What Do I Do If My Dishwasher Does Not Work?

Written by misty faucheux
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What Do I Do If My Dishwasher Does Not Work?
Repair common dishwasher problems yourself, and save money. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A dishwasher has a spray arm that circulates heated water around your dishes. The heated water and the dishwasher detergent sanitise and clean your dishes. The dishwasher then dries your dishes during the drying cycle. While not common, you may experience problems with your dishwasher starting up. Troubleshoot this issue and avoid paying for service fees.

Home Power

Check your home power, especially if your dishwasher was working fine and suddenly stopped. Your dishwasher won't run during a power outage. Wait for your power to come back on and restart the dishwasher. See if you have blown a fuse and replace it. If you have circuit breakers instead of fuses, reset them it if they are tripped. Verify that the power cord fits completely into the outlet. Test the outlet with another appliance and see if it's live. Replace or repair the power cord if it's split or frayed.


A dishwasher won't start if the dishwasher door is open. Check the door latch and see if it's broken. If so, replace it since you can't normally fix this part. See if the door switch has continuity. Remove the power cord from the outlet and open up the door panel. Test the component with a multimeter. Get a new door switch since it's hard to repair this part.


If you have not used your dishwasher in a while, the motor may be stuck. Unplug the dishwasher, and remove the main access panel. Turn the dishwasher motor until it freely moves. If it won't move at all or if it's corroded, you need a new one. The timer is responsible for determining how long each component gets power. A dishwasher won't start if this part is defective. Remove the dishwasher from the power supply and take off the door panel. Test the component with a multimeter and see if it has continuity. Replace the timer if it's defective since you can't usually fix it.

Wiring/Selector Switch

A dishwasher won't run if any wires are loose or broken. Open up the main panel and examine all of the wires, especially the wires in the door. Repair any loose wires, and change out any broken ones. The selector switch allows you to select a washing or drying cycle. If the switch is broken, your dishwasher won't start. Disconnect the dishwasher from the wall outlet. Depending on your model, the selector switch is located behind the control, interior panel or exterior panel. Read your manual. Use a multimeter and test the switch for continuity. Replace it if it's defective since you can't usually repair it.

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