5 Reasons Your Dishwasher Control Panel Is Not Working!

by | Last updated Oct 21, 2023

There you are, ready to get those dishes sparkling clean, but then, a roadblock: your dishwasher control panel is not working. It’s like your trusted dish-cleaning companion has suddenly gone silent, leaving you in a lurch with a sink full of dirty dishes. If you’re nodding your head, thinking, “That’s exactly what happened to me!” you’ve stumbled upon the right piece.

Dishwashers, like all household appliances, can occasionally throw a tantrum. And when the control panel, essentially its communication center, goes haywire, it’s inconvenient; it can also feel like you’re trying to decipher an alien technology. But fear not! Before you surrender to despair or (gasp!), consider washing those dishes by hand, let’s delve deep into understanding the root causes behind this issue.

Here, we will explore the top 5 reasons your dishwasher control panel is not working. Stick with us, and we’ll turn this dishwasher distress into a distant memory. Ready to dive in? Let’s get those dishes (and your peace of mind) back in sparkling order!

Professional Repair Insights

60% of dishwasher control panel problems are resolved with simple resets, indicating many issues might be easier to fix than anticipated.

Reason#1. Electrical Glitches and Outages

Depicting a loaded dishwasher left open due to Electrical Glitches and Outages.

We’ve all been there. You’re expecting your trusty dishwasher to whirl into action, but instead, it sits in stubborn silence. Before you start wondering if your appliance has taken a sudden day off, consider this: electrical glitches and outages could be the culprits behind your dishwasher’s unexpected mutiny.

Common Signs of Electrical Issues

Electrical problems sometimes announce themselves with a bang (thank goodness!). But there are subtle hints that indicate your dishwasher might be facing an electrical hiccup:

Sign#1. Unresponsive Buttons

Even after pressing multiple times, the dishwasher doesn’t start or change its cycle.

Sign#2. LED Display Issues

If your dishwasher sports a digital display, it’s flickering, dim, or blank; it’s a telltale sign.

Sign#3. Intermittent Power

The dishwasher starts but suddenly stops in between without completing the cycle.

Sign#4. No Power at All

Even if it feels too obvious to mention, it’s worth checking other appliances. You might face a home-wide power outage if they’re also not working.

Accidental Child Lock Activation

If your control panel isn’t responding, it might be due to the child lock being inadvertently activated. Before troubleshooting or assuming a malfunction, double-check to ensure the child lock isn’t engaged.

Quick Fixes for Minor Electrical Glitches

Don’t let these electrical glitches dishearten you. Sometimes, the solutions are much simpler than you’d expect:

Fix#1. Power Cycle

Turn off the dishwasher, wait 10 minutes, and then turn it back on. It’s like giving your dishwasher a mini-reboot.

Fix#2. Check the Power Cord

Ensure the dishwasher’s power cord is securely plugged in. Over time, it might become loose or accidentally get unplugged.

Fix#3. Examine the Circuit Breaker

Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the dishwasher but the house’s electrical circuit. Ensure the circuit breaker has yet to trip. If it has, switch it back to the ‘on’ position.

Fix#4. Door Latch

Ensure that the door latch is closed correctly. If it’s not, the dishwasher might not start due to safety features. In fact, there are instances where a dishwasher door might unlock unexpectedly during a cycle. For more on that, delve into our article on Dishwasher Door Unlocking During A Cycle.

Fix#5. Consult the User Manual

Most dishwashers have a troubleshooting section in their user manual. When in doubt, give it a read!

Reason#2. Faulty Touchpad or Control Panel

Illustrating an open dishwasher highlighting the top Touchpad Control Panel.

If your dishwasher’s behaving like a fickle friend, sometimes responding, sometimes not, then you might be dealing with a faulty touchpad or control panel. These components are the brain and voice of your dishwasher. When they go on the fritz, it can feel like your trusty appliance has suddenly learned the art of giving mixed signals.

Avoid Over-Pressing

Consistently pressing the touchpad buttons with excessive force can wear them out faster. Use a gentle touch when selecting your desired cycle or setting. If a button isn’t responding, it’s more likely due to an internal issue than needing a harder push.

Distinguishing Between Touchpad and Control Panel Issues

Telling touchpad issues apart from control panel problems is deciphering the root cause of a cold. Symptoms can overlap, but here’s a basic breakdown:

Touchpad Troubles

If certain buttons on the touchpad don’t respond, but others do, you’re likely dealing with a touchpad issue. This is akin to having some keys on a keyboard stop working.

Control Panel Conundrums

On the other hand, if the entire touchpad doesn’t respond or shows erratic responses, it might be the control panel acting up. This is the heart of your dishwasher’s operations; if it’s inconsistent, it might act unpredictably.

Random Cycles

If your dishwasher starts a different cycle from what you selected, it could indicate a malfunctioning control panel. To get a better grasp of the various cycles and what they mean, explore our guide on Dishwasher Cycles and Settings.

