Dishwasher placement: 36" or 12" from the sink???

eleenaSeptember 18, 2012

I have seen several pix of DW been placed NOT next to the sink but at least 24" away, in some cases a lot more than that. I was thinking of placing it 24" to the left of the sink which would be 36" from the sink basin if I got Kohler Stages (or a similar Ticor sink) with recessed prep area or a sink with a drainboard.

But the "expert articles" have left me confused about the maximum allowable distance between the sink and the DW as some said 36" and some said 12". For example:

1) Guideline: Locate nearest edge of the primary dishwasher within 36" of the nearest edge of a cleanup/prep sink, according to The Thirty-One Kitchen Design Rules, Illustrated (

2) 'the allowable 12" from the sink' according to

Which is it???

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well, 12" certainly would be within the 36".

if it can be placed right next to the sink, I always think that's best. I know a few on here have been a bit farther away but I think they had particular reasons for that.

and a couple have put them across from the sink in the island (a bit offset). I think that's to keep the door out of their way while they unload it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 2:04AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Unless there is a particular constraint, the closer, the better. Ours is right next to the sink base and I'm still mopping up drips off the floor from plates and such as they are loaded. If it was further, there'd definitely be more mopping.

2 Likes    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:13AM
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I have a 12 inch trash pull-out between the sink and DW, and it takes no extra effort to load the DW than if it was right beside it. I wouldn't want to take extra steps with each dish if it was further away.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:21AM
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My DW and sink are going right next to each other, DW to the left of sink. Are you thinking of locating it further from the sink to make unloading more convenient?

It's really YOUR call, so place it where you would like it. Those articles are just 'helpful guidelines' not cast in granite!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:47AM
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I would think that the cabinet in between the sink and dw would become unavailable to anyone wanting to use it while dishes are being done--i.e. trash would be hard to access if someone is standing in front of it to process dishes.

I really like having the dw next to the sink. It makes makes the work area more compact.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Another vote for keeping the DW next to the sink. I can't imagine the drips and spills that would occur all along the counter and floor as the dirty dishes were loaded from the sink area if the DW was further away. Sounds like more work to me.

Why are you wanting to put the DW so far away from the clean-up sink? Have you got a layout you can post?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:55AM
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That 36" is if you are doing a raised DW in which you want some counter space before the raised counter section. Or it's in case of a DW around the corner, as is done in some smaller kitchens where there is a corner cabinet in between the sink and DW and the DW is 90 degrees to the sink. You've got to have a 12" cabinet next to the sink before the corner starts so you can stand at the sink and load that DW around the corner. If it's on a straight run, with the same counter height, you don't want more than 12" between the DW and sink. But, ideally, it's located directly adjacent to the sink cabinet. That's less dripping and less blocking of the aisle with an open DW door.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:28AM
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We just moved our DW around the corner from the sink because I was sick of the blind corner and not being able to reach all the upper cabinets while I was unloading the dishwasher.

Most likely the reason you are seeing discrepancies in distances is because the allowable distance is determined by the strength of the DW pump. Most newer DW can handle a little bit of distance. I have been assured by my plumber that my pump is strong enough to get the water back to the disposal even though the line is now over seven feet long.

Maybe your DW manufacturer can give you the "official" number for you. Keep in mind though the distance you have to travel to load the dishes. Ours is now perpendicular to where we stand at the sink so loading is not much more difficult or further than it was when the DW was next to the sink.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:22PM
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I have had the DW 12 inches from my sink and loved it. I didn't have the room to do it in this kitchen. The reason I liked it is that it is much easier for me to unload glasses into the upper next to the sink.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Apparently it is recommended to have 21" of space between the middle of the sink and edge of the dishwasher door when it is pulled out to allow adequate space to turn and load when dishwasher is placed perpendicular to the sink. Makes sense to me since Less space then that would be very tight and uncomfortable. It's definitely something to thing about!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 9:20PM
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I'm a drippy, messy dish-loader. My sink ends up piled with dirty dishes, and I generally have the water running while loading . . . slopping dishes into the dishwasher while hand washing knives and pots and pans at the same time, as I slowly excavate the sink to find the lovely cast iron below the day's detritus. I would hate to drip dirty dish water across the floor to get to the DW, so I vote for as close as possible. (Mine is immediately adjacent, and that's the only way I'd design my kitchen.) I can't imagine 36 inches. No way. 12 would be feasible.

For the record, we run at least a couple loads of dishes most days . . . with a very busy and messy household . . . so it's not like I neglect dishes for days on end. :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 11:33PM
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Reynolds Custom Woodworks

If you have the ability to place the dishwasher next to the sink, why wouldn't you? Unless you have a separate drain and water supply, you will have to run these utilities through the cabinet between to get to the sink cabinet...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 3:34AM
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Our DW is around the corner from the sink. There were a number of reasons that this layout worked out best for us. As mrsjoe said, the maximum distance is dictated by the DW manufacturer specifications.

We don't pre-wash our dishes, so most go directly from the table to the DW. I find very little dripping from the dishes that do get scraped or rinsed in the sink first.

We don't keep many dishes in the cabinets above the DW, so unloading is a breeze. I think it's important to consider where you will stand when unloading, and where the dishes will go.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 8:14AM
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A good DW shouldn't require pre-rinsing. Just scrape and load. This should eliminate drips on the floor. I've never had a DW anywhere but right next to the sink. I think a 12" cabinet between sink and DW would be OK but I can't imagine being comfortable with a longer distance. As noted above, that 12" cabinet would be inaccessible to others while clean-up is going on so it shouldn't be something that used during the prep/cook process. And, yes, plan for storage for dishes/glassware/cutlery, at least those items used regularly, as close to the DW as possible. Ideally, one can unload the DW without making any steps.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 10:40AM
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Cindy Noll

My DW is 21 inches from my sink. We didn't redo cabinets & the end of the run after removing the peninsula was the only place for it. We don't rinse dishes, but some always end up in the sink. The drip solution is simple, go from the sink over the counter & down to the DW. I do the same to get to my simple human covered trash can that sits to the right of the DW. Counter is easy to see & wipe up drips. It depends on what you are going for I guess. Previously I had the DW facing the dining area on the other side of the peninsula & my trashcan was across the kitchen against the only wall, so I am a happy camper! On another note, does anyone know why my name from Houzz is showing when I changed it to something similar to my GW name, when it said my GW name was taken?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 6:50AM
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Ours is right next to the sink and I wouldn't want it further. Even tho we shouldn't have to rinse dishes, we still do, and water is dripped along the way to the DW. DH is bad for that. As far as holding them above the counter as it is carried over to the DW, sometimes there is food on my counter and I wouldn't want dirty dish water dripping. Once as I was moving a cup down into the DW I smacked the edge of the granite and put a small chip in it. Broke my heart. So I don't deliberately try to hold dishes above the counter on their way from sink to DW

    Bookmark   March 5, 2015 at 7:54AM
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