Strain Relief For Dishwasher | Do I Need It?

Ever found yourself questioned by the complex components of your dishwasher and wondered if they’re all necessary?

The question of whether strain relief is essential for a dishwasher is a common dilemma faced by many homeowners and appliance enthusiasts.

Yes, strain relief for a dishwasher is a safety measure and vital to the appliance’s longevity, ensuring the electrical connections remain secure.

Dive into this comprehensive guide to understand the mechanics of strain relief, why it’s indispensable, and how it can save you from potential mishaps and costly repairs.

What is a Strain Relief on a Dishwasher?

Strain relief refers to a device or mechanism used to relieve stress or tension on electrical cables or wires.

In dishwasher installation, strain relief is specifically designed to prevent the electrical wires from being pulled or strained, which could lead to electrical hazards or appliance malfunctioning.

By providing a secure connection between the dishwasher and the power source, strain relief ensures the longevity and safety of your appliance.

When installing a dishwasher, ensuring proper strain relief is crucial. Strain relief helps protect the dishwasher’s electrical wiring from being damaged or disconnected due to excessive tension or pulling.

Types of Strain Relief

Strain reliefs are standard fixtures that protect electrical wiring from sharp edges when the dishwasher is ripped apart. They also prevent cable connections from breaking when they come into contact with hot water. These things can be made from various materials, including stainless steel, nickel-plated brass, nylon, and PVC-free polyvinyl chloride. 

There are several types of strain reliefs: Solid and Segmented.

Solid strain reliefs are generally easier to clean, while segmented ones are more flexible.

There’s also the two-moulded strain and custom-moulded strain. The former is used with bonded cable and offers superior resistance to moisture. The latter is cheaper and has a shorter lead time. While pre-manufactured strain reliefs are less flexible, they provide excellent performance and are more durable. They are also available in different colours.

If you need aesthetically pleasing strain relief for a dishwasher, go for moulded strain relief. Two-moulded strain reliefs are designed for installation through a cutout in the panel.

Another categorization of strain relief types is shown below according to their specific functions.

Cord Grip Strain Reliefs

Cord grips are commonly used in dishwasher installations. They provide a secure grip on the electrical cable, preventing it from being pulled out or damaged.

Strain Relief Bushings

Strain relief bushings are typically made of rubber or plastic and are inserted into a hole or opening in the dishwasher’s chassis. They help to absorb and distribute the tension on the electrical cable, reducing the risk of damage.

Cable Clamps

Cable clamps secure the electrical cable to the dishwasher’s chassis, preventing it from moving or being pulled out.

Alternatively, custom-moulded strain reliefs can be installed by snapping into place. They are not watertight and may not have as much cord security as the slide-on strain reliefs. Both types of strain reliefs have specific body styles for different applications.

When choosing the proper strain relief, it is essential to consider the type of cable that runs through the appliance.

Is a Strain Relief Necessary?

Yes, strain relief is essential for every dishwasher installation. It is a compulsory safety measure that should not be ignored. Without proper strain relief, the electrical wires of the dishwasher are vulnerable to damage or disconnection, which can lead to electrical hazards or appliance malfunctioning.

To install a strain relief on your dishwasher, you must first ensure that your dishwasher is directly wired. Then feed the power cord through the strain relief. Once inside the strain relief, attach the green grounding wire to a grounding screw on the terminal box.

You must also secure the black and white wires with wire nuts. The elbow fitting that attaches to the water inlet valve should have a strain relief attached.

Depending on your cable type, you may want to choose an over-moulded strain relief. This type of strain relief binds to the cable jacket and connector, which gives it better moisture resistance. 

In addition, pre-moulded strain reliefs are more cost-effective and can be shipped in a shorter lead time. But make sure you choose one with a good warranty, as strain reliefs are generally more expensive than the original models.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Strain Relief for a Dishwasher?

Not using strain relief in dishwasher installation can have serious consequences. Some potential risks include:

Electrical Hazards

Without strain relief, the electrical wires may become exposed or damaged, increasing the risk of electrical shocks or fires.

Malfunctioning of the Appliance

The dishwasher may malfunction or stop working altogether if the electrical wires are not securely connected.

Voiding Warranty

Many dishwasher manufacturers require strain relief as part of their installation guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines may void the warranty, leaving you responsible for any repairs or replacements.

What Does the Strain Relief Clamp Do?

The strain relief clamp protects the house wiring when the dishwasher is removed. The clamp prevents sharp edges and other sharp objects from damaging the electrical cables. 

Although the clamp is not considered an integral part of the dishwasher, its presence is essential to the electrical cables’ overall performance and electrical integrity. Strain relief clamps can be in the form of metallic connectors or grips crimped over the wires.

How to Install Strain Relief to Dishwasher?

Here’s how to install a strain relief clamp on your dishwasher. It is a relatively simple process. Follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Turn off the power: Before starting, turn off the power supply to the dishwasher.
  • Step 2: Locate the strain relief area. Check the dishwasher’s installation manual to identify the designated area for strain relief.
  • Step 3: Unscrew the lock nut that secures it to the junction box. Then, insert the wires from the dishwasher’s power cord into the junction box
  • Step 4: Connect the power cord to the dishwasher using a wire nut or cUL/UL-listed wire nuts. Pull the power cord through the strain relief, securing it to the junction box with the help of the lock nut or a strain relief screw. 
  • Step 5: Then place the wires from the dishwasher into the slot in the junction box. It’s as simple as ABC.
  • Step 6: Test the connection: Double-check the connection once the strain relief is installed to ensure it is secure and free from tension or strain.

Common Mistakes While Installing Strain Relief

While installing strain relief, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can compromise the mechanism’s effectiveness. Here are some tips to help you avoid these mistakes:

Insufficient Strain Relief

Ensure that the strain relief mechanism you choose is appropriate for the size and weight of the electrical cable. Using an insufficient strain relief mechanism may not provide adequate protection.

Faulty Installation

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing the strain relief mechanism. Drawbacks of installation can lead to ineffective strain relief or damage to the electrical cable.

Need to Maintain Regular

After installing strain relief, periodically check the connection to ensure it remains secure. Over time, the strain relief mechanism may loosen or wear out, requiring maintenance or replacement.

How Do You Use Strain Relief?

Depending on the application, the strain relief/cable gland can be mounted in two ways. The first way is to thread the strain relief into the panel and ease it through the clearance hole.

The second method uses a lock nut to secure the strain relief. If you have a small opening in your panel, you can also use mechanical strain relief. This type won’t provide as secure a seal as a slide-on strain relief.

A strain clamp absorbs push and pull forces, allowing the cables to pass. For easy installation, you can use slip-fit or channel lock pliers. These pliers fit snugly around the cable.

And if you’re removing a cable installation, you can also use channel-locking pliers to remove the strain relief bushing.

A strain relief made from PVDF is recommended for equipment in kitchens and food preparation areas because it does not retain oil, chemicals, and bacteria. If your dishwasher has nylon fittings, you’ll want to use a sealing compound to keep the connections together.


Strain relief for a dishwasher is essential to your electrical system, protecting your wiring from sharp edges. It prevents cable connections from breaking when the dishwasher is removed. 

The electrical cord has three colored wires, and strain reliefs are attached with a screw or nut on the front part. They fit into a back hole in your junction box, with two screws on either side.