If you absolutely hate doing dishes, your dishwasher is no doubt one of your most prized home appliances. After all, it takes the hard work out of the most repetitive of all household chores. But what if your dishwasher suddenly stops mid-cycle and the problem persists regardless of how many times you try to run it again?

Before you try fixing it panic, read on to find why your dishwasher might be stopping and the various fixes to try. 

A dish with a sad face drawing
It’s hard to come to grips with a dishwasher not getting dishes clean.

Why Your Dishwasher Keeps Stopping: Six Possible Reasons 

Most dishwashers start and stop multiple times whenever they drain. But if your dishwasher keeps on stopping mid-cycle it might have a problem and here are probable culprits:

A Broken or Damaged Latch

Similar to most home appliances, your dishwasher can only perform its function if the door is fully latched. The door latch assembly is connected to a sensor to automatically stop the cleaning cycle whenever the door is opened to prevent water from spashing. So, if your dishwasher stops mid-cycle and you can’t for the life of you figure out why, check whether the door is fully closed. Dishwasher doors often fail to close properly when

  • The dishes are sticking out: If that’s the case, remove and rearrange theml so the door can close. 
  • The dishwasher isn’t properly installed: if your dishwasher is slightly tilting in any direction, the door will keep on hitting the cabinet and won’t close properly. Check your dishwasher to ensure it’s on a leveled surface and if not, move it to a better location. 
  • Loose screws: if the screws securing your dishwasher door come lose even slightly, they tend to prevent it from closing. In this case, all you need to do is tighten the lose screws, and try closing the door again
  • The door latch is misaligned or damaged: although typically durable, banging your dishwasher’s door too hard can cause door latch misalignment. Try to reposition it and close the door.
  • The door latch is damaged: like any other electrical component, a dishwasher door latch also wears out over time. If your dishwasher’s door closes but the latch won’t activate, it’s probably faulty or just worn out. In that case, it would be best to replace the latch. Ensure you refer to your dishwasher user manual while at it as door latches can be pretty tricky to remove and replace. 
  • The strike plate is misaligned: the strike plate is the part your dishwasher’s latch goes into when you close the door. Similar to the latch, it can also get mislaigned when you consistently bang the dishwasher door too hard. Strike plates rarely get damaged so the only fix here would be to loosen the screws, and reposition it. 
  • Worn-out or damaged dishwasher door seal: the door gasket is the rubber fit around your dishwasher’s door. It provides a watertight seal and when it’s worn out, ripped or damaged in any way prevents the door from shutting tight. Inspect it for damage and if you notice any, have it replaced to fix the problem.    

A Tripped Fuse

Your home’s circuit breaker will automatically trip when a single appliance is consuming too much energy to prevent potential electrical fires. So, if the door seems to be in perfect working condition and your dishwasher has never stopped mid-cycle before, the issue might be just a tripped fuse. Fixing it is as simple as resetting the breaker. 

To confirm whether your dishwasher stopped due to a tripped breaker, check whether your dishwasher status indicator lights are on, or try powering other appliances in your kitchen. 

While at it, note, although a tripped fuse is easy to fix, if it keeps on tripping it might damage your dishwasher and other home appliances. Have your home’s wiring inspected if it occurs again. 

Blown Thermal Fuse

Most modern dishwashers feature a thermal fuse to protect them from overheating. When the fuse detects extreme heat, it automatically trips to prevent motor damage consequently causing your dishwasher to stop mid-cycle. Note, once it blows, a thermal fuse needs replacing. 

Check whether it’s blown to determine whether it’s the culprit behind your dishwasher woes. Besides overheating, a faulty thermal fuse could also be as a result of:

  • Water leaks: a damaged or broken dishwasher pump may leak water on the electrical elements causing the fuse to short circuit. 
  • Faulty dishwasher components: besides a damaged pump, a faulty heating element can also short circuit the thermal fuse, causing your dishwasher to stop. 
  • Worn out or damaged internal wiring: when the integrity of your dishwasher’s wiring is compromised, maybe due to wear and tear, or physical damage, it can short circuit your thermal fuse if it comes into contact with the frame. Check and replace any worn out, frayed, or physically damaged wires in your dishwasher to solve the problem. While at it, inspect the terminal block for damage or wear and tear as it can also trip the thermal fuse, or even trip your circuit breaker. 

