darrahMarch 26, 2013

I know I could post this on appliance forum but this is my go-to-place for anything pertaining to kitchens.

We are getting ready to do a complete kitchen reno. When I was in our appliance store and opened one of their dishwashers and bent over to mimic loading it my back began to hurt immediately from how low the dishwasher was to the floor. I cannot be the only one who has this problem and yet I have never seen this issue addressed on either this forum or appliance forum. I am short - under five feet. How in the world do people of average height or taller deal with this back breaking appliance? It didn't matter which brand I looked at they were all that way - built low to the floor.

The salesman showed me a "dish drawer" but I did not like the configuration and you are still stooping low if you have company and have to fill the lower drawer.

So my only answer is to go with a standard dishwasher like my old one. I was hoping for a better interior layout which some of the new ones had, but not at the price of creating back pain.

Just for the record I am 67 and load my own groceries and stack firewood so am definitely not a weakling. Tell me I'm not alone in this complaint - misery loves company.

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What do you have now? If the DW is an older one, chances are you are not used to what is more popular now -- a tall tub, meaning that the bottom is lower to give you more room inside and allowing you to load taller items. I am tall and have the tall tub DWs -- have for about 12 years now. I am not bothered by loading them and wonder if you were bending down to the bottom rack. In reality, you don't bend that low. On the bottom rack, you generally have a bowl or plate in your hand and the reach is at least 5-6" higher if not 8-12".

The other thing I would look at is whether you have strength but not flexibility. They don't go hand in hand, and you can be strong and lose flexibility f you don't stretch to maintain it. And we all tend to deal with loss of flexibility as we get older. If that's happening, it probably isn't just DWs that can cause you problems and you might want to talk to your doctor about some exercises or physical therapy to help you avoid pain and future injury.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Since you are planning a total redo anyway, why don't you place the dishwasher higher--like they do sometimes for people in wheelchairs (not that you are!). I have seen that at a few home shows, and think it is a pretty clever idea. It would make the dishwasher more user friendly-like a wall oven. But,not that high.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:13PM
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I have a tall tub washer. I an 5' 6. I agree its not like a frontloader washer where you actually bend over and look in. And if you get a good dw the bottom rack easily pulls out. I love the flexibility of a tall tub. I have the culinary rack in mine

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:20PM
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My DW is elevated about 9" higher than normal and fully integrated into the cabinetry.

I do not have back trouble but honestly, I'd never place a DW on the floor ever again after using this one.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:58PM
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I understand the appeal of a raised DW, and you can put a drawer underneath, but make sure you think about the other end of things. I don't have counter space to spare and I would hate the elevated counter next to my sink. It would really change how things work around your sink, but maybe that's okay for you.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:02PM
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Thanks for the responses. Lascatx, you bring up an excellent point. Next time I go in I'll be sure to bring some items to put in the d/w and see if that makes a difference in not having to stoop as low.

Doc, if counter space were no problem I might consider moving the d/w higher but unfortunately I need all the counterspace I can get.

I did like the layout of the new d/w so I'm not giving on it yet.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:41PM
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There's nothing that says dish drawers have to be located beneath each other.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:47PM
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I am in total agreement concerning the very low bottom racks in the newer 'tall tub' dishwashers. We, too, are looking for a solution that doesn't require bending so low, and can't seem to find one.

It would be nice if the tall-tub dishwasher bottom rack were adjustable - has anyone seen that?

Or a dishwasher with 3 racks, so you could choose NOT to use the bottom rack?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Darrah, if you hadn't said you still stack your own firewood then I'd say you should get the old type of d/w or raise it or something. But you are clearly in good shape and I think the new tall tub d/w is just something you'll get used to and not even notice after a few times. It's probably just that it's different enough from your current d/w and you are thinking about it.

If you'd said you were weak and frail, different story! But I'm near enough to my sixties myself that I don't think 67 is that old! If you are in otherwise good shape then a little bending is a healthy thing, imo. I plan on still doing yoga at that age myself. :)

Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:53PM
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smeg -- the largest appliance manufacturer in Italy -- makes a 36" wide "horizontal" dishwasher that can be mounted just under the counter height. No bending whatsoever. Here's a photo I took at a kitchen show -- you can see they put it right below the cooktop (neither was working). Link is below. A 36" wide cabinet would be needed but that would be a nice wide pull-out below.

Not inexpensive but you are paying for the convenience and height. It can even take a panel and look like a drawer.

Here is a link that might be useful: smeg 36

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:55PM
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