Whirlpool has been a trusted name in appliances for over 100 years. Whirlpool dishwashers are durable; however, they can get clogged from mineral deposits and food particles, need an electronic reset, and parts can wear out over time and need to be replaced.
When the wash cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher is not working, start by checking the appliance’s power and water supply. Then, confirm that the door is completely closed and latched. Your dishwasher may also display faulty or error codes that can help you identify and troubleshoot the problem.
Below, you’ll learn how to troubleshoot some common wash cycle errors yourself and gauge when to call a repair technician.
Three common errors can impede your dishwasher’s functioning. Try these fixes first; if they don’t resolve your issue, check the issue-specific guide below.
The Door Is Not Closed
- Make sure the dishwasher door is completely closed and latched.
- Check that the lower dish rack is not set backward, which can interfere with the door locking mechanism.
- If the door doesn’t latch, you may need to replace the latch mechanism.
Water Supply Issues
- Ensure the water shutoff valve, usually located under the kitchen sink, is fully open.
- Turn on the kitchen faucet. If there is no water or diminished water pressure, the main water supply is likely off and needs to return before the dishwasher will work.
- Water supply issues may be shown as Fault Code F6 or six flashes.
There Is No Power Supply
- Check the circuit breaker box and reset the breaker if it’s tripped.
- If your dishwasher operates on a wall switch, make sure it’s on.
Dishwasher Won’t Start a Wash Cycle
If your dishwasher doesn’t start a wash cycle, try these troubleshooting tips:
Ensure Control Lock Is Off
Control Lock prevents the accidental use of the dishwasher and option changes while running. When Control Lock is on, all other controls are disabled.
If you aren’t sure whether Control Lock is on, press a cycle button on the keypad. If Control Lock is on, the light will blink three times.
Turning off Control Lock:
- Press and hold the Lock Button for four seconds. The lock light will disappear.
- Once off, you should be able to start your wash cycle.
Note: If Sleep Mode is on, turn that off first, then turn off Control Lock.
Ensure Sleep Mode Is Off
- To turn Sleep Mode off, press either START/RESUME or CANCEL or
- Open and close the door.
Ensure Delayed Wash Is Off
When Delay Wash is turned on, the dishwasher won’t run until the delay time is reached.
To turn off Delayed Wash:
- Press CANCEL/DRAIN to cancel the delay.
- Press START/RESUME to start the cycle.
Reset Your Dishwasher
Like many other electronics, you may need to reset the dishwasher control panel by turning it off, waiting, then turning it back on.
- Press the OFF button.
- Disconnect the dishwasher from its power source by unplugging it or by turning the circuit breaker off at the electric panel.
- Once disconnected, wait one minute, and turn the power back on.
Dishwasher Doesn’t Complete a Wash Cycle
Normal Whirlpool dishwasher cycles are 1.5 to 4 hours long, with pauses for several seconds during the wash cycle to adjust the water temperature. If your dishwasher completely stops mid-cycle, check these elements:
Vent and Fan Assembly
A vent at the bottom of your dishwasher opens to allow a fan to suction moisture. If the fan fails, your dishwasher may stop mid-cycle:
- If your dishes weren’t drying properly before it stopped mid-cycle, that might be a clue that the dishwasher’s vent and fan assembly was starting to malfunction.
- If either the fan or vent fails, you should replace the entire assembly.
Dishwasher Fills But Does Not Wash
A malfunctioning circulation pump motor is the main culprit when your Whirlpool dishwasher fills without washing; alternatively, it could be an impeded or clogged spray arm.
The circulation pump runs on a motor and forces water through the sprayer arm to clean your dishes. If the dishwasher fills and the motor isn’t making any noise or makes clicking or humming sounds, it may be burned out.
If you have a multimeter, here is how you can check whether the motor is being powered:
- Disconnect the power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker.
- Unscrew the lower access panel, locate the motor, and test the terminals and the ground connection.
- The motor test should show a reading of zero or close to zero.
- The ground connection should show no reading.
- If the readings are good, check the sprayer arm.
- If they are off, the motor needs replacement (see below).
You may have one or more spray arms depending on your dishwasher model. Debris in the pump housing can stop the bottom spray arm from turning. This problem may be displayed as Fault Code F5 or five flashes.
Clean all debris from the pump housing and follow the instructions here. Next, check the spray arm for debris and mineral deposits. If you cannot access the arm in place, remove it by the knob under the arm. Unclog the holes with a thin wire, a descaler, or soak the arm in a solution of warm water and vinegar.
When you replace the spray arm, position it to pair correctly with the water supply nozzle to turn easily.
If power is getting to the motor, the pump isn’t clogged, and your dishwasher still doesn’t wash, the motor has likely gone bad. If your unit is under warranty, it may cover a defective motor.
If out of the warranty period, online guides and Youtube videos like the one below show how to replace the motor, and you can order the parts you need on the Whirlpool website using your dishwasher’s model number.
Dishwasher Keeps Running on a Wash Cycle
If your dishwasher runs continuously, it could indicate a problem with one of the following elements:
The timer motor times each dishwasher cycle. If it’s defective, your dishwasher may run continuously. You can check it with a multimeter.
The heating element heats the water, aids dish drying, or both, depending on your dishwasher model. When it fails, your dishwasher may keep running and be shown as Fault Code F3, or three flashes. Use a multimeter to see if it’s functioning.
The thermostat, which also can be checked with a multimeter, controls the timer motor and signals when the water temperature is right for the next cycle. When it fails, the dishwasher continues to run and be shown as Fault Code F1, or one flash.
The fill valve connects the water supply to your dishwasher. If the inlet valve cannot close, then the water will keep flowing into the dishwasher. If you turn off the dishwasher’s power source and it continues to fill with water, you should shut off the water valve immediately. You may also need to replace the water inlet valve.
When the electronic control board malfunctions, it can keep the dishwasher running, even when you press STOP on the keypad. Reset your dishwasher as indicated above. If that does not fix the issue, you may need to change the control panel.
Whirlpool dishwashers are built to operate smoothly and consistently. However, all electronic appliances need occasional troubleshooting and servicing. This article should help you do some basic troubleshooting to get your dishwasher working again.