Dishwasher Won’t Turn On? Try These 9 Quick Fixes


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 circuit breaker, reset your appliance, disable the child lock, and inspect the connections. I also recommend making sure the door latch, control board, thermal fuse, and drive motor are working correctly.

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

Why trust us? This article was written in collaboration with two appliance repair experts: James Blackford & Andy Fulencheck. We have over 25 years of combined appliance repair experience – please see our profiles to learn more about our backgrounds.

How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won’t Turn On: 9 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 Circuit Breaker

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.

Most dishwashers and garbage disposals share the same circuit. So, to check if that’s the case, simply try turning on your garbage disposal.

If it doesn’t turn on, go to the breaker box, locate the corresponding switch, and turn it on.

If you find that the switch was already turned on, please turn it off and then back on to reset the breaker.

#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 Disable the Child Lock

If your dishwasher won’t turn on, there’s a good chance the child lock or control lock is activated. This button is normally located in the control panel.

To disable the child lock, simply press the padlock or key button for 3-6 seconds.

#4 Check the Door Latch

If you’ve selected a cycle on your dishwasher, pressed the start button, and closed the door, but nothing happens, you need to pay attention to the lights. If they start blinking after a few seconds, it indicates a potential issue with the door latch or door sensor.

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, which is typically on the door itself. 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 inspect the latch mechanism.

Look for any signs of damage. If you notice any issues, you’ll need to replace the door latch. Don’t worry, though – a door latch usually costs around $30-$80, and you can easily replace it yourself.

Please read your dishwasher’s manual for detailed instructions.

#5 Check the Connections

If that was not the issue, then you’ll need to inspect the connections where the wires of your house meet the wires of the dishwasher. If they’re burnt or damaged, your dishwasher may not turn on or smell like burning.

To check if that’s the case, please follow these simple instructions:

  1. Turn off the breaker connected to the dishwasher to ensure your safety.
  2. Locate the access panel and unscrew it to gain access to the junction box that houses the wiring connections (small gray box).
  3. In the junction box, inspect the wires. Look for any signs of burnt connections.
  4. If you find a burnt wire, please remove the old cap, clean up the wire, and reassemble the connection.

But, if the connections do not appear burnt, carefully pull out the wires enough to insert a multimeter. Then, place one meter prone on the white wire and the other probe on the black one.

Set your multimeter to measure AC voltage and turn the breaker back on to check if you’re getting around 110 volts of electricity. If that’s not the case, the problem may lie with the control board or a fuse.

Read on to learn how to solve these problems!

#6 Test the Timer / Control Board

If you have proper voltage at the wires, but the dishwasher still won’t turn on, you’ll need to check the control board.

Older dishwashers use a mechanical timer, while newer models use a circuit board. Depending on which you have, both could be causing issues with the dishwasher not turning on.

To check if that’s the case, first, you’ll need to turn off the circuit breaker and locate the timer or control board. This can vary depending on the brand and dishwasher model.

Most dishwashers have the control board located in the upper panel where the buttons are. However, in some models, you may need to pull out the dishwasher to access the control board, which is typically located at the bottom.

Please note that the most challenging part is gaining access to the control board. So I strongly recommend checking your manufacturer’s manual or searching for videos online.

Once you’ve accessed the timer or board, test it for continuity to gauge whether it could be a cause of the issue.

Control boards are very easy to replace and can vary in price, typically ranging from $80 to $300, depending on your dishwasher’s model.

#7 Check the Thermal Fuse

As you may already know, the thermal fuse is a safety device that protects your appliance from overheating.

So, if your thermal fuse has blown, your dishwasher won’t turn on. To check if that’s the case, you’ll need to:

  1. Find the location of the thermal fuse via manuals or tech sheets online.
  2. Unplug your dishwasher from the power source and make sure it’s dry.
  3. Access the fuse.
  4. Disconnect the two wires that connect the fuse to the control panel.
  5. 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.

Bear in mind that the thermal fuse is a failsafe. It will blow if the dishwasher gets too hot – but it’s not the cause of a problem. If your fuse has gone, it’s a sign of a deeper problem. Often investigating this and solving the issue will need professional help – but the costs can add up quick.

In many cases, it may be best to consider a new model altogether!

#8 Check the Water Valve

If you’ve selected a cycle, there are no blinking lights, and you hear the motor running, but the dishwasher remains idle without cleaning, it’s likely that it isn’t filling up with water.

To check if that’s the case, simply open the door slightly and see if it’s filling up with water. If it’s not, there’s a good chance the water valve is damaged or malfunctioning.

Typically, you can access the water valve from the front of the dishwasher. However, it’s important to note that certain models, such as Samsung units, may have more complicated access.

But, once you’ve gained access to the water valve, replacing it is usually a straightforward task and can be done at a relatively affordable cost, ranging from $20-$60.

#9 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. The location and instructions again varies by model. Remember, you should get a reading of zero, or close to zero.

If that’s not the case, we 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.


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, connections, control board, thermal fuse, 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!

James Blackford is an Appliance Repair Expert with over 16 years of experience. After spending over 15 years working as an Electronic and Appliance Technician for Sears, James is now a Master Technician for SquareTrade. In addition to his Master Technician role, James also operates a small appliance repair business, putting his skills to use serving his local community in Clovis, New Mexico. Over the years, James has diagnosed and repaired thousands of appliances. He’s worked on almost every home appliance, from dishwashers to garbage disposals. James is one of our most knowledgeable appliance experts, and we’re fortunate to have his input on many of our guides. Outside of his work, James is a devoted husband and father – who has a passion for writing, nature, and smoking some of the best briskets in New Mexico. Read more