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Most dishwasher models are designed to start flashing one or more lights to warn about faults or errors (or to inform users that certain processes, for example, a reset procedure are currently in progress).
We will share troubleshooting tips to help you fix your dishwasher if it has suddenly started to flash lights and won’t start in this guide.
So you want to read it to the end if you are at your wits end with this problem.
Dishwasher lights flashing and will not start – fixes and other troubleshooting ideas (general and model specific)
The truth is, the issue may not be as serious as you might think.
In fact, you can easily fix the fault in just 5 minutes (occasionally).
Well, as your first step, try to disconnect power to your dishwasher for 2 to 3 minutes.
This typically resets the appliance’s electronic components and restores normal functioning (pros call this a hard reset).
Does it work? If it doesn’t, below are other general troubleshooting ideas…
Dishwasher lights flashing and will not start – other fixes worth trying
Here are common causes and solutions for the issue of blinking / flashing lights (there may be beeps in some models as well) on a dishwasher.
Bear in mind that you try them only if reset fails to help.
1. Door might not be latched properly
Shut the door – push in on the dishwasher’s door while pressing start (the idea is to make sure the door switch is indeed closing).
If the latch is okay and no soap buildup is causing closing problems, the closed door sensor might not be functional.
Quick Tip: Don’t close without selecting a cycle first (this is a known cause of the issue at times).
2. Power surge has occurred (or electrical power supply has some other problem)
Troubleshoot electrical power supply to the unit (start with the breaker/fuse box).
3. New parts have been installed (and the appliance is yet to ‘read’ them)
Take the unit apart and re-install the components properly.
4. Previous cycle not complete
Try to cancel the cycle and start again (check your Owners Manual for the instructions specific to your model).
Note that the lights could be indicating that the door has been opened while a cycle was running.
5. There is a stuck button
Turn off the unit and touch every button (try to fiddle with the stuck button until it’s back to normal position)
6. Delay start option issue
If you set the delay start option and somebody unlatches the door, the indicator lights could start to continuously flash.
Obviously, latching the door could be all you need to do to eliminate the problem.
7. A component is defective/not functional
Some dishwasher models flash lights due to a part such as a thermistor or the touchpad short circuiting (touch control panel shorting out is a pretty common cause of the issue).
More troubleshooting will be needed as you could even need a board (or alternately, just an inexpensive part like a door latch).
And you can try to narrow down on the defective part by entering the diagnostic mode on your appliance –if available).
Let’s now turn on to troubleshooting steps that are specific to various models (remember the blinking lights indicate different issues on different models).
Please don’t forget to perform the general troubleshooting steps explained above before proceeding to these brand/model specific solutions.
Kenmore dishwasher lights flashing wont start (Kenmore dishwasher won’t start lights flashing)
If your Kenmore Dishwasher isn’t turning on (you are seeing lights flash but nothing happens when you press the start button), here is what it probably means and suggested fixes:
Replace the heating element (It may be burnt out)
Get a multimeter and remove the heater (heating element) and test if it has been burned out.
Needless to say, a replacement will be needed.
Otherwise, if the heater is fine, inspect the wiring (from control board) to the heater.
Use the self diagnostics to get rid of the blinking clean light issue (there could be a water temperature problem)
If it is flashing clean light, Press HEATED DRY then NORMAL then HEATED DRY then NORMAL and allow the appliance to run for about two minutes then press CANCEL/DRAIN.
Keep in mind that you should wait for the dishwater to finish the drain cycle.
If there was an insufficient water temp problem, this procedure could resolve it.
Samsung dishwasher not working lights flashing
Possible meaning and helpful solutions:
- Look for a stuck button– Turn it off and touch every button (try to wiggle the stuck button until its back to normal position)
- Too much water is in the dishwasher (due to a drain problem)- Repair the dishwasher’s drain connection (at the sink) if not fixed properly, unclog the drain hose, and clean the filter and sump (in the tub).
- Dishwasher may be too hot– Empty the dishwasher then add detergent, and finally run a normal/standard cycle.
- Water pressure (or temperature) is not correct– Confirm that water pressure and temp meet specified water supply requirements for your specific Samsung model(see your owner’s manual).
- There is a unique error– Check the display for the displayed error code and apply the appropriate troubleshooting procedures (your owner’s manual could again be handy).
