20 Reasons a Dishwasher Stopped Working

20 Reasons a Dishwasher Stopped Working

20 Reasons a Dishwasher Stopped Working

Are you tired of dealing with a dishwasher that suddenly refuses to cooperate? Well, fear not, because you’re about to uncover common reasons your dishwasher can’t start.

From clogged filters to faulty door latches, there are various common dishwasher problems that can bring your dishwasher to a halt. Perhaps it’s a misbehaving water supply or drainage system causing trouble when your dishwasher can’t start a cycle. Or maybe the motor of your new dishwasher has decided to fail. Even a defective detergent dispenser or corroded parts can create common dishwasher problems, causing it to fail to start.

Don’t forget to pay attention to leaking or strange noises from your new dishwasher, as these common dishwasher problems may provide reasons why your dishwasher starts to malfunction. So, if you’re curious to find out why your dishwasher has stopped working, sit tight, and we’ll guide you through the troubleshooting process.

Key Takeaways

  • Clogged filters, faulty door latches, water supply issues, and drainage problems are common causes of dishwasher issues.
  • Proper use of a new dishwasher, like following the user manual instructions and correctly loading dishes, can improve cleaning performance and prevent the appliance from failing to start.
  • Specific issues that can cause a Whirlpool dishwasher to stop working include a broken spray arm, malfunctioning heating element, leaking, faulty sensors or switches, defective detergent dispenser, rust or corrosion, broken or loose connections, and aging parts.
  • Regular maintenance and prompt repairs using appliance express services are important to prevent common dishwasher problems, including inspecting and addressing issues with key components, regularly cleaning or replacing filters, and properly maintaining aging parts of your Whirlpool dishwasher.

#1 Clogged Filters


If you’re experiencing a dishwasher that has stopped working, one common cause could be clogged filters. Dishwasher filters are designed to trap food particles and debris to prevent them from clogging the pump and spray arms. Over time, these filters can become clogged, restricting water flow and causing the dishwasher to stop working properly.

To check for clogged filters, locate the filter at the bottom of your Whirlpool dishwasher tub and remove it. Rinse the filter of your new dishwasher under the sink faucet, and scrub away any caked-on particles with a soft brush. Once the filter of your Whirlpool dishwasher is clean, replace it and secure the covering.

Regularly cleaning the dishwasher filter can help prevent clogs and ensure the dishwasher operates efficiently.

#2 Faulty Door Latch

To determine if you have a faulty door latch, check for any obstructions in the metal latch and clean it with a wet cloth or sponge.

Additionally, inspect the soap dispenser tray for any debris that may be blocking the latch from closing properly.

If the latch is still not functioning correctly, attempt to close the door again after cleaning it.

If the door still doesn’t close properly, it’s possible that there may be tall utensils, panhandles, or other objects protruding from the dishwasher racks that prevent the door from closing fully.

Remove any obstructions and ensure that the racks line up properly with the door.

If the issue persists, it may be necessary to replace the faulty door latch to prevent further problems with the dishwasher’s functionality.

#3 Water Supply Issues

To resolve water supply issues with your dishwasher, check for any obstructions in the drain hose, ensure the water supply valve is open, and inspect the overfill protection float for any blockages. These issues can prevent your dishwasher from filling with water and affect its performance. Here are some steps you can take to address these problems:

| Steps to Correct Water Supply Issues |
| 1. Incorrectly positioned drain hose |

– Loop in drain hose should be at least 20 inches off the floor |
| 2. Open or unlatched door |

– Close the dishwasher door and press the START/RESUME button |
| 3. Shut off the water supply |

– Turn the water supply valve to open position |
| 4. Obstructed overfill protection float |

– Check and remove obstructions from overfill protection float |

#4 Drainage Problems

Proper drainage is crucial for the efficient operation of your dishwasher. Drainage problems can cause your dishwasher to stop working effectively. Here are five common drainage issues that can lead to dishwasher malfunctions:

  • Clogged drain hose: A blocked drain hose can prevent water from properly draining out of the dishwasher.
  • Blocked air gap: A clogged air gap can cause water to backflow into the dishwasher instead of draining out.
  • Faulty drain pump: A malfunctioning drain pump may not be able to effectively remove water from the dishwasher.
  • Improperly installed garbage disposal: An incorrectly installed garbage disposal can interfere with the dishwasher’s drainage system.
  • Excessive food debris in the dishwasher: Food debris can accumulate in the dishwasher, leading to clogs and poor drainage.

