Microwave Controls Not Doing Anything? 2 Steps to Fix

Person cleaning a microwave oven

Are your microwave controls not doing anything, and you’re unsure why?

You’re not alone! You might find it hard to believe, but unresponsive microwave controls are a common issue that affects thousands of people daily.

I know how annoying it can be to have your microwave controls not do anything, even after pressing them several times to no avail. But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find a list including 2 simple steps you can take to fix the problem.

When your microwave controls are not doing anything, try cleaning the buttons and consider a Control Panel failure.

Read on to get your microwave back to normal!

Why Your Microwave Controls Are Unresponsive

Although there’s no cookie-cutter answer, there are some common culprits behind such a situation, including grime or dirt buildup on the controls and faulty internal components. To get to the bottom of the situation as quickly as possible and address it successfully, here are some things I recommend you try.

#1 Clean the Buttons

The first thing you must consider when your microwave controls are not doing anything is how often you clean the appliance and how well-maintained you keep it overall.

Like washers, ovens, and any other household appliance that gets regular use, microwave ovens need frequent cleaning both inside their cooking compartment and around their internal/external components. I’ve found that if you don’t clean your microwave often, you can experience Control Panel malfunction due to gunk, food residue, and other debris building up on the buttons.

Solution: The simplest way to address a malfunctioning Control Panel and buttons is to thoroughly clean your appliance’s interface. You can use a damp towel with water to remove anything causing the appliance to fail.

Alternatively, if you want to disinfect the area fully, you can mix water and vinegar in equal parts and use that as a cleaning solution. Provided you want to go deeper, you can try removing the Control Panel’s external interface (where the buttons are) carefully and look for dirt or detached cables behind it.

The process to remove the external interface will vary from one microwave brand to another, so please check your User Manual for the right steps in your specific case. If you no longer have the manual handy, please refer to our free resource below.

#2 Consider a Bad Control Panel

If the Control Panel’s interface and all the buttons are clean, but your microwave controls are still not doing anything, there’s a good chance dirt and gunk weren’t the issue but rather a bad Control Panel.

Microwave Control Panels are designed to receive your input and adjust the appliance’s settings according to what you’ve dialed in. From what I’ve seen over the years, when the Control Panel fails, your microwave can’t communicate with its other internal components, and it won’t detect when you press the buttons in the frontal interface.

Person pressing microwave oven buttons
A faulty Control Panel can explain why your microwave oven’s buttons are not doing anything.

Solution: To test whether your microwave’s Control Panel is faulty, you’ll need to access the appliance directly. Unless you’re confident in what you’re doing, I strongly advise leaving the job to a professional technician.

Testing the Control Panel with a multimeter for continuity is always a great starting point, but you might also want to take a closer look at the cables going from the panel to the rest of the microwave to try to spot any detached/frayed/broken cables.

If you determine your microwave’s Control Panel is faulty, you’ll need to replace it. The cost of a new Control Panel will vary depending on your microwave’s brand and model.

Note: Please be extremely careful when opening your microwave, as there are internal components, like the Magnetron, that pose a serious risk to your well-being if handled incorrectly. Certified microwave technicians are required to pass specialized safety certifications before even coming close to repairing a microwave, so don’t take this DIY lightly.

Can You Fix a Faulty Control Panel for Free?

Although replacing a faulty microwave Control Panel is not always super expensive, if you can get it done for free, all the better, right?

Typically, when a microwave Control Panel fails for no apparent reason and is unrelated to user error or improper use, your manufacturer should cover the cost of repairs of any faulty internal component.

My usual advice is to check your warranty documents to see whether you’re still under coverage and what your manufacturer’s policies are in regard to either sending a technician to pay you a visit or taking your appliance for diagnosis and replacement.

In the best-case scenario, you’ll have a fully working again soon – and free of charge!

Getting Your Microwave’s Controls Working

That about covers it!

When your microwave controls are not doing anything, but everything else looks okay, it’s understandable that you feel frustrated and confused about what’s happening.

Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, addressing the most common causes behind a microwave with controls that are not doing anything is usually easy and quick. I’ve found that, in most cases, something as simple as cleaning the buttons interface frequently is more than enough to keep the appliance running like clockwork.

Thanks for reading. If this article was useful and answered your most burning questions, please check out our other resources and free guides below and consider subscribing to our newsletter. There’s always new knowledge waiting for you on this site.

Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more