How To Scrap A Dishwasher

Dishwashers are a surprisingly easy appliance to disassemble, especially when compared to things like scrap refrigerators. Check what your yard’s policy is on dishwashers, as many are mostly plastic. For more info on scrapping appliances, check out The Scrap Metal Guide!

The first step in determining the value of a dishwasher is to check to see how much of it is plastic.

Here are the scrap metals you can find in a dishwasher:

  • Brass (from nozzles)
  • Copper (in solenoids, transformers, and motors)
  • Wire 
  • Motors (used to spin rotor)
  • Steel 
  • Stainless Steel (used in rotor)
  • Heating Elements (To stop 
There are several key units to pull off of your dishwasher:
  1. Motor

    This is, in a majority of cases, the most valuable part of the dishwasher. Because every dishwasher is different, there isn’t really one, be-all-end-all, answer for how to remove them. Here are a few different set ups.

    This is a sideways mounted dishwasher motor, with an
    aluminum sheathed capacitor visible to the right
    This is an upright mounted dishwasher motor, with
    capacitor to the left, and black solinoid to the right. 
  2. The key to getting the most money is to remove the motor from the dishwasher (duh!). Don’t worry about breaking the motor. Use whatever method works best for you, weather it be brute force, or strict disassembly by removing the hardware.

  3. Solenoid
    The greatest part about scrap solenoids on a dishwasher are that they are so easy to break apart, and are pretty much entirely copper. With just a swing of a hammer you can knock that coil of copper apart, and then harvest its yummy insides.

    There is at least one or two of these on every dishwasher, and an example is pictured to the left. They vary in size and shape, but they are pretty easy to spot.

    The brackets of the scrap solenoid are generally very easy to pry apart, so pulling it out is really as simply as bending the bracket open with a pry bar.

  4. Scrap Wire, Wire Harness

    This stuff is worth pulling out!

    There is more wire in a dishwasher then you might expect, and a majority of the wire runs from the control panel down to the base through the front door. To pull out this scrap copper wire harness, cut the wire at the bottom of the dishwasher, then break open the control panel and pull out from inside the front panel. When removing the wire

  5. Stainless Steel

    Some dish washers can be made of almost entirely stainless steel! But the most common stainless steel component you will run into are: the spray arm, and the heating element.

    The bottom of the dishwasher tub: a stainless steel spray arm
    located directly above a nickel alloy heating element. 

    If you have a entirely non-magnetic dishwasher, you will need to clean it up completely before selling it as such. That means removing all plastic, all insulation, and any regular steel. Leaving a few small attachments, like screws, ect, should be ok.

    Note: Only non-magnetic stainless steel scrap is worth more then regular steel at a scrap yard.

  6. Heating Elements

    You know, the thing that gets hot! It is located directly above the motor,  but inside (as opposed to outside) of the main tub under the spray arm. It is pictured above, and is easily chopped out with a small bolt cutter.

    The heating element is a high nickel alloy, and should be bought at a better price then shred at your local scrap yard. 

Haul it Louisville Guy August 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I had no idea that there was more to a dishwasher then weight. I think you just made me some money. I am fairly new to this so thanks for the insight. Question: Is there silver in an electric motor? i have a friend who keeps telling me there is but I haven’t been able to find. Love the website. i will be visiting often

ScrapMetalJunkie August 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Your friend may be onto something. A small fraction of high power motors use silvered contacts, possibly silver in the brushes. Unfortunately, this is usually only in very high power motors. Even still, if you came across one, the amount of silver is worth relatively nothing compared to the rest of the metal.

Also, there is always a possibility that silver solder was used in place of lead solder.

Best of Luck!

chris ryant March 8, 2012 at 12:30 am

Hi , been scraping for awhile now and of the few dishwashers and microwaves i went as far as taking the motor out of,they were all alluminum wrapped around the motor, just painted to look like copper. Are any of the motors in these actually copper wrapped ?

ScrapMetalJunkie March 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Typically they will be aluminum, unless they are much older or if they are a newer “high efficiency” dishwasher.

scrappinjames July 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Man I LOVE this site! I bet the yards hate it because its keeping them from ripping off hard working people trying to make it, lol! Thanks for the heads up on the solenoid. Im a copper junkie so when I hit it with my hammer I danced a jig!

Theo June 7, 2013 at 3:11 am

Hello Guys

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the world! the information that you provide has turned me into a systematic scraper instead of a Gorilla ripping things apart.

Thanks agian

Mgk August 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm

What do you think the average dishwasher is worth in scrap? I just want to know if it would be worth it to go and get this dishwasher that I could get

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