If you’re experiencing drainage problems with your dishwasher, it’s important to troubleshoot the issue promptly to prevent further damage and ensure proper functioning.

#5 Motor Malfunction

If your dishwasher has stopped working, a motor malfunction could be the culprit. The dishwasher’s motor is responsible for powering the various components that enable the machine to clean your dishes effectively. A malfunctioning motor can prevent the dishwasher from starting or powering on, result in inconsistent or weak water flow during the wash cycle, produce unusual noises from the motor area, and even cause overheating of the dishwasher during operation. Some common causes of motor problems include worn-out or faulty motor bearings, a defective motor capacitor, burnt-out motor windings, electrical issues in the dishwasher’s control board, and excessive motor load due to overloading the dishwasher. If you suspect a motor malfunction, it is recommended to consult a professional technician for proper diagnosis and repair.

To give you a better understanding of the signs and causes of motor problems in a dishwasher, here is a table summarizing the key points:

Signs of Motor ProblemsCauses of Motor Problems
Dishwasher not starting or powering onWorn-out or faulty motor bearings
Inconsistent or weak water flow during the wash cycleDefective motor capacitor
Unusual noises coming from the motor areaBurnt-out motor windings
Overheating of the dishwasher during operationElectrical issues in the dishwasher’s control board
Error codes related to motor malfunctionsExcessive motor load due to overloading the dishwasher

#6 Control Panel Failure

When your dishwasher stops working, it can be frustrating to deal with control panel failure. The control panel is an essential component that allows you to operate and control your dishwasher’s functions.

Here are some important points to consider regarding control panel failure:

  • Control panel lights blinking or turned off: This could indicate a malfunction in the control panel itself or a power supply issue.

  • Stuck control panel keys: If the buttons on the control panel are unresponsive or stuck, it may be due to a faulty control panel.

  • Dishwasher not running: When the control panel fails, it can prevent the dishwasher from starting or running properly.

  • Resetting the control panel: In some cases, unplugging and plugging back in the dishwasher can reset the control panel and resolve minor issues.

  • Replacing the control panel: If the control panel is beyond repair, purchasing a compatible control panel and properly installing it can restore your dishwasher’s functionality.

#7 Overloaded Dishwasher

To prevent dishwasher malfunction, avoid overloading it with dishes beyond its capacity. An overloaded dishwasher can lead to various issues, including the dishwasher not starting or functioning properly. When you overload the dishwasher, it puts excessive strain on the motor, pump, and other components, causing them to work harder than they should. This can result in decreased performance and potential damage to the dishwasher. To help you understand the consequences of overloading, here is a table highlighting the effects of an overloaded dishwasher:

Effects of Overloaded Dishwasher
Dishwasher may not start
Poor cleaning performance
Increased risk of damage

#8 Improper Loading of Dishes

Properly loading your dishes is crucial to ensure the smooth functioning of your dishwasher. Improper loading techniques can lead to a variety of issues that can cause your dishwasher to stop working. Here are some key points to keep in mind when loading your dishes:

  • Avoid overcrowding the dishwasher to allow proper water circulation and detergent distribution.
  • Ensure proper placement of dishes, glasses, and utensils according to the user manual for optimal cleaning results.

Load the bottom rack with plates facing the center to allow hot water to pass through them effectively.

  • Use dishwasher pods or tablets instead of liquid or powder detergents for better cleaning performance.
  • Organize silverware by mixing utensils together and alternating between handle up and handle down to prevent nesting.

#9 Broken Spray Arm

A broken spray arm can significantly affect the performance of your dishwasher. When the spray arm is damaged, it may not spin properly, resulting in inadequate water distribution and ineffective cleaning.

