is to get the dishwasher level. This is important as the dishwasher's level will affect its function and durability. Once in place and level, you can secure the dishwasher with two metal clasps to the counter. This is important to keep the dishwasher stable in position during washing cycles. 

And with the dishwasher in position, leveled, and connected to the water inlet and drainage outlet, and plugged in, you can run your first test cycle.

If you've followed these steps and the instructions, give yourself a DIY hands-up! Or even an old-fashioned pat on the back as you've now installed a dishwasher on your own.

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How To Install A Dishwasher

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