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Stainless steel dishwasher and white cabinets in a kitchen

How to install a dishwasher

Installing a dishwasher can seem like a challenging task, but it can be done with the proper plumbing and electric requirements and a close look at your product’s installation instructions. Whether you’re replacing an old dishwasher or installing your kitchen’s first model, you can use this guide as a general outline for the installation process. Specific installation instructions vary by model, so be sure to reference your dishwasher’s use and care guide throughout the process. If you’re still shopping for a new dishwasher, explore the innovative options available from Whirlpool brand.

How to install a dishwasher: step-by-step instructions

Installing a dishwasher is a task that involves removing your old appliance (if applicable), connecting water lines, connecting electric lines, leveling your machine and running tests to ensure the appliance is functioning properly. If you’re installing a dishwasher for the first time, you can expect the process to take at least two hours. The process will take longer if you have to remove an old dishwasher before the installation can begin. Be sure to have the assistance of at least one other person as you will need to lift and tilt the appliance during installation. Get a feel for the process with these step-by-step directions below in addition to your appliance’s product manual instructions as installation steps may vary by model.

What you’ll need to install a dishwasher:


  • Shallow pan or bucket

  • Towel or large piece of cardboard

  • Flashlight

  • Water line installation kit

  • Power cord


  • Parts included with your dishwasher

  • Cordless drill

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Socket wrench

  • Screwdrivers

  • Level

  • Pliers

  • Measuring tape

  • Utility knife

  • Additional tools or supplies as listed in installation instructions

Person standing next to cleared work area for dishwasher installation

Step 1: Measure dishwasher dimensions

If you’re installing a dishwasher at a new location in your kitchen or installing one for the first time, you'll want to ensure you have the right cabinet opening dimensions. Measure the cabinet opening for width, depth and height to ensure the right fit for your appliance. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you have ample space for the dishwasher air gap if applicable for your new dishwasher.

Step 2: Remove the current dishwasher (if applicable)

Before you uninstall your current dishwasher, turn off the electrical power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker and cut the water supply to the appliance. Once water and electricity have been successfully shut off, unplug the dishwasher from the outlet and disconnect the water supply lines and drain hose. Use a towel, shallow pan or bucket to catch any excess water that may be leaking out of the drain hose.

Next, remove the screws that anchor the dishwasher to your cabinets and countertop. Using a screwdriver, remove the front access panel below the dishwasher door and adjust the leveling legs in each corner to make removal of the dishwasher easier. To protect your floors from scuffs and scratches, place a bath towel or a large piece of cardboard in front of the dishwasher before you begin to pull out the appliance from the cabinet opening. Slide the old machine onto the towel or cardboard and move it out of the way before installing the new dishwasher.

Person moving a packaged dishwasher

Step 3: Prepare the new dishwasher for installation

Open the cardboard box that your appliance arrived in and remove shipping materials. Save a large piece of the cardboard for the installation process. Open the dishwasher door to remove any styrofoam or wrap from the interior. Set aside any parts or tools packaged separately inside the box. 

With the help of at least one other person, tilt the dishwasher on its back. Then, remove the front access panel. If your model has a drip tray, disconnect the tray sensors. Route the power cord through the terminal box and connect remaining wires per product manual instructions. Attach the drain hose to the drain port, then route the drain hose and power cord underneath the rear legs of the dishwasher.

Save the wood runners from your new dishwasher’s packaging. If you need to fit the appliance in a slightly wider cabinet, the wood runners can be used as shims for a proper fit.

Wrench attaching a water supply hose

Step 4: Attach water supply to dishwasher

Attach the 90 degree elbow fitting onto the water supply line and connect the fill hose to the valve located on the bottom of the dishwasher and tighten by hand, then tighten an additional ¼ to ½ turn with pliers. Do not apply Teflon tape or thread sealer to the water valve threads. Make sure the rubber washer is present inside the water hose fitting. Route the water supply line towards the rear of the dishwasher.

Hand holding measuring tape

Step 5: Level and adjust the height of the appliance

Measure your cabinet opening height and adjust your dishwasher’s rear leveling legs to match. Use a level to ensure leveling legs are even, as dishwashers require level placement for proper water drainage.

Person installing a new dishwasher

Step 6: Move the dishwasher into place

With the help of at least one other person, tilt the dishwasher upright onto a large piece of cardboard and move it towards the desired location. Route the power cord, drain hose and water supply line through the sink cabinet. Avoid backwash from the sink’s drain by securing slack in the drain hose to the backside of the cabinet under the sink. Make sure the hose arches higher than the drain inlet. Slide the dishwasher into the cabinet opening.

Hand touching countertop above an open dishwasher

Step 7: Secure the dishwasher to your cabinets and countertops

Attach anchor brackets to the top of the dishwasher collar on the left and ride side, then slide the dishwasher back until the exterior is flush with the surrounding cabinet doors. Check the levelness along the top edge of the dishwasher with a level and adjust the front level legs as needed to ensure legs are firmly against the floor. Once level, screw in the anchor brackets to secure the dishwasher in place.

Man connecting a hose to the dishwasher

Step 8: Connect hoses and power to dishwasher

Following your product manual’s instructions, attach the water supply line to the hot water line and turn on the water at the shut-off valve. Connect the drain hose to the drain port, then plug in the power cord. If the dishwasher has a drip tray, reconnect it.

Stainless steel top control dishwasher with the door ajar

Step 9: Run a dishwasher test cycle

To check for leaks or other performance issues, run a test cycle on your new dishwasher. Test cycle instructions vary by model, so be sure to consult the testing instructions provided in your product manual. Once your dishwasher has passed its test cycle, attach the front access panel, making sure the side with printing on it faces the dishwasher, and peel off the protective plastic lining from the exterior.

Hand reaching into a loaded dishwasher

Dishwasher installation FAQs

Before you get started on your dishwasher installation, discover the answers to some frequently asked installation questions.

How hard is it to install a dishwasher? How much experience do I need?

It is recommended to have a moderate level of experience working with plumbing and electricity to install a dishwasher without professional help. You may want to consider hiring a professional if you have never installed a large appliance before or if you don’t have direct access to your desired installation location.

How much does it cost to install a dishwasher?

Depending on what needs to be done to install your dishwasher, installation can cost anywhere between $200–$500. Installation prices increase if you need to modify plumbing, wiring or countertops to successfully install the dishwasher, as these modifications require professional assistance. Keep in mind that installation costs can also vary depending on your location.

What hookups do I need for a dishwasher?

New dishwashers require water supply, drain line and power cord connections for installation.

Do dishwashers come with a water supply line?

Most dishwashers come with a water supply line, but this can vary by make and model.

Can I get help with installing a dishwasher?

If you’re not comfortable installing your dishwasher yourself, Whirlpool offers professional delivery and installation services for most major appliances that can be scheduled upon checkout.

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Shop Whirlpool® dishwashers

Whirlpool® dishwashers give you the clean you need for everyday care. With features like a 3rd Rack so fewer dishes are left behind and a 1-Hour Wash Cycle to get dishes done quickly, a dishwasher from Whirlpool brand is the kitchen appliance your family needs.

Learn more about Whirlpool® Dishwashers

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