To check if the spray arm is damaged, inspect both the top and bottom arms for cracks or missing pieces. If you notice any visible damage, it’s recommended to purchase a replacement spray arm.

You can use a spare parts search or contact customer service for assistance in finding the correct replacement. It’s important to address a broken spray arm promptly to ensure optimal cleaning performance.

Neglecting this issue can lead to further problems with the door latch switch, motor, and power supply of your dishwasher.

#10 Malfunctioning Heating Element

If your dishwasher has a malfunctioning heating element, it can cause issues with the drying and sanitizing process. Here are five important points to consider:

  • A faulty heating element can lead to dishes and utensils not drying properly, resulting in wet and streaky dishes after a wash cycle.

  • The heating element is responsible for raising the water temperature during the washing and sanitizing cycles, ensuring the effective removal of food particles and bacteria.

  • A malfunctioning heating element can also affect the dishwasher’s ability to sanitize dishes, potentially leaving them unhygienic and unsafe for use.

  • In some cases, a malfunctioning heating element may cause the dishwasher to stop working altogether, as it plays a crucial role in the overall operation of the appliance.

  • If you suspect that your dishwasher’s heating element isn’t working correctly, it’s recommended to test and replace it as necessary to restore proper functioning and ensure clean, dry, and sanitized dishes.

#11 Leaking Dishwasher

If your dishwasher is leaking, there are several potential causes that you should be aware of.

A common cause of a leaking dishwasher is a faulty gasket located along the perimeter of the door. This gasket helps create a watertight seal, and if it becomes torn or damaged, water can escape during the rinse cycles.

Another possible cause is a broken water pump system, which can result in water buildup at the bottom of the appliance.

A clogged filter or a damaged water inlet valve can also lead to leaks.

Additionally, a defective float switch can cause water to pool under the dishwasher.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage.

Contact a professional dishwasher repair service to diagnose and repair the problem.

#12 Faulty Sensor or Switch

When experiencing a dishwasher that has stopped working, a potential culprit to consider is a malfunctioning sensor or switch. These components play a crucial role in the proper functioning of the dishwasher.

Here are five key points to keep in mind regarding faulty sensors or switches:

  • A malfunctioning switch can prevent the dishwasher from operating altogether.
  • If the dishwasher fails to drain the water out of the tub, it could be due to a faulty sensor or switch.
  • The sprayers may not move properly if there’s an issue with the sensor or switch.
  • Look out for flashing lights or error codes, as these can be indicators of a defective sensor or switch.
  • Dishes not drying completely after a cycle could be a sign of a malfunctioning sensor or switch.

When faced with these symptoms, it’s important to diagnose and fix the problem promptly to ensure the uninterrupted use of your dishwasher.

#13 Blocked or Damaged Water Inlet Valve

A blocked or damaged water inlet valve can cause your dishwasher to stop working properly. The water inlet valve controls the flow of hot water into your dishwasher. If the inlet port becomes clogged with debris or the valve is damaged, it can restrict the water flow to your dishwasher or prevent it altogether.

Signs of a bad water inlet valve include less water flowing into the dishwasher, no water flow at all, unusual noises during the water-filling cycle, and dirty dishes. Fortunately, replacing a water inlet valve is relatively inexpensive, usually ranging from $15 to $35. You can find replacement parts at appliance centers or hardware stores.

However, accessing the water inlet valve may be challenging as modern dishwashers have hidden access panels. Once accessed, the replacement steps are easy for beginners.

#14 Worn Out or Damaged Pump

To address the issue of a worn-out or damaged pump, you need to examine the components responsible for water circulation in your dishwasher. The pump plays a crucial role in the dishwasher’s operation, as it’s responsible for pushing water through the spray arms and delivering it to the dishes. If the pump is worn out or damaged, it can cause your dishwasher to stop working.

Here are five key factors to consider when dealing with a worn-out or damaged pump:

  • Check for any signs of leakage around the motor area, as this may indicate a faulty motor shaft seal.

  • Determine whether the impeller and seal kit can be replaced separately or if the entire pump and motor assembly need to be replaced.