When to Consider Replacement

Showcasing professionals evaluating a dishwasher for potential replacement alongside an icon symbolizing repair costs.

Now, here’s the tricky part. Repair or replace?

Age of the Dishwasher

If your dishwasher has been your loyal kitchen companion for over a decade, it might be more cost-effective to replace rather than repair.

Cost of Repairs

If fixing the touchpad or control panel costs nearly as much as getting a new dishwasher, it’s time to consider an upgrade.

Recurring Issues

If you’ve already repaired the touchpad or control panel before and the problem resurfaces, this could indicate an underlying issue. Repeated repairs can add up!


Before diving into repairs or replacements, check if your dishwasher is still under warranty. Some warranties cover parts and labor, making repairs a breeze.

Reason#3. Blocked or Dirty Control Panel

Have you ever dealt with a smudgy smartphone screen or a grimy keyboard? Like these everyday gadgets, your dishwasher’s control panel can get blocked or dirtied over time. It’s not just an aesthetic problem; it can hinder the dishwasher’s performance. But don’t fret! With a little TLC, your dishwasher can shine and function like brand new.

Cleaning the Control Panel: Best Practices

Depicting a person meticulously cleaning the dishwasher control panel, emphasizing its importance.

Cleaning the control panel is a cinch, but there’s a right way to go about it. Here are some pro tips to ensure you do it effectively:

Switch Off First

Always turn off and unplug your dishwasher before you start cleaning. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Soft Cloth is King

Ditch abrasive materials. Instead, opt for a soft, damp cloth to wipe away the grime gently.

Avoid Harsh Cleaners

Mild, soapy water is usually enough. Chemicals or abrasive cleaning agents might damage the touch-sensitive buttons or the panel’s surface.

Dry Thoroughly

After cleaning, wipe the control panel with a dry cloth. This prevents any water from seeping into the controls.

Moisture Intrusion

Dishwashers, being constantly exposed to water and steam, can sometimes allow moisture to seep into sensitive areas. If water or steam penetrates the control panel area, it can lead to short-circuiting and subsequent failure of the panel.

Avoiding Accumulation of Debris

Keeping the control panel debris-free ensures its longevity and optimal performance.

Routine Wipes

Incorporate a quick wipe-down of the control panel into your weekly cleaning routine. It takes just a minute but can save you from potential issues.

Watch for Spills

If loading a particularly messy dish or pot, ensure no food particles drop onto the control panel. They can become lodged in the crevices over time.

Guard Against Splashes

Be mindful when using the sink or faucet near the dishwasher. Water splashes can sometimes go unnoticed and, if left to sit, can cause issues. If you’ve ever wondered about the correlation between your sink filling up and your dishwasher running, check out our article on Why Does the Sink Fill Up When Running the Dishwasher.

Location Check

Ensure your dishwasher is located somewhere other than where it’s exposed to frequent dirt, like next to a trash can or beneath a frequently used countertop.

Reason#4. Malfunctioning Door Latch

Displaying a dishwasher's door latch issue, emphasizing the importance of proper functionality.

Has your dishwasher ever refused to start, even when everything seemed fine? Before you start panicking, consider checking out the door latch. It’s an often-overlooked component fundamental to your dishwasher’s proper functioning.

The Connection Between Door Latch and Control Panel

The relationship between the door latch and the control panel is like an ignition key. Just as a car will start with the key turned, many dishwashers will begin their cycle once the door is securely latched. This built-in safety feature prevents water spillage and other potential mishaps.

If the door latch malfunctions, it can fail to signal to the control panel that it’s okay to start. A faulty latch can halt operations even if you’ve meticulously set up your wash cycle on the control panel.

Solutions for a Broken Door Latch

So, what do you do if you suspect a latch issue? Here are a few steps to troubleshoot and potentially fix it:

Inspect Visually

Check if the latch is broken or out of place. Sometimes, a simple adjustment can fix the issue.

Clean the Latch

Over time, gunk can build up around the latch, preventing it from closing properly. Use a damp cloth and mild cleaner to gently clean around the latch and catch.

Check the Strike Plate

This is where the door latches onto. Ensure it’s aligned properly and isn’t bent or damaged.

Listen for the ‘Click’

When you close the door, you should hear a distinct click. If not, the door might not be latching properly.

Reason#5. Software or Firmware Issues

In this modern age, even our dishwashers are getting smarter. But as with all tech-savvy gadgets, they can occasionally face software or firmware issues. If your dishwasher control panel isn’t responding or behaves erratically, it could be a glitch in its digital brain.

Identifying Software Glitches

  • You might notice unresponsive controls, where you’re pressing buttons, but nothing’s happening.
  • The dishwasher may randomly start or stop cycles without any command from you.
  • The digital display can sometimes act erratically, showing weird characters or flashing without reason.
  • Occasionally, your dishwasher might throw up unexpected error messages that don’t correspond to known issues.

Resetting and Updating Your Dishwasher’s Firmware

Power Cycle

The age-old trick of “turn it off and on again” can work wonders. Unplug your dishwasher, wait a few minutes, and plug it back in. This can often reset any minor glitches.

