A dishwasher that won’t start leaves you with a pile of dirty dishes and just as many questions. Why won’t my dishwasher start on command? The wrong control panel setting can prevent an immediate start. Pinpoint the most likely reason your dishwasher won’t turn on with these common causes.

Dishwasher Won’t Turn On? Here’s What to Do.

While a part malfunction may require a professional repair, there’s often a DIY solution when your dishwasher won’t turn on. From restoring its power source to replacing the thermal fuse, here’s how to solve the problem.

Power Supply Problem

If your dishwasher won’t turn on, first check its power sources. Without adequate electrical power, a dishwasher can’t start or perform any function.

These power supply problems will prevent the dishwasher from starting:

  • Power cord isn’t properly plugged in: Make sure the dishwasher’s cord is completely plugged into a functioning outlet. Many dishwasher outlets are behind cabinets where stored items can jostle the cord out of place.
  • Tripped breaker: Check your home’s circuit breaker box and reposition any tripped breakers.
  • Use of extension cord: Extension cords can’t safely conduct the voltage required for a dishwasher to operate, causing surges that cut off power.

Incorrect Dishwasher Setting

The wrong cycle setting can also be responsible for a dishwasher not starting. Many dishwashers have a child lock feature that locks all functions to prevent an accidental start. The delay start function can also prevent an immediate start by beginning a wash cycle at a preselected later time. If either of these features is activated, the dishwasher won’t start on command.

Refer to your user manual to determine how to disable the child lock or delay start setting on your model dishwasher. Often, pressing a series of buttons or simply turning the dishwasher off deactivates a particular setting.

Failed Door Latch

Once activated, the dishwasher door latch holds the door securely closed and signals the internal control panel that a wash cycle can begin. If the latch suffers either a mechanical or electronic failure, it will fail to signal the control panel and the dishwasher won’t turn on.

Inspect the door latch for signs of damage or test it with a multimeter to determine if it has continuity. If the latch shows visible damage or fails multimeter testing with a lack of continuity, it must be replaced.

Control Panel Malfunction

Is your dishwasher not starting even though the latch is functioning? Several possible control panel malfunctions can prevent it from starting.

dishwasher won't turn on

These control panel issues can halt an immediate start:

  • Pushing the Start button more than once: Often, pushing the Start button multiple times results in the dishwasher running a short drain cycle. Wondering how to reset a dishwasher once this drain cycle has begun? Allow 60-90 seconds for it to complete before giving the Start button a single push. 
  • Failed start switch: If you find the dishwasher Start button not working but other buttons illuminate, the start switch behind it may have broken. If the switch shows no continuity with multimeter testing it requires replacement.
  • Faulty control panel: If you find that none of the dishwasher’s lights are on despite trying multiple functions, the control panel may have malfunctioned. Once this computerized component no longer processes electrical signals, it must be professionally replaced.

Electronic Timer is Faulty

If your dishwasher still doesn’t start on command, it’s possible that its electronic timer is faulty. A dishwasher’s timer governs when power is sent to a particular function of the wash cycle. If you find your dishwasher not draining water properly or not starting as it should, it’s possible the timer or its connection to the control panel has failed.

A faulty timer should be assessed and replaced by a professional repair service.

Whether you’re wondering how to clean a dishwasher or how to get it to start, the team at Solar Appliance can help.  Call us for expert advice or to schedule a dishwasher repair!