Dishwashers are very straightforward appliances. With just a few button pushes, you can wash a huge load of dishes with minimal effort on your part. Still, that won’t be possible if the buttons stop working.
When dishwasher buttons stop working, start the troubleshooting process by checking that your appliance has power. Then, make sure that the Child Lock feature is disabled and that none of the buttons have dirt stuck around them. After ruling those out, consider that the control panel is faulty or that its wiring is loose or damaged.
Depending on how severe the root cause is, you might be able to solve this problem very quickly. So, start with the least complicated reasons and work your way to the more challenging ones.
5 Reasons Your Dishwasher Buttons Aren’t Working
Here are 5 of the most likely reasons that your dishwasher buttons aren’t working:
#1 No Power Supply
When troubleshooting your dishwasher buttons, it’s best to start with things you can rule out quickly. So, you should first check that your appliance is indeed receiving electrical power like normal.
If you find that none of your dishwasher’s buttons and lights are on, the power supply to your dishwasher has likely been disrupted. Even if everything else in your home is still working, that’s a possibility.
To confirm that your dishwasher is receiving power, here are two things you need to check:
- Check that the dishwasher’s plug is pushed firmly into its wall socket. If it isn’t, press it in firmly.
- Check that the dishwasher’s dedicated circuit breaker is in the ON position. If it isn’t, turn the breaker back on.
- Check other appliances in the kitchen to ensure that your household isn’t experiencing an electric supply disruption.
Restoring the power supply to a dishwasher that didn’t have any will allow its buttons to work again.
#2 Child Lock Feature Is Enabled
Many dishwashers on the market have a Child Lock feature to protect kids from dishwasher dangers. That’s a safety feature that disables most of the appliance’s control panel buttons. Doing so ensures that a child won’t accidentally turn the machine on or interrupt an ongoing wash cycle.
Unfortunately, the Child Lock feature will also affect adults who don’t realize it’s enabled.
Thankfully, the solution to this problem is very straightforward. All you have to do is disable the Child Lock feature, and those buttons will function normally once more.
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Disabling the Child Lock feature on your dishwasher requires different steps depending on its brand and model. However, most appliances will need you to press two buttons simultaneously to enable or disable the feature.
Check the control panel on your display for any labels indicating which buttons to press to enable or disable the child lock. You’ll often find them highlighted with an icon that resembles a child, a lock, or both.
Check your dishwasher’s user manual as well. For example, if your dishwasher has a Child Lock feature, its details will be printed in that manual.
#3 Dirt Buildup Around Buttons
The buttons on a dishwasher can get dirty very quickly, especially if you use the appliance often. Think about it: most people load dirty dishes into the dishwasher for cleaning. As a result, some of the food bits, dirt, and grease from those dishes will transfer to your fingers. Then, all of that will end up on the buttons that you press to start the wash program.
Over an extended period, the buildup of dirt around those buttons will make their way underneath them as well. That will affect each button’s functionality, causing some or all of them to stop working when you press on them.
Fixing this problem can be quite a challenge. First, you’ll have to clean out as much of the dirt around and under your dishwasher buttons as possible.
Depending on the design of your dishwasher model, you might be able to pry each button off and clean underneath them thoroughly. For models that don’t allow that, you’ll have to use a brush and a toothpick to remove dirt from wherever you can reach.
#4 Wiring Problems
Let’s suppose you’ve ruled out all three of the reasons above, yet your dishwasher buttons still won’t work. In that case, it’s time to consider that the appliance might have faulty components.
The first thing to consider is that the wiring for the control panel could be faulty or damaged. That’s the wiring that connects it to the main control board. Whenever you press a button, it’s supposed to send a signal to the board, which adjusts the dishwasher accordingly.
However, if those wire connections have somehow come loose, the buttons won’t work correctly as they should.
Besides that, the wires could have also suffered damage. For instance, an electrical fault could cause them to overheat and burn while melting their insulation. As that happens, the buttons will no longer respond when you press on them.
But how do you fix this? Well, loose connections are straightforward to fix. All you have to do is push them firmly into place at both ends (i.e., the control panel and the main control board).
Unfortunately, you must replace damaged wires with new ones. Typically, you can purchase replacement wire harnesses and replace them yourself or call a qualified technician to do it for you.
#5 Faulty Control Panel
Last but not least, you should consider that the control panel for your dishwasher has become faulty. You should only check this part after you’ve ruled out all the other possibilities listed above.
If the root cause is indeed the control panel, you’ll have to spend a bit of money on replacing it with a new one. That’s because it’s not practical for you to repair your existing control panel once it becomes faulty.
The buttons on your dishwasher are typically connected to actuators on the control panel. So, a faulty control panel will not respond to those buttons when you push on them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some additional questions you might have about your dishwasher buttons that stop working:
How Do You Unstick A Dishwasher Button?
A dishwasher button gets stuck because of food bits and grease that get trapped around and underneath it. To unstick that button, first, try pressing and massaging it with your finger to loosen the dirt.
You can lightly apply an ammonia-based cleaner around the button to remove the dirt and grease if that doesn’t work.
What Does A Child Lock Button Do On A Dishwasher?
The Child Lock button on a dishwasher disables most of the buttons on the dishwasher’s control panel. That’s done to prevent a child from accidentally operating a dishwasher or changing its programming mid-cycle.
How Do I Reset My Dishwasher Control Panel?
The best way to reset your dishwasher control panel is to reset the whole appliance. You can do so by first disconnecting it from its power supply or shutting off its dedicated circuit breaker. Then, leave the dishwasher alone for 5 minutes to discharge any leftover power before reconnecting it to power. That will reset the appliance and its control panel.
Why Do Dishwashers Have Controls On Top?
The buttons are inside and on top of their door on some dishwashers for a neater appearance. When you close the dishwasher door on these models, the buttons are hidden away instead of being on the front of the appliance.
As a result, the exterior looks much neater and blends in with the rest of your kitchen decor.
What Is An Integrated Dishwasher?
An integrated dishwasher is a built-in model that blends in with the rest of your kitchen cabinets. These kinds of dishwashers have their buttons on top of their doors. So, you can only access them for cleaning or repairs while the door is open.