How to Replace the Dishwasher Thermal Fuse

If your dishwasher keeps stopping due to a blown thermal fuse, you’ll need to replace it. Here’s how you go about it:

  • Unplug or turn off the power supply to your dishwasher
  • Detach the control panel by removing the screws
  • Remove the control board cover
  • Remove the blown thermal fuse and install the new one 
  • Put the board cover and the control panel back into place and try running your dishwasher again 

Motor Issues 

During cleaning cycles, the dishwater motor facilitates most of the action by spinning the spraying arms. A damaged motor usually fails to produce enough water pressure causing the dishwasher to stop during the cleaning cycle. Faulty dishwasher motors are usually as a result of excess soap buildup or problems with the circulation pump. 

If nothing is done, the motor deteriorates overtime and may cause seal damage resulting in water leaks. It’ll also fail altogether. Replacing it is the most efficient way to solve the problem.  Check out how to replace dishwasher motor below:

  • Completely drain and dry your dishwasher
  • Unplug from mains(always do this whenever you’re fixing or replacing any component of a dishwasher)
  • Lay the machine on its back and remove the screws to detach the base cover
  • Disconnect the flood switch, and all the electrical wiring to the drain pump. Do the same with the wash pump’s wiring 
  • Disconnect the pump from its mounting and remove it
  • Remove connection hoses and clips from the motor and refit them on the new motor
  • Install it, and reconnect all the parts you removed earlier 

In some instances, a faulty motor will continue humming even when your dishwasher stops. This shows it’s still receiving power, but due to damage cannot power your dishwasher’s spraying arms efficiently. Replacing it is still the most efficient solution. 

Problems with the Control Board 

Since it controls mos of the moving parts, a damaged control board will often cause your dishwasher to stop mid-cycle since it stops sending the required signals. Similar to most defective dishwasher machine components, the best way to fix the issue is by replacing the control board.

Vent and Fan Issues

The vent and fan keep your dishwasher running at peak performance by forcing hot air out during the drying process. When the fan fails, air is accumulated preventing dishes from drying and causing your dishwasher to stop mid-cycle. The control panel will also go blank. Replacing the vent and fan assembly is the recommended fix. 

Dishwasher Maintenance Tips 

A man repairing a dishwasher motor
Inspect the spinning arms at least once a month to remove food buildup.

The key to preventing problems such as the dishwasher stopping mid-cycle is proper maintenance. That said, here are a few maintenance tips to keep your dishwasher running at peak performance:

Clean the Edges, Door and Gasket Regularly 

Sometimes your door latch assembly not closing properly can be as a result of food gunk accumulating around the edges, and on the rubber gasket. 

To prevent your dishwasher from stopping mid-cycle due to door latch assembly issues caused by accumulated food gunk try to regularly clean the inside edges of its door, as well as the gasket. 

Use an old toothbrush to loosen up the gunk and then give it a wipe down using a hot water and vinegar solution. 

Use It Regularly 

If you live alone and barely cook, you probably use your dishwasher countable times a month. Even so, try to run the self-cleaning cycle or cook and do the dishes more often using your as running dishwasher cycles regularly helps keep your motor and other mechanical parts such as the pump working properly. This in turn prevents dishwasher mid-cycle stops due to motor or mechanical issues. 

Regularly Inspect and Clean Dishwasher Spinning Arms 

Your dishwasher’s spinning arms are the reason why your dishes come out squeaky clean. But, similar to most parts of a dishwasher, they can also accumulate food gunk which overtime, can lead to clogging. Inspect them at least once a month, and remove food buildup using a toothbrush or a piece of wire. While at it, test them to ensure they’re spinning properly. 

Don’t Forget to Clean the Filter 

While cleaning your dishwasher, don’t forget to clean the filter. It prevents food debris from getting into the drainage, and failure to clean it regularly can leave your dishwasher with unpleasant smells. Every once a month, take it out, and thoroughly clean it using a water and vinegar solution. The vinegar will not only easily loosen the dirt, it’ll also eliminate any odors it might have accumulated.  Powdered lemonade is also another excellent option. 

Call in a Professional 

Every once a year, call in a professional dishwasher expert and let him/her inspect your dishwasher. This is the easiest way to catch and fix minor problems before they blow up into costly repair problems. 

Conclusion 

A dishwasher stopping mid cycle is annoying and frustrating to say the least. On the bright side, it’s a problem you can easily solve yourself by trying out the above fixes.