Why Has My Dishwasher Stopped Working

When your trusty dishwasher suddenly stops working, it can be quite frustrating. Dishes piling up, dirty plates, and the inconvenience of manual washing can put a damper on your daily routine. In this article, we’ll explore common reasons why your dishwasher might have stopped working and offer solutions to get it back to its efficient state.

Power Supply Issues

One of the most common reasons for a dishwasher not working is a power supply problem. Ensure that the appliance is properly plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. A loose connection or damaged power cord can also lead to disruptions in power flow.

Door Latch Problems

If your dishwasher’s door isn’t closing or latching correctly, it might not start. The safety mechanism won’t allow the appliance to function if the door isn’t securely shut. Check for any obstructions or debris that might be hindering the latch’s proper operation.

Faulty Control Panel

Issues with the control panel can hinder the dishwasher’s functionality. If the buttons are unresponsive or the display is malfunctioning, there might be an underlying control board problem. Resetting the control panel or seeking professional help can resolve this.

Clogged Spray Arm

A clogged spray arm can lead to poor cleaning performance. Food particles and mineral deposits can accumulate in the spray arm’s nozzles, obstructing water flow. Regularly cleaning the spray arm can help maintain proper water distribution.

Drainage Problems

Water not draining from the dishwasher could indicate a blockage in the drain hose or a faulty drain pump. Check for any debris in the drain and ensure that the hose isn’t kinked. If the issue persists, a technician might need to inspect the pump.

Water Inlet Valve Dysfunction

The water inlet valve controls the flow of water into the dishwasher. If it’s malfunctioning, the appliance might not fill with water. A humming sound when the dishwasher should be filling is a potential sign of a faulty inlet valve.

Impaired Heating Element

The heating element is crucial for proper drying of dishes. If your dishes are coming out wet or with spots, the heating element might be the culprit. A visual inspection can help determine if it needs replacement.

Worn-out Pump Motor

The pump motor circulates water through the dishwasher. A worn-out or malfunctioning pump motor can lead to inadequate cleaning. Unusual noises or water not spraying forcefully could indicate an issue with the pump motor.

Defective Float Switch

The float switch prevents overfilling of the dishwasher. If it’s stuck in the “up” position, the dishwasher might not fill with water. Ensuring the float moves freely can resolve this problem.

Broken Dish Racks

Dish racks that are off-track or have broken components can disrupt the spray arm’s movement. This results in uneven cleaning. Regularly check and maintain the dish racks to avoid this issue.

Detergent Dispenser Complications

If the detergent isn’t being released properly, your dishes won’t be cleaned effectively. The dispenser door might be blocked or faulty. Cleaning the dispenser and using the right detergent can solve this problem.

Hard Water Deposits

Mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate in the dishwasher, affecting its performance. Regularly using a dishwasher cleaner and ensuring proper water softening can help prevent this issue.

Sensor Malfunctions

Modern dishwashers come with sensors to detect factors like water temperature and soil levels. If these sensors malfunction, it can lead to improper cycle selection or water temperature regulation.

Timer or Sensor Assembly Issues

Issues with the timer or sensor assembly can lead to erratic cycle lengths or unexpected interruptions. Replacing these components might be necessary to restore normal functionality.

Regular Maintenance and Care

Preventing dishwasher issues starts with regular maintenance. Clean filters, check for leaks, and ensure the water supply is adequate. Following the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations can extend the appliance’s lifespan.


A malfunctioning dishwasher can disrupt your daily routine, but many issues have straightforward solutions. By troubleshooting the common problems outlined in this article, you can save time and money on repairs. Remember, if the problem seems beyond your expertise, seeking professional assistance is the best course of action.


Can I fix a broken pump motor myself?

While some people may be comfortable attempting this, it’s recommended to consult a professional technician due to the complexity involved.

Why is my dishwasher not draining completely?

A clogged drain hose, debris in the drain, or a faulty drain pump could be causing this issue.

How often should I clean the dishwasher’s interior?

Regular cleaning is advised, ideally once a month, to prevent buildup and ensure optimal performance.

Are there any DIY methods to remove hard water deposits?

Using vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner specifically designed to remove mineral deposits can be effective.

Is a malfunctioning heating element dangerous?

It’s not inherently dangerous, but it can lead to inefficient drying and cleaning of dishes. Replacing it is recommended for optimal performance.

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