  • Inspect the water inlet valve for cracks or damage, as a damaged valve can cause water leakage near the motor area.

  • Pay attention to any water leakage beneath the dishwasher tank, as this could be a result of a damaged water inlet valve.

  • Confirm the source of the leak before deciding whether to replace the pump and motor assembly.

#15 Dishwasher Electrical Issues

To address electrical issues, you need to examine the power supply and internal components responsible for delivering power to your dishwasher.

When your dishwasher stops working, it could be due to power supply problems such as a tripped circuit breaker or faulty wiring. A bad electrical outlet or damaged wiring can also cause power issues. If the control panel doesn’t light up, it may indicate a faulty power supply.

Additionally, broken internal components like control boards, switches, motors, or wiring can lead to short circuits and power problems. If the controls don’t light up, it could be a sign of damaged internal components.

To troubleshoot dishwasher power issues, check if there’s a light switch beside the garbage disposal switch and make sure it’s turned on. Resetting the house circuit breaker can also help restore power.

Lastly, inspect the dishwasher power cord and electrical outlet for any visible damage.

#16 Faulty Timer or Cycle Selector

If your dishwasher has stopped working, one possible cause could be a faulty timer or cycle selector.

The timer is responsible for advancing the dishwasher through its various cycles, such as prewash, wash, rinse, and dry. If the timer is faulty, it may not be able to accurately keep track of time and progress through the cycles, causing the dishwasher to stop working.

Similarly, the cycle selector allows you to choose the desired cycle for your dishwasher. If the cycle selector is faulty, it may not be able to properly communicate your selection to the dishwasher, resulting in a malfunction.

To troubleshoot this issue, you may need to replace the faulty timer or cycle selector component of your dishwasher.

#17 Defective Detergent Dispenser

When troubleshooting a dishwasher that has stopped working, one potential issue to consider is a defective detergent dispenser. A defective detergent dispenser can prevent the dishwasher from properly dispensing soap, leading to ineffective cleaning.

There are several common causes for a defective detergent dispenser, including obstructions from tall items in the lower rack or handles of pots and pans, a damaged or twisted dispenser door, a faulty door spring or hinge pin, a failed wax motor that releases the dispenser door catch, or a defective dishwasher timer that controls the dispenser door opening.

To address this issue, you should perform a visual inspection of the dispenser unit for damage, manually open and close the dispenser door to clean any residue and look for cracks or signs of heat damage.

If necessary, you may need to replace the dispenser door or seek professional help from Sears Home Services for expert dishwasher repair.

#18 Rust or Corrosion in the Dishwasher

One common issue that can cause a dishwasher to stop working is the presence of rust or corrosion within the appliance. Rust or corrosion in the dishwasher can lead to a range of problems, including blockages in the water pipes, damage to the electrical components, and leaks that can damage the surrounding area.

Here are five key points to consider:

  • Rust can occur due to water splashing over the exterior of the dishwasher while the door is open.
  • Leaks through gaps in the door seal can also contribute to rust and corrosion.
  • Placing rusting objects inside the dishwasher with dishes or utensils can accelerate rusting.
  • Older dishwashers are more prone to rust and corrosion due to wear and tear.
  • Clogged water pipes or improper installation can create an environment conducive to rust and corrosion.

Addressing rust or corrosion in the dishwasher is crucial to ensure its proper functioning and longevity.

#19 Broken or Loose Connections

Check for any broken or loose connections to identify the cause of your dishwasher not working. Loose or broken connections can disrupt the flow of electricity and prevent the dishwasher from functioning properly. To troubleshoot this issue, visually inspect the wiring and connection points, paying close attention to the connection box. Look for any signs of damage, such as frayed wires or loose terminals. Additionally, ensure that all connections are securely fastened. If you find any broken or loose connections, tighten or repair them as necessary. By addressing this issue, you can restore proper electrical flow and potentially resolve the problem of your dishwasher not working.

