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How Do You Unlock a Dishwasher?

Few things are less frustrating than having a full dishwasher and being unable to unlock your control pad or machine door. A locked dishwasher is simple to fix most of the time and shouldn’t take you longer than a few seconds to sort out. 

To unlock a dishwasher, usually, you need to press and hold a specific button or combination of buttons, which varies by model. Often, this is the “Start” or “Control Lock” button. Hold it for 3-5 seconds or until a light turns off or a sound indicates it’s unlocked. Check the user manual for model-specific instructions.

If the dishwasher is still locked, it could be due to a child lock feature. This safety feature is activated to prevent accidental start-up. To deactivate, locate the button labeled ‘Child Lock’ or similar, and press or hold it according to your dishwasher’s instructions. The process can vary, so consult the manual if needed.

If you have a dishwasher that won’t seem to unlock, we have made you a list of reasons and fix them below. If the problem is your control lock, you should be able to unlock it in no time at all, and here is how.

Dishwasher Door Won’t Open

  • Your power source is connected – If the power source is interrupted during a cycle, your door will remain closed to prevent leaking. If your power is disconnected, you may restart your machine. If it does not engage the cycle, you may restart your machine according to your make and model restart specifications.
  • Your water source is connected – Your dishwasher needs water pressure to function correctly. If your door doesn’t open, your dishwasher may be engaged and not operating due to a water source fault.
  • Check your control panel – Sometimes, a dishwasher door may remain locked due to operator error or an unintended control lock or child lock. Usually, a light switch will show if a lock has been activated on your control panel.

Why Is Your Dishwasher Not Opening?

Your Door Handle Mechanism Has Failed

The small mechanism that allows your dishwasher handle to unlock your dishwasher door may often wear out or fail. If your handle feels lighter and the operation is more loose than usual, your handle latching mechanism might be at fault. The problem is how to get the door open to fix your machine if the handle does not work.

It is not suggested to tamper with machines, especially due to warranty restrictions and the possibility of scratching or damaging your machine. It is recommended that you find an accredited service technician to replace the handle professionally. 

If you have an older machine out of warranty or fancy yourself a Macgyver, first turn off your dishwasher at the mains. You may then attempt to activate the handle switch by placing a thin screwdriver under the handle to activate the inner switch. 

Here is a video tutorial of the latch mechanism and how to DIY the door to open manually:

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 12, 2020.

Your Door Latch Is Broken

If your door latch is damaged or has become worn, your dishwasher may stay locked or will not benign the wash cycle. A working latch is essential as it secures the door tightly to prevent water leaking from your dishwasher during its cycle. The door latch also engages the microswitch, which turns the machine on. 

The microswitch is a small snap action switch that reacts to minimal pressure and engages the contact points to control an appliance. If your microswitch is at fault, it is recommended to contact a service technician to sort out the problem. It is not recommended to replace the door lock or microswitch yourself for safety reasons.

Your Door Hinge Is Faulty

Your door hinges are essential to the operation of your dishwasher. The difficulty in opening your dishwasher door might be a fault in your hinges. The door hinge is attached to a spring and pivots on a pin, allowing your door to open and close in a controlled way. If the hinge is damaged, you should replace it.

It is not suggested that you replace a dishwasher hinge yourself, due to safety and warranty reasons. You should contact a certified service provider to fix the issue safely and protect your warranty. 

Here is a tutorial on a dishwasher hinge workings if you are interested in the hinge functions or if you wish to fix the problem yourself:

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 12, 2020.

Your Control Lock Is Activated

Your control lock functions to prevent accidental engagement of your dishwasher functions by children or accidental button engagement. Many people don’t operate this feature when they use their dishwasher, so it can be confusing why your dishwasher suddenly won’t unlock.

Often you will notice that the power is engaged, and the water source is on. Yet still, you can not operate any of the controls, and your machine seems stuck.


  1. Press and hold the Control Lock/Hold 3 Seconds key for three seconds.
  2. If your model has no dedicated control lock key, press Proscrub Upper, 4 Hour Delay or Bottle Was for 3 seconds.
  3. The lock light should switch off, and you may resume your cycle.


  1. Find the dedicated ‘Control Lock/Hold 3 Seconds key, press down firmly for three seconds until the lock is disengaged.
  2. If your model has no dedicated control lock key, press Proscrub Upper, 4 Hour Delay, Sani Rinse, or Bottle Wash for 3 seconds to unlock the controls.


  1. On most models, the control lock light will flash when you attempt to push any control button. If you have no designated control lock keypad, look for the button where a red or green lock icon appears.
  2. Press the button where the lock icon appears for three seconds to unlock the control panel.


  1. If the child lock is on, there will be a key symbol or ‘CL’ symbol in the display. Press and hold the start button for 3-5 seconds, wait for the beep, and the symbol will turn off.
  2. Failing that, hold the RPM and Finished In buttons simultaneously for 3 seconds, wait for the beep, and the symbol will disappear.

The control lock function will prevent your controls from working, and your machine will neither start nor stop. There are many makes and models of dishwashers with varying levels of technology, so one should look to your particular brand’s operating manual and make.

These can easily be accessed online if you no longer have your manual, or you might try these general fixes to unlock your dishwasher controls:

Look for a Lock Keypad or Symbol

  1. Many models of dishwashers have designated keys for ‘Lock’ or ‘Control Lock’ on your control pad. Find this keypad and hold down the pad for at least three seconds.
  2. Wait for a beep and an indicator above or next to the Lock keypad. If your control lock was set, you should see the indicator light switch off. If it was not set, you would have engaged the lock, and you should see a corresponding light.

If Your Dishwasher Has No Designated Lock or Control Lock Key

If your dishwasher does not offer the lock keys, sometimes the control lock is activated by pressing the Rinse Only or No Heat Dry keypad. You may be able to see a lit lock icon on the control pad. To disengage the control lock:

  1. Press down on the Rinse Only or No Heat Dry keypad for 3 to 8 seconds.
  2. Wait for the machine to bleep, and the lit lock graphics or control lights should blink off.
  3. For GE dishwashers, press twice above the China/Crystal or Normal/Soil keypads to disengage the lock.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found your answer to unlocking your dishwasher and that your dishes are sparkling clean. Unlocking a dishwasher is a fairly simple procedure, and if the general fix or specific brand fix above did not work, you could easily access your specific model online.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 12, 2020.

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