Informational Guide

Dishwasher Won't Start Or Turn On?

by Ian Haynes

There are many different types and brands of dishwashers available on the market today. It can be challenging to troubleshoot dishwasher problems because of the differences between models 

However, this guide will help you narrow down the issues plaguing your dishwasher and give you several solutions to your dishwasher problems. If your dishwasher won't turn on/start, we have the answer.  

There are many different reasons that a dishwasher might not start, but these are the most common reasons we’ve found:  

Power Supply  

The power supply is one of the most common reasons why your dishwasher won’t start. If there is no power, the control panel and motor will not turn on. Make sure that your dishwasher is plugged in and that the circuit breakers haven’t been tripped. Make sure that your dishwasher buttons light up when pressed. We also recommend checking the cord to make sure that it hasn’t been damaged in any way.  

Door Latch Switch 

A door latch switch issue is another common problem. A jammed latch will keep the door from properly sealing, which will prevent the dishwasher from starting. Check to see if the latch is jammed. Sometimes this happens when old pieces of food or soap buildup get stuck to the latch. This can prevent the switch from triggering. 

load dishwasher

The child lock can also prevent the door from latching. Check to make sure that the child latch is not on. Another door latch switch issue is a broken latch. If you notice that the latch is broken or bent, this can keep the door from properly locking. If the latch is broken, you will need to replace it with a new one.  

Control Panel 

The control panel can malfunction, which prohibits your ability to “talk” with your dishwasher. The control panel is what tells your dishwasher to start and tells it what cycle to run. There are several pieces in the control panel that can malfunction and create problems. For example, the Hung Cycle settings appear when your dishwasher stops midway through a cycle. To combat this, try resetting the dishwasher. The Start Switch can also malfunction (you'll know if the start button does not work as it should). This typically involves checking the switches and possibly replacing them if they are broken.  

The Selector Switches and Electric Timer Control are also control panel pieces that need to be checked. The selector switches allow you to choose between the different settings on the dishwasher. The electric timer control is what decides how long the appliance runs and switches between each setting (wash to dry to steam, etc.).  

Internal Components 

Internal components are the most difficult to diagnose when looking at a malfunctioning dishwasher, but these components are critical to your dishwasher’s ability to function. The motor start relay is the internal component that lets your dishwasher know when to start. It relays the signal to the motor to get it started. If the thermal fuse isn't working, you might see sparks when you try to start your dishwasher.  

The thermal fuse helps prevent fires, and if it isn't working, the dishwasher won't start. Another internal component that could be malfunctioning is the drive motor, which is responsible for providing power to your appliance. If this isn’t working, you will need to replace the entire motor.  


Troubleshooting Your Dishwasher That Won’t Turn On (DIY Fixes) 

If your dishwasher won’t start, it’s time to troubleshoot the problem and see if there is a way to fix it. Start by unplugging your dishwasher and then plugging it back in. If your dishwasher isn’t plugged in or the circuit breaker has tripped, then it won’t start. This is the first step to take to get your dishwasher to start again.  

The next step is to check for a child lock. Some dishwashers come with a child lock feature, and if it is turned on, the device won't start. The next step is to reset the dishwasher. Try pressing down on the start button for 90 seconds once the dishwasher has started (you must choose a start cycle). Check your manufacturer’s guidelines on how to reset the dishwasher if pressing the start button doesn’t work.  

If those three simple DIY fixes didn’t work for you, it’s time to start looking at the machine. Even the quietest dishwashers can make noise when problems arise. If you notice that your dishwasher is making a lot of noise during the cycle, then the issue may be inside of the machine.  

Check the door latch on the device and make sure that it properly latches when closed. Use a multimeter to check the internal timer and control panel of the dishwasher to make sure that it works. The power should be turned off when using the multimeter.  

We also recommend checking the thermal fuse with the multimeter. If you find a problem, you can purchase a replacement part. If you cannot find anything wrong with the multimeter, it is time to bring in a professional mechanic.  

Tips To Avoid A Broken Dishwasher (Maintenance Guide) 

There are several tips that you can implement to help your dishwasher last longer and avoid ending up with a broken dishwasher that won't start. The first is to use your dishwasher regularly. This will keep food or water from sitting in the bottom of the dishwasher and keep the filter active.  

The second tip is to keep the dishwasher arms clean. Most dishwashers have spinning arms that provide water power and help clean the dishes. If these arms become dirty or residue builds up, the nozzle can become blocked, and the dishwasher won't start. If it does start, it won't clean the dishes. Our third tip is to regularly run the self-cleaning cycle (approximately once every month). This will increase the  

Dishwasher Blinking Lights Or Beeping Sounds (What Does It Mean?) 

A beeping sound coming from your dishwasher can be annoying. The best way to deal with this is to look at your user manual. Most of the time, a beeping sound indicates that the door to your dishwasher has become disconnected and needs to be reattached. Simply close the door, and the dishwasher should restart.  

If you see blinking lights, this normally indicates that the dishwasher is beginning to restart. You should see the lights stop within 90 seconds. If this does not happen, we recommend turning off the dishwasher manually and restarting it.  


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I know if my dishwasher fuse is blown? 

The best way to know if your dishwasher fuse has blown is to check the control board. If the control board isn’t receiving any power, then you know that the fuse has blown. If you aren’t sure how to check your control board, refer to the dishwasher instruction manual.  

Who do you call when your dishwasher breaks? 

If your dishwasher breaks, you should either call your dishwasher's manufacturer, or you should call a plumber. If you have a warranty left on the dishwasher, then the manufacturer can help you schedule an appointment to take care of the problem. If you do not have a warranty left, then you will need to contact a plumber if you cannot fix the problem on your own.  

Do all dishwashers have a reset button?

Not all dishwashers have a reset button, but most dishwashers do. This button is simply the start button. You can test your dishwasher by holding the start button down and counting to four. This should restart the dishwasher. You may also hear a beep.  

How much does it cost to repair a dishwasher? 

The cost to repair a dishwasher varies greatly depending on the type of problem that you are experiencing with your dishwasher. Most dishwasher repair jobs cost between $100 and $600. The average cost tends to be around $200—$300.  

How much does it cost to replace a dishwasher control board? 

The cost to replace a dishwasher control board is approximately $200 to $550. The price varies based on the manufacturer and the dishwasher model.  


Although a dishwasher that won’t start or turn on doesn’t have a universal fix, there are many solutions that can solve the problem before calling in a plumber. If you have reset your dishwasher, checked the control board, the power supply, the door latch, and tried our other solutions, it might be time to call in a plumber.  

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.