12 Reasons Your Dishwasher Is Not Starting The Wash Cycle

Tuesday 11th October 2022
by Homeforce

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Tue 11th October 2022

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Homeforce

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Getting the dishes done after dinner is one of those chores your dishwasher usually tackles with ease. 

But what happens if your dishwasher is not starting its wash cycle? Why is it happening and is there anything you can do? 

As U.K. appliance repair experts we can help you find out the answer. Join our professional appliance engineers to discover 12 of the most common reasons the dishwasher is not starting its cycle.

So you can get started straight away, here’s a mini takeaway as we understand how frustrating it can be.

  1. The dishwasher is not turned on
  2. The detergent dispenser is empty
  3. The water supply is turned off
  4. The dishwasher door is not closed properly
  5. Overloading the dishwasher
  6. The control panel is not working properly
  7. Something is blocking the dishwasher
  8. A thermal fuse is blown
  9. There is a problem with the wash cycle timer
  10. The water inlet valve is broken or not working properly 
  11. A broken heating element
  12. The washing machine is not draining properly

To further explore why your dishwasher is not starting a wash cycle, let’s delve straight into a little more detail.

1. The dishwasher is not turned on

This sounds like an obvious one, but it can sometimes be the cause of why the dishwasher is not starting the cycle. 

Sometimes the plug can work loose or it could be that you have forgotten to switch on the main power button. Check that first before starting any further investigation.

2. The detergent dispenser is empty

This is another fairly common reason for the dishwasher to have a few hiccups in its cycle. If there isn’t any detergent in the dishwasher, then it obviously can’t start the process of washing. 

Make sure to check the levels of your dishwasher’s detergent and refill it if necessary. This also ties in well to understanding how often to run your dishwasher.

3. The water supply is turned off

Once again, this is a fairly obvious one but could be the reason if you’ve tried other troubleshooting. The dishwasher needs a continuous water supply to start the wash cycle. 

If you have recently turned off the water to your home or there is a blockage in the water supply line, then this could be the reason why your dishwasher isn’t starting.

4. Dishwasher door not closed properly

The dishwasher door needs to be closed firmly for the wash cycle to begin. 

If the door is ajar or not fully closed, then the dishwasher will not start. Check to make sure that the door is firmly closed, and try again.

5. Overloading the dishwasher

If the dishwasher is overloaded, it may not start. 

For a quick potential fix, try redistributing the load evenly and make sure nothing is blocking the spray arm.

6. The control panel is not working properly

If you can’t seem to start the dishwasher from the control panel, then there may be an issue with the panel itself. 

Try resetting the dishwasher by turning it off and then on again. If this doesn’t work, then you may need to call a technician to look at the control panel.

Dishwasher Control Panel

7. There is something blocking the dishwasher

Sometimes, things like food or even dishes can block the dishwasher from starting. 

Some of the most common blockages are:

  • Food particles: If there is a build-up of food particles, this can cause the dishwasher not to start. You can try cleaning the filters and spray arm to see if that helps.
  • Grease If there is a build-up of grease, this can also cause the dishwasher not to start. You can try cleaning the filters and spray arm to see if that helps.

Make sure that the dishwasher is loaded properly and that nothing is blocking it before trying to start the dishwasher again.

8. The thermal fuse is blown

The thermal fuse is a safety device that trips when the dishwasher overheats. 

This can be caused by something as simple as a dish towel being left in the bottom of the dishwasher. 

Check for any blockages or objects in the dishwasher that could be causing it to overheat, and if you find anything, remove it. 

Once you’ve done that, you can reset the thermal fuse by unplugging the dishwasher and then plugging it back in again.

9. The wash cycle timer

The wash cycle timer is what controls the length of the wash cycle.

If the timer is not working properly, it could cause the dishwasher to not start. 

To test the timer, you will need to unplug the dishwasher and then plug it back in again. Once you’ve done that, start the dishwasher and see if it starts the wash cycle.

10. The water inlet valve

The water inlet valve is what controls the flow of water into the dishwasher. 

If the valve is not working properly, it could cause the dishwasher to not start. 

To test the water inlet valve, similar to if the wash cycle timer is not working you can try unplugging the dishwasher and then plug it back in again.

If you see a pool of water beneath your dishwasher, then check our article regarding a leaking dishwasher.

Dishwasher Water Inlet Valve

11. The heating element has broken

In some dishwashers, the heating element is what helps to dry the dishes.

If the heating element has broken, it could cause the dishwasher to not start. 

Once again a good way of testing if the heating element is the problem is, Try unplugging the dishwasher and plugging it back in again.

12. The washing machine is not draining properly

If the washing machine is not draining properly, it could cause the dishwasher to not start. The tried and tested method of turning off the machine at the wall and restarting may help you discover if it’s a problem with the draining. 

If you find water is remaining in the bottom of the dishwasher, then see our article on solving water in the bottom of the dishwasher. Or, if turning it off and on again doesn’t work, then you can simply call expert appliance engineers. 

More serious issues

If you have tried the above and you are still having trouble with your dishwasher failing to start the wash cycle, it could be a more serious issue which may need an engineer. Some of the more serious problems can be:

  • A faulty door seal: If the door seal seems to be not working properly, it could be causing the dishwasher to not start. You can try cleaning the door seal with a damp cloth to see if that helps.
  • A blockage in the dishwasher: Some blockages can be easily dealt with, but it could be that there is a more serious blockage that needs to be removed by an engineer.
  • Dishwasher program: Usually if there is a problem with the electronics in a dishwasher, it will not start. If you have tried all of the above and your dishwasher still won’t start the wash cycle you may need to call an engineer.

To end on…

We hope that’s given you lots of troubleshooting ways to get your dishwasher fully functioning again! 

For more dishwasher help check out our other helpful guide, How Often Should You Run  A Washing Machine?

Before you go, don’t forget to check out our appliance plans so you always ensure that unforeseen problems with your dishwasher or other appliances might cause a hit to your finances when you least expect it. 

Our nationwide team of expert appliance engineers will be able to get you back up and running again swiftly. Contact one of our friendly team members to find out more.

Ready to get started? Call us anytime on 0800 014 6336 or

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