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Dishwasher Not Starting

Is there anything worse than filling your dishwasher with dirty dishes after dinner only to realize that it’s not working? The good news is that it doesn’t always mean your dishwasher is broken. There are a few things that you can check on your own. Of course, this may depend on the make and model of your dishwasher.

Table of Contents

6 Possible Reasons Why Your Dishwasher is Not Starting or Not Operating

There are a handful of things that can cause a dishwasher not to start. Before getting to how to reset dishwasher machines, let’s do some quick troubleshooting to see what may be the reason for your dishwasher not starting. Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information. Here are some common causes:

  1. Door – Check whether the door is completely closed and latched. Typically, dishwashers are programmed to not turn on if not properly shut.
  2. Control Lock – If your dishwasher has a control lock feature, check whether you’ve turned the control lock off. If it’s on, the dishwasher may not be able to start.
  3. Sleep Mode – Some dishwashers have a sleep mode function. Make sure your dishwasher isn’t in sleep mode.
  4. Delayed Wash – Many dishwashers feature an option which allows you to delay the start of a wash cycle for a period of time. Make sure that you haven’t accidentally selected the delayed wash feature.
  5. Water Supply – Make sure that you’ve turned the water supply on. Check the product installation instructions to determine how to do this.
  6. Power – Check whether the power needs to be cycled to reset it.

Is the Control Lock "On" or Is the Dishwasher in Sleep Mode?

Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning any task, including how to check that a control lock is on or sleep mode feature is engaged, as they should be your primary source of information. Some dishwashers, which feature a control lock and/or sleep mode can be quickly checked by pressing any button on your dishwasher and, if the light flashes three times, it may be a sign that the control lock is on and you need to deactivate it. Often, to turn it off, you may need to press the control lock button and hold it for about four seconds.

Deactivation of a sleep mode may vary from dishwasher to dishwasher. For instance, to deactivate a sleep mode feature on some dishwashers, you can press one of the following buttons: Start, Resume, or Cancel. Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information.

dishwasher lock control button

Has a Delay Wash Option Been Selected?

If delay wash is selected, your dishwasher won’t start until the set time. This is useful for scheduling when to wash your dishes, for after you’ve finished watching a movie, for example, as some dishwashers may be noisy. But if you want to wash the dishes now, reset it. Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information. For example, some dishwashers can be reset by:

dishwasher delay control panel
  1. Press Cancel to cancel delay wash, and then
  2. Press Start or Resume to start the washing cycle.

Is the Door Completely Closed and Latched?

Maybe you didn’t close the door completely. The lower dish rack can sometimes prevent the door from latching, so inspect it.

Is the Water Supply Turned On to the Dishwasher?

Another reason for the dishwasher not turning on is no water. Make sure that the water supply is turned on. Look up the installation instructions if you’re not sure where the water is coming from.

Is the Selector Switch Fully Depressed?

If a selector switch isn’t fully engaged, it could prevent your dishwasher from starting. You can find the selector switches on the control panel and make sure that none of them is stuck. Generally, this can happen if a switch is loose or if you pressed it too lightly.

Is the Thermal Fuse Blown?

If the thermal fuse is blown, you’ll want to replace it. Replacing a fuse is fairly straightforward but finding the right size and rating may not be. Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information.

The good news is that you can typically have faulty parts replaced quickly and for a reasonable price. Check out The Appliance Pros, an authorized repair centre that stocks a full range of appliance parts for the Whirlpool Canada family of brands.

How to Reset the Dishwasher

You’ve tried everything and nothing’s helped. A dishwasher not starting could also mean something’s wrong with the system and your dishwasher may need a reset. Generally, for many dishwasher models, you only have to unplug the machine and wait a few minutes before plugging it in again. Always check and follow your appliance use and care instructions before beginning any task, as they should be your primary source of information.
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