When you realize your dishwasher won't start the first thing you need to do is not panic. While it isn't a chore most people enjoy, you can wash those dirty dishes by hand until you get the problem fixed. Before you rush to call a professional for assistance, it helps to know a little more about what could be causing the problem.
Problem 1: Door Latch
Your dishwasher door must remain completely closed until the latch is in the open cycle position. As the dishwasher gets older normal wear and tear may cause the door latch to start to malfunction. When this happens it can prevent the door from closing completely. Unfortunately, most door latches cannot be repaired. Most of the time you will need to have the latch replaced with a new one.
Problem 2: Door Switch
The designs on most dishwashers have a switch to indicate the door is properly closed. This is a safety feature preventing it from running if the door is open. However, the switch may be bad and sending a signal that the door is open when it is actually closed. Until the switch is replaced, the dishwasher is not going to start.
Problem 3: Control Panel/Touchpad
It does not matter whether you have buttons or a touchpad, both can stop working. If this occurs it is because the control inputs are not properly sending messages to the main control panel/board. As the problem could be anywhere in the wiring of the control panel or touchpad, it is best to contact a professional for help.
Problem 4: Power Source
You may notice the buttons or light panel are not lighting up when you try to start the washer. First, check to make sure the cord is firmly in the wall socket. If the plug is in a GFI outlet, check to see if it has been tripped. If necessary, reset the GFI. Try plugging something else into the plug to be sure it works. If it is not tripped, check the breaker box and see if it is still in the on position. You can also switch the breaker off and on to make sure it has a good connection.
A dishwasher is a great convenience in most homes, and more active lifestyles almost demand owning one. If you cannot get the unit to work after you have tried these suggestions, there is nothing wrong with calling a professional for help.