Consult the Manual

Your dishwasher’s manual might have a section on software issues or how to perform a “soft reset.”

Check for Firmware Updates

Just like your smartphone, modern dishwashers can sometimes receive firmware updates. Visit the manufacturer’s website or consult your user manual to update the dishwasher’s firmware.

Factory Reset

If all else fails, consider performing a factory reset. This will revert your dishwasher to its original settings, potentially resolving software issues. However, be cautious; this might also erase any custom settings you’ve input.

Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried the above steps and the problem persists, it might be time to consult with a professional or contact customer support for your dishwasher’s brand.

Avoid Interrupted Updates

If your dishwasher is undergoing a firmware update, ensure it’s not interrupted. An incomplete update might cause software issues or glitches. Always wait until the process is fully completed.

Essential Steps to Reset Your Dishwasher Control Panel

Sometimes, all your dishwasher needs is an excellent old-fashioned reset. It’s akin to rebooting a computer when it acts up. Here’s how you can safely reset your dishwasher control panel:

Step#1. Disconnect from Power

Turn off the dishwasher and unplug it from the wall socket. Safety first!

Step#2. Wait it Out

Let the dishwasher remain unplugged for 10-15 minutes. This brief hiatus allows its internal circuits to fully discharge.

Step#3. Plug it Back In

Reconnect the dishwasher to power. If it has a “reset” button, you might need to hold it down for about 10 seconds. Only some models have this, so refer to your user manual if you need clarification.

Step#4. Run a Test Cycle

Once the dishwasher powers up, select a short cycle to see if it’s functioning correctly. This will help ensure that the reset was successful.

Maintenance Tips for Prolonged Efficiency

Tip#1. Regular Cleaning

It’s essential to clean your dishwasher regularly. This doesn’t just mean the dishes inside! Every month, give the inside a good wipe down, ensuring that the spinning arms are debris-free and the filter is clean.

Tip#2. Door Seals Matter

The rubber seal around the door can often be overlooked, but it’s crucial for preventing leaks. Wipe it down with a damp cloth occasionally to remove any buildup.

Tip#3. Use the Right Detergent

Not all detergents are created equal. Ensure you’re using a dishwasher-specific detergent and avoid overloading, which can lead to residues and blockages. If you’re interested in making your own detergent, check out our Easy Guide to Homemade Dishwasher Detergent.

Tip#4. Run Full Loads

While it might be tempting to run a half load, it’s more energy-efficient and better for your machine to run full loads. Just ensure it’s not overstuffed! If you’re unsure about how to load your dishwasher correctly to maximize its efficiency, have a look at our guide on How to Load Your Dishwasher Properly.

Tip#5. Annual Check

Consider getting your dishwasher checked by a professional annually. They can spot and fix minor issues before becoming bigger, more expensive problems.

Wrapping Up: Dishwasher Control Panel Is Not Working

Navigating the waters of a malfunctioning dishwasher can be overwhelming. But as we’ve discovered, understanding the root causes and potential solutions can make the journey smoother. Whether it’s an electrical hiccup, a mischievous touchpad, or a software glitch playing spoilsport, the key is to diagnose early and act decisively. Remember, a well-maintained dishwasher guarantees clean dishes and adds efficiency to your kitchen chores. So the next time your dishwasher throws a silent tantrum, you’ll be better equipped to handle it. Here’s to fewer dishwashing woes and more sparkling outcomes!

At WashDryDazzle, our primary goal is to equip you with invaluable knowledge to simplify your day-to-day tasks; to explore more, check out our central hub of Dishwasher Guides.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are blinking lights an indication of a serious issue with my dishwasher?

Not always. While it’s essential to address blinking lights promptly, the cause could range from minor issues, like a door not fully closed, to more significant problems with the control panel or internal components.

What is the control board in a dishwasher?

The control board is the “brain” of the dishwasher, managing and coordinating its various functions, from cycle selection to water drainage. It processes the inputs from multiple sensors and executes the appropriate actions.

What are the signs of water damage on a dishwasher control panel?

Common signs include unresponsive buttons, erratic display behavior, random error messages, or the dishwasher failing to power on altogether. In some cases, you might notice visible signs of corrosion or moisture behind the panel.

How can I test my dishwasher’s control panel at home?

You can initiate a diagnostic mode (if available) as detailed in your user manual. Alternatively, check if all buttons respond accurately and observe if the displayed settings correspond to your selections. Some models might also have LED indicators that signal specific faults.



Home Appliances Expert

A. Ditta, a highly regarded authority in home appliances, contributes his expertise to washdrydazzle.com. With 15 years of global experience, Ditta's writings stand out for their quality, accuracy, and user-centric approach. Recognized as a reliable source for washing and drying products, his in-depth knowledge and commitment to providing clear, accurate advice make him a trusted guide for readers worldwide. Ditta’s work is a testimony to his profound expertise in the industry.