Around 80 million homes in the U.S have a dishwasher, and it is not uncommon to come across issues, such as the lights staying on.
If your dishwasher lights stay on, try cleaning and check if a button is stuck. Another thing to do is check if there is a button that was pushed by mistake. Try selecting a few functions to check if the unit is trying to work. If this doesn’t work, shut off the power and reset the unit.
In this article, we will look at the different types of dishwasher lights and when it is normal for them to be on. We will also discuss what you can do if there is a bigger issue, such as cleaning the control panel, resetting the unit, and checking for potential internal issues.
Types of Dishwasher Lights
Most dishwashers will have a series of buttons, tabs, and lights to control their use. Older units will likely have physical buttons or a dial to let you select functions. Newer models often have touchpads, some that are hidden from view when the door is closed. But one common aspect of all dishwashers is their use of lights or little flags to alert you to issues or help with general use.
If you notice certain lights staying on, consider the following:
- Indicator lights: Many dishwashers require using rinse aids or salt to function properly. When these are running low, your dishwasher should alert you. If you see the light staying on, try refilling these compartments first to see if that fixes the issue.
- Lock light: Some dishwashers, like some Whirlpool units, have ‘control-lock’ features. In this case, should you select a delayed start, you will see the light on display. This light will go out when the cycle begins or manually turn the lock feature off by holding the button down for 3 seconds.
- End of cycle light: In most dishwashers, there will be an indicator to tell you when the cycle has finished. Older models, such as Seiki units, a light or flag will be displayed at the end of a wash cycle. This light should go out when you open the door.
- Older dishwashers: Older units may not have lights, but rather colored indicators. As you can see in the video below, these flags indicate when a function has been selected:
If you have checked your dishwasher and found that all the levels are full, the cycle is done, and there are no other obvious issues, check through your manual before trying these troubleshooting tips.
Clean the Dishwasher Control Panel
Kitchens can be messy places. Food can get everywhere instantly, and it is normal to find certain surfaces to be sticky. Your dishwasher panel is no different. How many times have you had food on your hands and opened the door up to fill the racks? Kids’ hands get everywhere, as well as general residue from daily life.
If you have an older model dishwasher with buttons, you might find that lights stay on because a button has become stuck. Use a clean damp cloth to remove any potential residue and release any sticky buttons.
Similarly, flour and sugar can get into cracks, and the steam and heat from the dishwasher can cause issues in digital panels. If you think this could be the cause of any issues, it is better to call a professional to take the panel apart for cleaning or possible replacement.
Check the Dishwasher Panel for Issues
In some cases, the issue might be something as simple as a button being pushed by mistake. Buttons that protrude forward can be nudged into place by a hip or even a dog. For example, if somebody accidentally selected a cycle, but the machine wasn’t set to start, you might see the light indicating it is ready to go.
Try pushing the button with the light displaying, or try to cancel the cycle entirely. This should stop any accidental selections from trying to work through, and the unit should revert to its normal stationary state.
Another common issue with new and older units is that buttons can stop working entirely. Physical buttons can become dislodged, breaking the internal connection. If you can press other buttons and they function correctly, this will indicate an issue with one specific button.
In newer touchpad displays, connections inside can wear out over time. Again, if you can select other functions without issue, it is likely that part of the touchpad is at fault. In this case, you will need a new touchpad.
The good news is many manufacturers sell replacement control pads that can fix this issue, though it is recommended to have a professional install this to avoid problems.
Try Turning Dishwasher Off and On
In most cases, resetting an electronic device will fix simple issues. As electronics tend to be state-based machines, rebooting your unit will revert it to original settings, helping to ‘unstick’ any programs that may be experiencing issues.
First, make sure the door is open and not locked. Disconnect the dishwasher from its power source, and leave for a minute or so. After a minute, reconnect the power and give the unit time to work up. At this point, you might see some lights indicating certain functions.
Try opening and closing the door and selecting a function. You should see the lights go out, and the unit returns to normal functioning.
Use the Dishwasher’s Diagnostic Mode
In some newer models, your dishwasher will have a diagnostic mode. This is used by selecting certain functions in a certain order, allowing the dishwasher to run internal tests, as you can see in the video below:
If your unit has this function, you should work out if the lights are an indicator of an internal issue.
Call a Professional For Dishwasher Repairs
If you have cleaned the panel, checked all the buttons or touchpad, and reset the unit, only to find that there are still lights on your dishwasher that won’t go out, it is time to call for help. Even if your dishwasher is running correctly, you might find an internal issue that will further deteriorate the unit if not dealt with.
Chances are, depending on which lights are staying on, it is an issue with the control panel. Luckily these are easy enough to replace, and there are several tutorials available online should you choose to do it yourself.
However, there may be something wrong with the inner-workings which only a professional can fix. Contact the manufacturer or an industry professional to discuss your options.
If you suddenly find that your dishwasher lights are staying on, there are a few easy things you can do to fix the issue at home:
- Clean the control panel. Kitchen surfaces are prone to a build-up of residue and this could be a simple fix.
- Check the control panel for issues, such as broken buttons. Damage to buttons or the touchpad can affect the lights and indicators.
- Run a diagnostic. Use this in newer units to check that everything is working as it should be.
- Reset the unit. Rebooting the system can help to reset any issues in the unit program.
These steps should be taken regularly to help improve the longevity of your unit. However, if the issue persists, it is better to call a professional who can hopefully fix any problems rather than replacing the whole unit.