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technician checking inside the dishwasher to find reasons why the dishwasher is not starting

Dishwasher Not Starting

The last thing you want to happen after a big family dinner is to load up all the dirty dishes, cutlery, and glasses into the dishwasher, only to discover it won’t start. The good news is that there are typically a few common culprits and some can be easily fixed.

In this article, we’ll guide you through assessing potential reasons for why your dishwasher isn’t working the way it should, and suggest some actions to take.

Dishwasher Troubleshooting Supplies:

Here is a list of tools that will make it easier for you to troubleshoot your dishwasher:


  • Shallow pan or bucket
  • Towel or large piece of cardboard
  • Flashlight
  • Water line installation kit
  • Power cord


  • Parts included with your dishwasher
  • Cordless drill
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Socket wrench
  • Screwdrivers
  • Level
  • Pliers
  • Utility knife
technician checking dishwasher rack

Reasons Why Your Dishwasher Is Not Working

Here are some possible causes of a dishwasher not working:

  • The control lock is on
  • Sleep mode is on for the dishwasher
  • A delayed wash option was accidentally selected
  • Dishwasher door is not fully closed and latched
  • Water supply was shut off
  • The power needs to be cycled to reset the dishwasher

To help you determine if any of these may be causing your dishwasher to malfunction, let us examine each one in more detail.

Control Lock: What is it?
Control locks prevent accidental use of dishwasher controls. They can be used even when the machine is off, which is particularly useful for households with children.

Is the Control Lock On?
Unintended use can cause a dishwasher to not work. Use the control lock to safeguard against unintended use, including unintended cycle or option changes mid-cycle.

You will be notified that the control lock feature has been activated for a short amount of time by the light on the control lock. The buttons will be disabled during this time. The light will flash three times if you press a button while the controls are locked. Press and hold the lock button for four seconds to turn off the control lock.

Is the Dishwasher in Sleep Mode?
Certain dishwasher models have a sleep mode function. To disable sleep mode, look for a START/RESUME or CANCEL button. To turn off the control lock, you may need to open and close the door.

Have you selected the Delay Wash option?
Your dishwasher can be run at a later time when you select the delay wash option. When this option is selected, the dishwasher will begin operating once the delay time has been reached. You can wash a load while you are asleep or while you are away or, if you wish, during off-peak electrical hours.

To turn delay wash on or off:

  • Press CANCEL/DRAIN to cancel the delay.
  • Press START/RESUME to start the cycle.

Is the Door Completely Closed and Latched?
In order for the dishwasher to work, the door must be closed and latched. If the lower dish rack is installed backward, the door will not latch properly. 

Is the Dishwasher’s Water Supply On?
Water supply problems can cause a dishwasher to stop working. Make sure the dishwasher’s water supply is on.

If you are unsure how to inspect this, refer to the installation instructions for your specific model. For this issue, we recommend contacting our Certified Service Technicians.

technician unscrews bottom dishwasher panel to asses why dishwasher is not starting

How to Reset a Dishwasher

In some cases, a dishwasher simply needs to be reset. The first step in resetting your dishwasher control is to find the power source.

  • Dishwashers connected to outlets and not to breaker panels or circuit breakers should be unplugged for a minute, then plugged in again.
  • For dishwashers that are hardwired to their power supply, first turn off the breaker at the main electrical panel that powers the dishwasher for one minute. Then turn it back on.

My Dishwasher is Still Not Starting. What Should I Do?

If you haven’t had success using the steps above, it may be time to schedule service for your dishwasher so that a professional can take a look. Our Certified Technicians are here for you. Schedule an appointment or call us toll free at 1-833-585-PROS (7767).