The overall layout of your kitchen is of utmost importance. Considering that the refrigerator and dishwasher are the two main appliances, you may be wondering if you can place them side by side.

You should not put the dishwasher next to the refrigerator. The dishwasher gets hot and moist, while the fridge needs to hold a cool temperature. Placing them side by side means that the fridge will have to work harder to maintain its temperature.

This post will answer crucial dishwasher and fridge placement questions for a better kitchen layout. I will also discuss why you shouldn’t put the dishwasher next to the fridge.

How Much Space Should Be Between the Dishwasher and the Fridge?

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends leaving at least 21 inches of space between the dishwasher’s edge and any other appliance placed at a right angle from the dishwasher. Similarly, there should be a minimum of 15 inches of landing space on the refrigerator’s handle side.

With this in mind, there should be at least 15 – 20 inches of space between the dishwasher and the fridge.

Why You Shouldn’t Place the Dishwasher Next to the fridge?

From NKBA’s guidelines, you can place the dishwasher across from the refrigerator, but never next to it. Here are the reasons why.

Functional Inconvenience

The dishwasher next to the fridge is not just a bad design idea but also an inconvenience. Imagine yourself putting away leftovers after a meal while someone else is trying to load the dishwasher. The two of you are likely to bump into each other.

Wastes Energy

The dishwasher throws off lots of heat and moisture during its drying cycle. When the refrigerator is adjacent to the dishwasher, it will get warm, which kickstarts the cooling process. It leads to energy wastage since the fridge is working hard to cool down.

Shortens the Refrigerator’s Lifespan

The heat and humidity from the dishwasher are the number one enemy of your refrigerator’s operation. Since the fridge relies on evaporation to disperse the humidity, the dishwasher will hamper its ability to remove condensation. It will cause issues with the refrigerator and eventually damage its components.

It Makes the Kitchen Noisy

The sound of the dishwasher running is annoying enough, especially in an open kitchen. That’s double the noise when the two appliances are running next to each other. You’ll have to compete with the noise just to keep up a conversation. So, if you can avoid having the two appliances next to each other, then go for it.

Which Kitchen Appliances Can You Place Next to the Dishwasher?

These appliances will not be affected by the dishwasher’s heat and humidity.


Placing the dishwasher next to the sink is logical since the two appliances require the same plumbing hookups. Additionally, the placement lets you transfer dirty dishes from the sink to the dishwasher quickly and easily.


Fortunately, modern stoves and dishwashers are insulated enough that heat from either appliance will not affect them. The dishwasher next to the stove also allows faster loading since pans and pots can go directly into the dishwasher—no more stops in the sink to maintain a clean kitchen.

Which Kitchen Appliances Can You Place Next to the Refrigerator?

The fridge will work well next to appliances that do not emit lots of heat.


The sink does not emit enough heat to affect the fridge’s temperature. In addition, most sinks have ample countertop room on either side, serving as the refrigerator’s landing area.


It makes sense to have the freezer next to the refrigerator since your food will be in one location. In addition, your freezer will not emit lots of external heat, so it will not hinder the refrigerator’s operation.

Final Thoughts

It’s a bad design idea to place the dishwasher next to the fridge. Doing so creates a functional inconvenience and a higher electric bill for you. Thus, leave enough space between the two appliances if no other layout works for your kitchen. Still, it’s better to have better neighbors for these appliances instead of dealing with heat and humidity issues.

Read More: How Long Can A Refrigerator Be Stored Without Being Used?