Stuck trying to figure out why your dishwasher won’t turn on?

Unfortunately, I’ve been there too. I know how annoying it can be to have this happen. After all, dishwashers should make our lives easier, not the opposite.

But, the good news is that you’ve come to the right place to get this issue fixed.

If your dishwasher won’t turn on, you’ll need to check the power supply, reset your appliance, and disable the child lock. I also recommend making sure the door latch, timer, thermal fuse, selector switch and drive motor are working correctly.

Keep reading to learn more about these fixes and forget all about the problem!

How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won’t Turn On: 8 Easy Steps

Although dishwashers are great appliances, they can have performance issues.

They have hundreds of components, and if one of these is broken or damaged, your dishwasher will refuse to turn on, or it will stop working.

But don’t worry, I’ve prepared a list of the components that you need to check to fix the issue. These are:

#1 Check the Power Supply

Before doing anything else, please make sure that your dishwasher is properly plugged into the wall outlet.

You see, dishwashers may accidentally unplug due to their vibrations or other kitchen appliances that may be connected to the same outlet.

To check if that’s the case, please pull the dishwasher out from the counter and check if it’s plugged in. Then, make sure the power cord is not damaged.

But, if the power cord is fine and the dishwasher was plugged in, there’s a good chance the circuit breaker tripped.

In that case, you’ll need to head over to your breaker box, flip the breaker to the “off” position and turn it back on.

#2 Reset Your Dishwasher

If you checked the power supply, but your dishwasher is still not turning on, chances are you pushed the start button more than once.

When this happens, the dishwasher can get stuck between cycles and stop working as it should. To solve this issue, you’ll need to reset it.

This process may vary depending on your dishwasher’s model, but you can try pressing the start button again and waiting until the drain cycle is complete.

If you have a Whirlpool dishwasher, it may be stuck in sleep mode. If that’s the case, please press the start or cancel button for four seconds.

You can also try unplugging your dishwasher and plugging it back into the wall outlet. Sometimes this is the most effective way to reset your appliance.

#3 Check the Door Latch

Now, it’s time for us to make sure the door latch is not damaged.

You see, the door latch is in charge of telling your appliance that the door is closed, so it can start running a wash cycle.

Unfortunately, if the door latch is defective, your dishwasher may think the door is open, and it won’t turn on.

Dishwasher door
Check your dishwasher’s door latch to see if it’s damaged

So, the first thing I recommend doing is inspecting the door latch. If you see food, soap, or grime stuck in the latch, please clean it and close the door again to see if the issue was solved.

However, if your dishwasher is still not turning on, then you might want to disconnect the dishwasher and test the microswitch with a multimeter.

If the reading is at zero o near zero, the switches are working correctly. But, if that’s not the case, you’ll need to replace the door latch.

If you have an older model, you’ll need to open up the door latch, unscrew the latch, remove it, and screw a new latch in.

But, if you have a newer model, there’s a good chance you’ll need to take off the inner door panel or control panel to access the door latch. To do it, you’ll need to disconnect the water and power supply.

Then, replace the old latch with a new one. Don’t forget to reconnect the wires before putting the control panel back in place.

If you want detailed instructions, please read your dishwasher’s manual, since the process of replacing a door latch may vary depending on what model you have.

Or, you can also call a professional to help you.

#4 Disable the Child Lock

Most modern dishwashers have a child lock that prevents children from changing settings after a wash cycle has been set.

Although this is great if you have kids, having the child lock enabled could explain why your dishwasher won’t turn on.

But, don’t worry. You can easily disable it by pressing the padlock or key button for 3–5 seconds. It is normally located in the control panel.

#5 Test the Timer

If you tried the fixes above, but your dishwasher is still not turning on, you might have a faulty timer.

To check if that’s the case, first, you’ll need to unplug your dishwasher from the power source and locate the timer.

Timers are often found on the control panel at the top of the dishwasher door or behind the lower kick plate at the bottom of your appliance.

Once you know where the timer is, you’ll need to remove some screws to access the inner part of the control panel or kick plate.

Bear in mind that with some dishwashers, you’ll need to remove the entire internal or external door panel, this is why I recommend checking the manual.

Once you’ve located the timer, please set your multimeter to Rx1000. Then, take each probe, touch it to one wire and check your dishwasher’s manual to see the expected values (a normal reading for dishwashers is 2000 – 3500 ohms)

 If you’re not getting the expected values, you’ll need to replace the timer.

#6 Check the Thermal Fuse

As you may already know, the thermal fuse protects your appliance from overheating.

So, if it is broken or damaged, your dishwasher won’t turn on. To check if that’s the case, you’ll need to:

  1. Unplug your dishwasher from the power source and make sure it’s dry.
  2. Remove the screws on the interior of your machine that secure the control panel. Then, access the control panel.
  3. Disconnect the two wires that connect the fuse to the control panel.
  4. Set your multimeter to Rx1. Then, use a probe to touch one of the fuse’s terminals and a different probe to touch the other terminal.

If the reading is zero or near this number, then the thermal fuse has continuity (it works correctly). But, if that’s not the case, the fuse has probably blown and will need to be replaced.

#7 Check the Selector Switch

Another component that you must check is the selector switch since this is in charge of changing your dishwasher settings.

If your dishwasher won’t turn on, there’s a good chance the selector switch is stuck or damaged.

This is why I recommend checking the control panel and pushing the switch to avoid having it stuck. Then, you’ll need to unplug the dishwasher from the wall outlet and remove the selector switch from the control panel.

Once you’ve done that, please set your multimeter to Rx1 and test the selector switch. Your multimeter should display a reading of zero.

If the reading is not equal to zero, you’ll need to replace the selector switch.

#8 Make Sure the Drive Motor Is Not Damaged

The driver motor is in charge of providing power to your appliance so it can work correctly. If it’s damaged, your dishwasher won’t turn on or perform other tasks.

This is why you need to unplug your dishwasher from the power source and locate its motor. It is normally placed behind the lower access panel.

Once you’ve located it, you’ll need to remove the screws that are holding the panel in place. Then, please disconnect the wires from the motor.

Moving on, you’ll need to remove the drive motor and test it with a multimeter. Remember, you should get a reading of zero, or close to zero.

If that’s not the case, I recommend calling a professional so they can install a replacement.

Call a professional to replace your dishwasher's motor
If your dishwasher’s drive motor is damaged, you’ll need to call a professional to replace it.

Finding Your Dishwasher’s Manual

As much as I’d like, I can’t provide one set of instructions for every dishwasher because there are thousands of different models out there.

So, if you can’t find your dishwasher’s manual, I recommend going to Google and searching for the brand of your dishwasher, and its model.

For example, if you have a Whirlpool dishwasher, you’ll need to search for “Whirlpool [model] Dishwasher Manual PDF”

Normally, you’ll be able to find your dishwasher’s model number in a label inside the appliance on the left, right, or top. It can also be found on the top of the door itself or on its side.

Once you’ve found the manual, please download it and check the instructions, so you can safely test your dishwasher’s components or replace them.

Conclusion

That about covers it! Hopefully, with the help of this article, you’ll be able to solve the issue in no time.

If you take anything away, please remember that if your dishwasher won’t turn on, you’ll need to check the power supply, reset your machine, and disable the child lock.

Moreover, don’t forget to make sure that the door latch, timer, thermal fuse, selector switch, and drive motor are not damaged.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. If you ever experience a different issue while using your dishwasher, don’t forget to check out our related posts below.

Have a great day!