It can be seriously frustrating to find that, after doing the hard work of rinsing and loading the dishwasher with all those dirty dishes, the machine doesn't react properly when the power button is pushed to the on position. The buttons may blink, or the unit may beep in response to the keypad being engaged, but for some reason the dishwasher fails to carry out the command.
There are many reasons why a dishwasher needs a reset, from a simple issue with a dirty door lock to a bad button push. Check the breaker and power source before calling a repair technician or replacing the item entirely.
Reset a Dishwasher
When the cycle doesn't start on a dishwasher, it could be that the start button was hit one too many times. This can cause lights to blink and for steady beeps to go off for 15 to 30 seconds. Most dishwashers can be reset by holding down the start button for three seconds or until you hear a beep.
If the dishwasher still doesn't roar to life, then read the keypad buttons to diagnose why the dishwasher won't start. The owner's manual can help you to discern what the steady or blinking lights may mean as well as the series of beeping sounds. Each make and model has its own language to alert the user to the appliance's many functions and misfunctions.
Dishwasher Won’t Start
The plug to the dishwasher is often found underneath the sink and to the left or right of the unit. This cavernous area can get crowded with oversized cleaning products and random objects that get knocked around. Check that the plug to the dishwasher hasn't been inadvertently knocked from its channel and is flush with the outlet.
A dishwasher might also pause in its cycle if the door isn't latched properly. Samsung recommends checking to see if the child lock is on. The Samsung dishwasher child lock will disengage all of the other buttons until the power or child lock button is held down for three seconds to release the door lock.
If the Whirlpool dishwasher won't start, then it may be in sleep mode and need the start/resume or cancel button to be pressed. Hold the button down for four seconds or until the lock or sleep mode light turns off, according to Whirlpool.
Troubleshooting Dishwasher Door Issues
If the dishwasher still doesn't start, then clean out the latch on the interior side of the door. This can get jammed with grime and bits of food. A mucked up sensor can't let the dishwasher know it's safe to begin the cycle.
Clean the rubbery seal around the door of the dishwasher regularly to ensure it closes well and take a cotton swab to the narrow latching hook opening to fish out bits of food or soap buildup. A mix of one-part vinegar to one-part water is gentle but effective enough to clean out the gasket.
When to Call a Professional
After all that troubleshooting, if the dishwasher continues to stall when engaged, it could be a problem with the electrical panel or motor. A professional repair person can diagnose what is wrong with the dishwasher and replace any parts within the appliance.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.