1Visually inspect the wiring and connection points
2Look for any signs of damage or loose connections
3Tighten or repair any broken or loose connections
4Test the dishwasher to see if the issue is resolved

#20 Aging Dishwasher Parts

To address aging dishwasher parts, you should start by inspecting the condition of the key components. Here are some important areas to check when your dishwasher won’t start or isn’t functioning properly:

  • Door latch: Over time, the door latch may become worn or damaged, preventing the dishwasher from starting. Inspect the latch for any signs of wear or misalignment.

  • Control panel: The control panel controls the various cycles and functions of the dishwasher. Check for any buttons that aren’t working or a panel that isn’t responding.

  • Pump and motor: The pump and motor are essential for proper water circulation and drainage. Look for any signs of leaks, damage, or unusual noises coming from these components.

  • Spray arms: Clogged or damaged spray arms can result in poor cleaning performance. Ensure that the spray arms are free from debris and can rotate freely.

  • Filters: Over time, filters can become clogged with food particles and debris. Clean or replace the filters as necessary to ensure proper water flow.

Regular maintenance and prompt repairs of aging dishwasher parts can help extend the lifespan of your appliance and keep it running smoothly.

 Frequently Asked Questions About Dishwasher Not Working

 What are the common causes of a dishwasher not working?

 Common causes of a dishwasher not working include issues with the thermal fuse, power supply, control board, motor start relay, draining properly, and dishwasher filter.

 How can I fix a dishwasher that won’t start?

 If your dishwasher won’t start, check to see if the power supply is working, the start button is functioning, and there are no issues with the electronic control board or motor start relay. If the problem persists, it’s recommended to call a professional appliance repair service for assistance.

Why is my dishwasher not filling with water?

A dishwasher may not fill with water due to issues with the fill valve, water supply, or electronic control board. It’s essential to ensure that the water supply is connected and the dishwasher filter is clean to prevent such problems.

 What are the likely reasons for a dishwasher to stop mid-cycle?

 The likely reasons for a dishwasher to stop mid-cycle include problems with the electronic control board, motor start relay, appliance control, or a malfunction in the dishwasher’s operation. It’s advisable to contact a professional appliance repair service to diagnose and address these issues.

How do I clean the dishwasher filter?

To clean the dishwasher filter, remove it from the bottom of the dishwasher and rinse it under running water to remove any debris or build-up. Regularly cleaning the dishwasher filter can prevent clogs and ensure proper water flow during cycles.

 What should I do if my dishwasher is not draining properly?

If your dishwasher is not draining properly, check for any clogs in the drain hose, pump, or filter. Ensure that the drain path is clear and free from obstructions, and if the issue persists, seek professional appliance repair assistance.

How can I get my dishwasher back into working order?

To get your dishwasher back into working order, ensure that the power supply is stable, the dishwasher filter is clean, and there are no issues with the control board, motor start relay, or electronic components. If the problem persists, it’s recommended to contact an appliance repair service for assistance.

What are the common problems with dishwashers?

Common problems with dishwashers include issues with the electronic control, motor start, cycle disruptions, draining, and failure to start. These problems may require professional appliance repair to diagnose and fix effectively.

 When should I call a professional for dishwasher repair?

It’s advisable to call a professional for dishwasher repair when you encounter persistent issues with the appliance, such as failure to start, mid-cycle interruptions, draining problems, electronic control malfunctions, or any other complex issues that require expertise to resolve.

 What are the likely reasons why my dishwasher won’t start and stop properly?

 The likely reasons why your dishwasher won’t start and stop properly may involve issues with the electronic control board, motor start relay, power supply, or control panel. It’s essential to have these components checked and serviced by a professional appliance repair technician for effective resolution.


In conclusion, there are several potential causes for a dishwasher to stop working. These can include:

  • Clogged filters
  • Faulty door latches
  • Water supply issues
  • Drainage problems
  • Motor malfunctions
  • Defective detergent dispensers
  • Rust or corrosion
  • Broken or loose connections
  • Aging parts

By identifying and troubleshooting these issues, you can get your dishwasher back up and running smoothly again. Remember to consult the manufacturer’s manual or seek professional help if needed.

If your dishwasher is not working and you need dishwasher repair San Diego. Contact Bonita Appliance Repair Today! 

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