How to Remove a Dishwasher with Pliers (Easy Guide)

Removing or replacing a dishwasher should be an easy DIY job. In this article, I share how to do it step by step with pliers in less than 30 minutes.

Installing and uninstalling big home appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine can be quite intimidating. Oftentimes, the fear of breaking components and perhaps voiding the warranty supersedes the courage to try. As a result, you end up hiring a professional who does the job in minutes and charges you a fortune. And this leaves you wondering, “How hard is it to replace a dishwasher or washing machine?“.

The simple answer is: It is not difficult to remove and replace the big appliances. You just need to have the “can-do” mentality, the right set of tools, and clear instructions. Also, don’t be afraid to break things. Sometimes it is the only way to learn.

In this article, I am not showing you how to break things but rather how to remove a dishwasher from under the counter or built-in. All you need is a pair of adjustable pliers and a few other tools. And of course the “can-do” attitude.

How to remove a dishwasher step by step

Tools and supplies

  • Adjustable pliers
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Philip’s screwdriver
  • Voltage tester
  • Rug

Instructions

Step 1: Disconnect electrical supply

If your dishwasher is connected to a wall outlet, just unplug it. But if it is hardwired, trip its breaker on the main electrical panel first and follow these steps:

How to disconnect a hardwired dish washer
  1. Remove the bottom panel of the dishwasher with a Phillips screwdriver. You can use a magnetized screwdriver to avoid losing the screws. If you would like to learn how to magnetize yours, check out this article: How to magnetize a screwdriver
  2. Once you have removed the bottom trim, look for the electrical part and unscrew the cover. The electrical box should have electrical hazard warning signs on it. You will see hardwired connections with wirenuts.
  3. Before you touch the electrical wires, confirm that the circuit is dead using the voltage tester. Place the probe of the tester on each wire to see if it beeps. If it does, then you need to trip the correct breaker or shut off the mains power supply. Proceed only after confirming that the circuit is dead.
  4. Remove the wire nuts by untwisting them by hand or pliers if they are too tight.
  5. Then use regular pliers or needle nose pliers to untwist the electrical wires.
  6. Pull the electrical supply wires out of the box and now your dishwasher is electrical free.

Step 2: Disconnect the water supply

Disconnecting the water has two stages. The first stage is to turn off the water supply and the second stage is to disconnect the water line into the dishwasher.

Most water connections of dishwashers located under the counter are made under the kitchen sink. So, open the kitchen sink cabinet to access the water shutoff valve underneath.

If yours is a compression faucet, tighten it down for the washer to close the water flow. Otherwise, if the shutoff faucet is a cartridge type, half a turn is all you need to shut off the water flow. If none of these works, turn off the water by closing the main shutoff valve.

After shutting off the water supply, disconnect the dishwasher waterline. Access it through the bottom of the dishwasher. Grab your water pump pliers and adjust the jaws so that that they grip the nut tightly and twist anticlockwise to break it loose. Then untighten by hand.

You may need to place a rug underneath to absorb water that may have been left in the pipe.

Step 3: Disconnect the dishwasher drain hose

dishwasher drain hose removal
Remove the dishwasher drain hose

Nearly all the drain hoses of under-the-counter dishwashers are connected to the sink plumbing. To disconnect them, just duck under the sink and pull out the flexi dishwasher hose pipe. If it is held in place by a pressure clip, use pliers or a screwdriver to untighten it.

Place a rug underneath to absorb any water that may drip from the waste pipe.

Step 4: Unscrew the dishwasher attachment screws

Open the dishwasher door and remove the screws that attach the dishwasher to the countertop from underneath. Use the appropriate screwdriver head. Remove any other screw fasteners on the sides as well. Then close the dishwasher door.

Step 5: Adjust up the dishwasher levelling feet.

To create enough headroom for your dishwasher to pull out, adjust up the feet up with the adjustable pliers. Do this with the dishwasher door closed. As you adjust the feet, you should see more space created between the top of the dishwasher and the countertop. This should allow you to wiggle out the washer machine freely.

If your dishwasher won’t pull out, check that the feet are not catching the floor and all attachment screws are removed. You can place a rug underneath the front feet to make it easier to pull and protect the floor.

Step 6: Wiggle out the dishwasher machine

Open the door of the dishwasher and use it to wiggle out the machine out of the compartment. Just grab both sides of the door use it to pull out the dishwasher. You can place a rug under the feet of the machine to protect your floor and to enable the dishwasher to slide out more easily.

That’s how to easily remove a dishwasher. If you need to install a new one, just follow the steps in reverse order. The steps are also very similar for installing or removing washing machine.

Remember, all you need for this exercise is a pair of water pump pliers, regular pliers, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, a voltage tester, and a little bit of self-belief.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dishwasher Removal

What is the best size of the tongue and groove or water pump pliers?

I find a 10″ pair of water pump pliers a good size for multipurpose use around the house.

Is it easy to remove a dishwasher?

Yes, it is. You just need the right tools and a clear set of instructions on how to disconnect water, electricity, and the dishwasher hose. It does not matter if you have a countertop, under-the-counter, or portable dishwasher. Removing it is really easy.

How do you remove a dishwasher from the cabinet if you have a raised floor?

Just adjust up the legs of the dishwasher with adjustable pliers to create more headroom between the unit and the countertop. This gives you room to slightly lift the unit on a raised floor.

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