Maytag dishwasher lights flashing and will not start (Maytag dishwasher won’t start lights flashing)
Likely reasons and troubleshooting steps:
Cycle or start-up has been interrupted
If you notice Start/Resume light flashing, it indicates cycle or start-up interruption.
Now, this usually happens if the door has been opened during a cycle (or if power is interrupted).
Regarding solutions, the first thing you can do is firmly push the door closed (within three seconds of Start/Resume button being pressed.
The touchpad is shorted or is stuck
Check and try to restore the stuck key.
Be sure to replace the touchpad, if you suspect it is the culprit (This Whirlpool touchpad #W10811169 and control panel works well for most Maytag models)
Quick Tip: One way of confirming if the touchpad is bad is by testing if you’ll get a voltage once you press the keys.
Whirlpool dishwasher lights flashing and will not start
Probable causes and fixes:
Door opened (or power interrupted)
Like with Maytag brand dishwashers, opening the door or a power interruption tends to trigger the issue in Whirlpool dishwashers.
You already understand what to do.
Some keys stuck
The clearest signal that the fault is due to a few keys getting caught is Rinse Only light flashing.
Simply press Pause/Cancel then press every key pad (one by one) and see if the stuck keys will be released.
Quick Tip: If it is one key, press Pause/Cancel then press the stuck key pad (the one blinking a couple of times).
Service is needed
The final light that occasionally starts to flash is the Clean indicator light. If you notice it blinking severally, it might be a warning that it is time for service.
Quick Tip: Before concluding that it is service, press Pause/Cancel then attempt to program a new cycle (sometimes this makes the light go).
There is an error condition
Whirlpool dishwashers generally blink lights (in different sequences) to communicate a specific fault and this could be the case.
Check your model’s tech sheet for the meaning of the error code (and what part needs to be replaced).
Frigidaire dishwasher lights flashing and will not start (Frigidaire dishwasher won’t start lights flashing / Frigidaire dishwasher lights blinking won’t start)
What it could mean and solutions:
Water temperature problem
Frigidaire dishwasher normally flashes the “Clean” keypad if it detects improper water temp (water temperature should be 120 degrees Fahrenheit-at least).
You can confirm this using a thermometer (and you should then run hot water until it is hot enough before attempting to start the machine).
Reach out to a plumber if not successful.
Wash cycle has paused
Where the Hi Temp Wash or Hi Temp Rinse options flashes, it is probably because washing cycle is temporarily stopped (so wait for the water to heat up sufficiently).
Solution: The good thing is that there is nothing you’re required to do here- simply wait and the light will go off when proper water temp is attained.
Quick Tip: For other flashes, counting the number of blinks (sequence) can help identify the issue (check the tech sheet or owners manual for interpretation).
Kitchenaid dishwasher won’t start lights blinking
This brand behaves the same way as Whirlpool and Maytag so apply the troubleshooting ideas we shared under the “Maytag dishwasher lights flashing and will not start” section.
Bosch dishwasher lights flashing and will not start (Bosch dishwasher lights flashing won’t start)
There are two extra things we would like to add when it comes to the problem of lights flashing on Bosch dishwashers:
First, if it is precisely the Active light that is flashing, check the door latch (fix or replace).
Secondly, if it is flashing Time and won’t run, it might be because of a dirty filter or a blocked pump (grease may also have gotten in the pump).
GE dishwasher lights flashing and will not start (GE dishwasher won’t start lights blinking)
According to GE, if your dishwasher is flashing either “Start” or “Start/Reset” lights (for 75-90 seconds, it simply points out that the unit was reset (and is preparing to turn off).
All other blinking lights may be pointing out that a fault has occurred either due to a power surge or the other general issues we highlighted at the beginning of the article.
Dishwasher lights flashing and will not start – Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How do you reset the flashing light on a Maytag dishwasher?
To reset the appliance, disconnect it from power source for 1+ minute. You can unplug it or choose to turn the circuit breaker off for one minute.
Since the indicator lights and sounds will indicate different issues on different models, we recommend that you check your Owner’s Manual even as you go through the above troubleshooting steps.
Manuals often have a good interpretation of the varying flashing lights, beeping sounds, and error codes and can be priceless.
Over to you!