How To Secure A Dishwasher To The Cabinet

The kitchen dishwasher can be an expensive and large appliance, which sometimes makes it difficult to install a new model. A dishwasher is usually secured to the bottom of a countertop using mounting screws, but it may also be secured to the cabinet instead. This is considered necessary when the countertop is made out of granite. So, we have carefully researched how to secure a dishwasher to the kitchen cabinet.

The most effective way to secure a dishwasher to the base kitchen cabinets is to install mounting brackets on the side of the appliance. You may need to invest in a side mounting bracket kit or convert existing countertop brackets. Follow these common steps to install side brackets onto your dishwasher:

  1. Identify the necessary brackets
  2. Assemble tools
  3. Disconnect and pull out dishwasher
  4. Attach brackets and screws
  5. Restore caps and reconnect

The dishwasher is an essential part of the kitchen and is frequently used throughout the week. It is ideal for planning ahead in order to correctly install such an important appliance. Keep reading to learn about who hooks up dishwashers, how to secure one yourself, and how much space is needed for the dishwasher to fit properly.

A woman unloading dishwasher after washing, How To Secure A Dishwasher To The Cabinet

Who can hook up a dishwasher?

To save time and prevent any serious plumbing or dishwasher mistakes, you may prefer to avoid installing the appliance yourself. In this case, the two most ideal options are to contact a home improvement store or a plumber.

Either a local or larger chain of home improvement stores is likely to provide this service. For example, Lowe’s provides both installation and protection plans for a new dishwasher.

Then again, it may be possible to save money by simply contacting your local plumber. Plumbers are also skilled at installing new dishwashers.

Otherwise, it is possible for you to install the dishwasher yourself as long as the proper steps are carefully followed. Only basic home improvement tools will need to be assembled, and the process will usually not take very long.

Woman looking at repairman repairing the dishwasher

Securing A Dishwasher to the Cabinet

1. Identify the Necessary Brackets

It is common for some dishwashers to be equipped with countertop brackets that can double as side mounting brackets. It’s possible that you are only replacing your countertops with new granite and are not purchasing a brand new dishwasher.

If this is the case, you may only need the existing under countertop brackets. These secure the top of the dishwasher to the countertop. Sometimes, they can be broken apart to create automatic side mounting brackets.

Click here to find this dishwasher side mounting kit on Amazon.

If you do not have these brackets, it is easy to find a side mounting bracket kit. They are usually found at a low price with plenty of choices online.

These specialty kits will come with the necessary brackets and screws to install the sides of your dishwasher to the kitchen’s lower base cabinets. However, you need to be certain that your dishwasher is compatible with the kit that you purchase. Not all dishwashers will work with every mounting kit.

2. Assemble Tools

It is important to prepare for the side bracket installation by assembling the tools you will need in advance. You may need pliers to convert your existing brackets, and you will need them to install brackets on the side of the dishwasher no matter what.

Click here to find this power drill on Amazon.

You will also need a power drill or screwdriver in order to install the final screws. Lastly, you will need an appropriate wrench to work under your sink. This will help you create slack by disconnecting certain pipes beforehand and reconnecting them after the installation is complete.

3. Disconnect and Pull Out Dishwasher

Woman watching as worker repairing sink pipe

In order to secure the dishwasher to your base kitchen cabinets, it will be necessary to install mounting brackets on the side of the appliance. This can only be achieved if the dishwasher is temporarily pulled out of the base cabinet by a few inches or so. But that is not a straightforward process.

First, you should cut off the power to the dishwasher at the home’s circuit breaker. Naturally, this will prevent any electrical injury. Then, you will need a screwdriver to remove the access panel at the bottom of the dishwasher. This allows you to check if the plumbing is loose enough for you to pull out the dishwasher.

If it isn’t, you may need to work underneath the sink. You might require a wrench to disconnect the water line and drain line of the dishwasher.

Also, if the dishwasher is plugged into an outlet, you can unplug the power cord to create more slack too. Once the dishwasher is loose enough, you should be able to pull the appliance free from the cabinet at least a few inches.

4. Attach Brackets and Screws

Now that the dishwasher is protruding from the base cabinet, you can identify the slots that are designed for installing side mounting brackets. One side is usually covered by plastic caps, which aren’t always necessary.

First, slide your side mounting brackets into the corresponding slots until they snap into position. Then, use pliers to bend the tabs, which will permanently keep the brackets in position.

Now you can slide the dishwasher back into the cabinet and center the appliance. Check to see if the existing hole in the side mounting brackets will line up with the side of the cabinet.

If there isn’t enough room to use the existing hole, you will have to drill a new one with a power drill. Remove the plastic caps on the other side of the mounting slots, and use the power drill to make a new hole in each of the brackets.

Also, use your power drill to pre-drill a hole into the cabinet. This will make sure the wood doesn’t splinter apart when you install a new screw.

Next, you can use a screwdriver to drive screws through the new holes. These screws may need to be larger than the previous ones if there are existing holes. This way, you will have enough grip from the new installment.

5. Restore Caps and Reconnect

You should now be able to place the plastic caps back into position over the side mounting slots, if necessary. You will also be able to slide the dishwasher back into place inside the base cabinet. If the power plug, water line, or drain line needed to be disconnected, you can now reconnect them. It should then be safe to turn the power back on using the circuit breaker.

Should the dishwasher door be flush with the cabinets?

Although it is possible, it is not ideal for the dishwasher door to be flush with the face frame of the base cabinets. Instead, the door should extend far enough from the cabinet so that it is easy to swing open. That will help prevent causing any damage to the counters.

This extra amount of room will also allow proper ventilation of the appliance when it runs. A lot of heat can build as the dishwasher runs. You can read the post "How Long Does A Dishwasher Run?" for details on the typical cycle duration.

How far back should a dishwasher sit?

The dishwasher should protrude out of the base cabinet by at least an inch and a half. Also, consider that the traditional dishwasher size is similar to the depth of a base cabinet. Therefore, the appliance will naturally require enough room for any plumbing and electrical connections.

How much gap do you need between the countertop and dishwasher?

Open dishwasher with clean dishes at home kitchen

It is usually best for half an inch or three-quarters of an inch between the top of the dishwasher and the countertops. This will allow more breathing room for the dishwasher to vent its humidity and heat.

However, it may not always be absolutely necessary to leave this gap. Some choose to fashion wood over an existing space between the dishwasher and counters. You can read the post "What's The Typical Dishwasher Height? [Inc. ADA Dishwashers]" to learn more about what height you will be working with and why.


It can be time consuming to secure a dishwasher directly to the kitchen cabinets. But the process is also relatively cheap and easy to follow, compared to other complicated appliances. It doesn’t require any complex or expensive tools. But if you do not feel comfortable securing the dishwasher yourself, local plumbers or home improvement chains can successfully complete the installation too.

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