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Home & garden.

Updated: 14 Mar 2022

How to fix a dishwasher that won't start

If your dishwasher won't start and the control panel shows no signs of life, the problem could be resolved with a few quick and easy checks.
Aaron West
Tools in a dishwasher

Video: how to repair a dishwasher that won't start

Need a fix because your dishwasher won't start? Before calling in a professional, follow our step-by-step video guide to repairing your dishwasher yourself.

Step-by-step: how to fix a dishwasher that won't start

If you decide it's better to buy a new dishwasher instead of repairing your old one, our dishwasher reviews reveal which dishwashers will clean your dishes thoroughly, won't cost a lot to run, and will be reliable. However, before you buy a new dishwasher, you could try these steps:

1. Double check the socket and door

The first thing to do is to check the plug and the socket. Unplug the dishwasher and try plugging something else, such as a lamp, into the socket. If this works, the problem will be with the dishwasher rather than the socket. 

If the control panel still shows no signs of life at all, check that the door is fully closed, and try to start the machine again.

2. Manual reset

Once you’ve checked the power supply and whether the door is properly closed, if the dishwasher is still not working consult the manual for the program reset procedure. The dishwasher may not have finished the previous cycle and might need to be reset. You'll be able to find instructions for how to do this in the manual.

3. Consider getting a professional in

If you've carried out these quick checks and you still can't bring your dishwasher back to life, then it's time to call in a professional. 

You can use our free Which? Trusted Trader website, where you'll find recommend tradesman who have been through our rigorous screening process.

You can search for a Trusted Trader using our search tool below. You don't have to be a Which? member to use this service.

Also, take a look at our guide to domestic appliance repairs to find out the average costs for a range of jobs, as quoted by Which? Trusted Traders from their years of experience. 

4. Or buy a new Best Buy for less than £250

If your dishwasher really is on its last legs, or if you think hiring a tradesman to repair the appliance will be more expensive than just buying a new one, then it could be time for you to replace your dishwasher.

There are Best Buys available for under £250. And you can be sure that it will not only be excellent at cleaning even the most hard-to-shift dirt, but it will last too.

See our top picks of the best dishwashers with expert buying advice.

What is the best dishwasher brand for reliability?

We ask thousands of Which? members each year about their dishwashers to see which brand makes the most reliable models, and which brands disappoint.

The difference between the most and least reliable is staggering; 86% of dishwashers from the best brand were fault-free after 10 years, compared to just 71% from the worst brand.

To find out which do the best, and won't have you running back to this page, read our guide to the most reliable dishwasher brands.