Washing Machine Won’t Start? 7 Quick Fixes to Try

washer won't start

Wondering why your washing machine won’t start the cycle?

I’ve been there too! Being unable to use your washer because it’s experiencing issues can be quite frustrating.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for answers.

If your washing machine won’t start, check the power supply, turn off the child lock, make sure the door is fully closed, test the buttons, and look for error codes. If the issue persists, please examine the interface and main control boards.

Read on to get your washer working again!

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and James Blackford.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

James is one of our resident appliance experts, with over 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair business.

7 Simple Fixes for a Washer That Won’t Start

Different reasons can explain why your washing machine refuses to start the cycle. But don’t worry – in this section, I’ll provide various tips you can try to solve the issue in no time.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

#1 Check the Power Supply

If your washer won’t start, please make sure it’s receiving power.

I know that checking the power supply sounds like a simple solution, but believe me, it’s quite common for the power cord to accidentally become unplugged due to the washer’s movement.

So, please take a moment to check the power cord and ensure it’s securely connected to both the washer and the outlet. If you notice any signs of damage, replace it with a new one.

It’s also important to check the power outlet because if it’s faulty, it can cause intermittent power issues. The easiest way to test the outlet is by plugging a different device, such as a lamp. If the lamp doesn’t turn on, the issue is with the household power, and you’ll need to contact an electrician.

However, if your washing machine lights up and receives power, then please keep reading for further troubleshooting.

#2 Turn Off the Child Lock

If your washer is receiving power but doesn’t start the cycle, the Child Lock is probably turned on.

You see, some modern washers have a feature that prevents children from accidentally starting the washer or changing the settings and getting hurt. When the Child Lock is turned on, the buttons won’t respond.

Please check the display. If you see a lock symbol or specific code like “CL,” refer to the manufacturer’s manual to learn what combination of buttons you need to press to turn the Child Lock off.

#3 Check the Door or Lid

I find that when a washing machine won’t start the cycle is typically due to an issue with the door or lid.

Your washer won’t start if the door is not properly closed, so please firmly push the door until you hear a “click”. Make sure no clothes are obstructing the door.

If you don’t hear a click when the door closes, the latch is probably faulty. Please visually inspect the latch and replace it if it appears damaged.

Note: Whenever you lock your washer’s door, you should only hear a single click, not several.

Washer door latch
If your washer won’t start because the door isn’t closing, check the door latch.

If your washing machine still won’t start, the next step is to check the door switch.

The door switch is a safety mechanism that signals the control system to prevent operation if the door is open. Unfortunately, if the door switch is faulty, it will mistakenly indicate that the door is open even when closed, preventing your washer from starting the cycle.

Please access the door switch, typically located near the latch (check your manual for detailed instructions.) Then, check the wiring or use a multimeter to perform a continuity test on the door switch. If it’s faulty, replace it with a new, compatible one.

Find any replacement part:

#4 Test the Buttons

If your washer still refuses to start the cycle despite pressing the Start button, please check the buttons.

washer's buttons
Check your washer’s buttons.

While uncommon, the Start button could be stuck or jammed. In such cases, you’ll need to press the button gently from different angles. If it doesn’t pop back out, clean around the button with a cotton swab, an old toothbrush, and a mild cleaner.

However, if the Start button isn’t stuck and you notice other buttons are also unresponsive, please unplug your washer and inspect the wiring and interface board. If you see any signs of damage, it’s best to consult your warranty status and call an appliance expert.

#5 Look for Error Codes

If your washing machine makes noises and shows some activity but doesn’t start, I recommend checking the display.

Most modern washing machines will display an error code indicating that something is wrong, which can prevent the unit from starting or stop the washing cycle.

Error messages will vary depending on the specific brand and model you own. However, they typically indicate a software glitch, power failure, an unbalanced load, or an issue with the drainage system or water supply.

Click here to check out our troubleshooting guide for the most common error codes in five popular washing machine brands.

Try performing a hard reset to clear the error code and get your washing machine working again. To do so, unplug the washer, wait a few minutes, and plug it back in.

Note: If you can’t move your washer, turn it off at the circuit breaker.

circuit breaker switch
Go to the circuit breaker and reset your washing machine.

If you’ve tried resetting your washer, but it still refuses to start the cycle, then the issue probably lies within the interface or main control board. Read on to learn more!

#6 Examine the Interface Board

From what I’ve seen, a malfunctioning interface board could also explain why your washer won’t start a cycle.

The interface board is one of the most important components in your washer, as it communicates to the main control board what button you’ve selected.

If you press the Start button or other buttons, but your washer doesn’t start a cycle, the interface board is probably not sending the necessary signals to the main board. In such cases, I find it best to call a technician.

Keep in mind that replacing the interface board can be expensive, as it can cost up to $400! So, if your washer is no longer under warranty, please consider its age. Sometimes, it’s more cost-effective to replace the entire unit.

#7 Check the Main Control Board

If you’ve tried all of the fixes above, but your washer still refuses to start, it’s time to check the main control board.

You can think of the main control board as the brain of your washing machine, as it manages all of its functions. If the control board is faulty, it won’t be able to execute the signals received from the interface board to start a cycle.

Removing washer circuit board
Your washer’s main control board is responsible for controlling various functions.

Replacing the control board can also be challenging. Therefore, it’s best to contact a professional to confirm whether the main control board is indeed the issue. If it is, compare the repair cost with the price of a new washing machine. Remember that sometimes, replacing the entire unit can be more cost-effective.

Wrapping Up: Getting Your Washer Back in Action

Hopefully, now you know how to get your washer working again.

Remember that if your washing machine won’t start a cycle, you must ensure it’s receiving power. If it is, turn off the child lock, check the door latch and switch, test the buttons, and look for error codes.

Don’t forget that if the issue persists, you’ll need to call a professional to check the interface and main control boards.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this guide. If you ever experience a different issue while using your washing machine, please check out our related posts below.

Good luck!

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
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