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Kenmore Dishwasher Not Turning On or Off

Kenmore dishwashers are becoming more user-friendly as newer models are released. However, as with any appliance, they still seem to have issues along the way. If you find that your Kenmore dishwasher is not turning on or off, there may be a simple explanation that can be found in this article.

If your Kenmore dishwasher is not turning on or off, the issue may be with the door switch. The door switch prevents the dishwasher from operating if the door is not properly closed. If the switch is faulty, the dishwasher will not start. Check the door switch for continuity with a multimeter and replace it if necessary.

Another potential cause could be an issue with the dishwasher’s thermal fuse. The thermal fuse will shut off power to the dishwasher if it overheats. If the fuse has blown, the dishwasher will not turn on. Locate the thermal fuse, usually on the control board, test it for continuity, and replace it if it’s blown.

Female washing dishes in sink and loading dishwasher

A power supply problem could also be to blame. Ensure the dishwasher is plugged into a working outlet. Check for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses in your home, and consider if any recent power outages may have affected the dishwasher. Resetting the circuit breaker or replacing any blown fuses may be necessary to restore power to the dishwasher.

Kenmore Dishwasher Won’t Turn On

Finger pressing dishwasher on button

There are a number of reasons why your dishwasher won’t turn on. This could mean there are no lights displayed and the dishwasher is completely unresponsive, or that the lights are on but it won’t start the cycle. Either way, you can find the possible causes below.

Control Lock is Turned On

Most Kenmore dishwashers have a ‘Control Lock’ function, which is the same as ‘Child Lock’ in other appliances. It will disable any other buttons on the control panel so that the dishwasher cannot be turned on or off accidently. The light next to the ‘Control Lock’ button will be on if this function has been enabled.

You can disable this function and restore normal function to the dishwasher by holding the button down for three seconds. This is also how you enable ‘Control Lock’, so it may have been held down accidently before trying to use the dishwasher. If this is the issue, nothing is broken and your dishwasher will work normally after you turn this function off.

Control Panel is Faulty

If the control panel is faulty, the buttons to turn the dishwasher on may not be working. This could be due to buttons that have become stuck or due to loose or frayed wires. If it is frayed wires, you will need to replace the control panel.

If the wires are loose, you may be able to unplug them and reconnect them. Sometimes this will also reset the control panel, solving any stuck buttons. Make sure to unplug the dishwasher from its power source, or turn off the main power before touching any of the electrical wiring.

Some older dishwashers may have buttons that can get debris trapped underneath. If this is the case, you will need to dislodge the debris and clean the buttons. If the buttons are built into the control panel, you will need to turn off the power for five minutes to reset them.

Door Latch Assembly is Broken

When the door latch assembly is broken, the dishwasher will assume that the door is still open, even when it is closed. Because the dishwasher cannot start until the door has been closed, this will prevent it from turning on.

To check if this is the case, try turning on the dishwasher while holding down the door latch with your finger. If it still doesn’t come on, you will need to replace this component.

Blown Fuse or Tripped Circuit Breaker

If the thermal fuse in the dishwasher has blown, electricity will no longer be able to flow through and the dishwasher will not have any power. The thermal fuse is located on the circuit board and is designed to prevent overheating. However, it is a one-use-only component, meaning you will need to replace it once it has blown.

You will have the same issue if the dishwasher has tripped the circuit breaker in your home. This occurs if the electricity within the dishwasher has risen to dangerous levels. If this is the case, you will need to switch the electricity back on from the circuit breaker control panel in your home.

Either of these two issues occurs due to an underlying problem with the dishwasher. They are safety measures to prevent damage to the dishwasher or your home. If this continues to occur, you will need a technician to find out what is causing the issue in the first place.


If the dishwasher detects an error, it will stop what it is doing and often display an error code. The two main components that could cause errors before the dishwasher appears to turn on are the internal timer and the water inlet valve.

The timer is an electronic component that monitors the timing of each function, whereas the water inlet valve lets water into the dishwasher. Both of these function at the beginning of the dishwashing cycle, so it would appear that the dishwasher does not turn on if they have malfunctioned.

Circuit Board is Broken

The circuit board is what orchestrates every function in the dishwasher. If this is broken, the dishwasher will not start because no signals are being sent out. This requires a replacement board.


A Kenmore dishwasher that keeps running may have a stuck timer. The timer is responsible for moving the dishwasher through the different stages of a cycle. If it gets stuck, the cycle will continue indefinitely. To fix this, try advancing the timer manually to see if it can move past the point where it gets stuck. If this doesn’t work, the timer might need to be replaced.

Kenmore Dishwasher Won’t Turn Off

Stacking cups and dishes in dishwasher

Control Timer Malfunction

A dishwasher that won’t turn off is likely an issue with the internal control timer. If the timer is broken, the dishwasher will not be able to register when the cycle is finished.

This could affect any stage of the cycle, including filling, washing, draining or drying. If you suspect this is the issue, you will need to replace the circuit board.

Heating Issues

The dishwasher will also not turn off if it has not reached the optimum temperature. The control panel will wait until the water has reached the desired temperature before proceeding to the wash cycle. A damaged heating element may be the cause, which is easy to replace.

There also may be issues with the thermistor, which is the component that monitors the water temperature. If the thermistor is faulty, it may not register when the water has reached the desired temperature. This is an electrical component that will also need to be replaced.

Reset the Dishwasher

Some dishwashers take longer to run than others so make sure you have given the dishwasher enough time to complete its cycle. The average cycle length on a Kenmore dishwasher is 95 minutes, but some settings, such as the ‘Pots and Pans’ setting, will run longer. If your water is colder and takes longer to heat up, this will also increase the length of the cycle.

However, if your dishwasher has been running longer than expected, you should switch it off at the power. Leaving the dishwasher off for five minutes will also perform a reset of the controls.

Here’s a more detailed article on how to reset your Kenmore dishwasher.

Kenmore Dishwasher Keeps Turning Off

Male fixing dishwasher door

Faulty Door Latch

Sometimes a faulty door latch will latch intermittently. This means that your dishwasher will start, but then sometime later, the door will unlatch and the dishwasher will stop. This is harder to diagnose than if it was completely broken, but will still need to be replaced.

Electrical Fault

Any electrical fault within the dishwasher is likely to trip the circuit breaker in your home. This will turn off all electricity on that circuit, turning the dishwasher off mid-cycle.

You should notice other appliances have turned off and the breaker switch has turned off. You can easily turn the electricity back on, but you will need to find out what is causing the problem in the first place and have it repaired.

Failed Components

Any failed components within the dishwasher will cause the system to error, as I mentioned earlier. Those that are activated mid-cycle will give the appearance that your dishwasher keeps turning off. This is commonly caused by a malfunctioning heating element (if it causes an error) or vent fan.

Faulty circuit board

Finally, the circuit board could again be responsible for your dishwasher issues. Any damage or faults in the wiring could cause different components in the dishwasher to malfunction when they are activated. This could occur at any time during the cycle.

This will require the circuit board to be replaced. Keep in mind that it may also be that the component has malfunctioned instead of the circuit board. Therefore it is best to visually inspect the board for signs of damage.

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