December 23, 2021

How to reset a Whirlpool dishwasher

Lyle Weischwill
Dishwasher won't start.
Dishwasher won't start.

Thunderstorms can cause a power surge through the electrical lines that can freeze up the controls on your Whirlpool dishwasher. Although it rarely happens, a power surge can also occur during clear whether when the power company works on electrical lines. When a power surge freezes up the control board, the control panel will light up but you won’t be able to select any settings and nothing will happen when you press the start button.

A problem with the heating element in many pre-2008 Whirlpool dishwashers causes the Clean light to blink 7 times and the control to freeze up. You’ll need to reset the control board to free up the control.

On a 2008 or newer Whirlpool dishwasher, you may see an error code in the display that requires you to fix a problem and reset the control board before the dishwasher will work properly.

The user manual doesn’t often help you reset your Whirlpool dishwasher. Follow these tips to reset the control board so your dishwasher works properly.

Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting reset

When a power surge locks up the control board on your Whirlpool dishwasher, you can sometimes reset your Whirlpool dishwasher by shutting off its power supply for 3 minutes.

Here are ways that you can shut off the power supply for your dishwasher:

  • Unplug the dishwasher. Some dishwashers have a power cord that plugs into an electrical outlet under the sink. Unplugging the dishwasher for 3 minutes then plugging it back in may reset the control board so the dishwasher works properly.

  • Turn the breaker off. If you don’t see a dishwasher power cord plugged into an outlet under the sink, simply turn off the circuit breaker for 3 minutes. Reset the circuit breaker then see if the dishwasher works properly.

  • Remove the house fuse for the dishwasher. Some older homes use fuses instead of circuit breakers to protect electrical circuits. Remove the fuse for the dishwasher for 3 minutes then reinstall the fuse to reset the dishwasher.

If the problem persists after resetting the control board, have your Whirlpool dishwasher serviced by a technician.

Is there a reset button on a whirlpool dishwasher?

A Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t have a universal reset button that will reboot the control board so the dishwasher works properly.

For a pre-2008 Whirlpool dishwasher, pressing 2 buttons in a certain order will reset the control board so the dishwasher works when the Clean light blinks 7 times.

Before resetting the control, check the heating element for visible damage. Replace the heating element if it’s broken.

If the heating element looks okay, reset the control board by following these steps to enter the diagnostic mode:

  1. Close the dishwasher door. (If your dishwasher has controls on top of the door, you’ll need to perform the key dance described below before closing the door.)

  2. Within 8 seconds, press Heated Dry – Normal Wash – Heated Dry – Normal Wash to start the diagnostic test mode. When you press the Heated Dry button and continue by pressing the Normal Wash button in this order, the dishwasher will enter the diagnostic mode. (On some models, Heated Dry = Air Dry, No Heat Dry or Energy Saver Dry and Normal Wash = High Temp Scrub, Power Scour, High Temp Scour or Sani Rinse).

  3. Close the door if you have a dishwasher with controls on the top of the door.

All lights turn on and the control steps through a 10-minute test. Allow the test to finish before opening the door.

The control may work properly after running the diagnostic mode. Monitor the next few dishwashing cycles to make sure the dishwasher works properly. If the problem persists, have a service technician diagnose and repair the dishwasher.

When you see the Clean light blinking on your 2008 or newer Whirlpool dishwasher, look up the code and get DIY troubleshooting advice to fix and reset the dishwasher on our Dishwasher error code charts.

Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

Main causes: broken door latch, tripped circuit breaker, broken heating element, faulty vent fan, sensor failure, control system problem
Main cause: damaged rack height adjuster
Main causes: damaged or stuck spray arm, leaking door seal, damaged door hinge, leaky heating element water seal, cracked water supply line
Main causes: clogged kitchen sink drain, clogged drain hose, drain check valve damaged, drain pump failure, control system problem
Main causes: water supply problem, stuck overfill float, clogged water inlet valve screen, water inlet valve failure
Main causes: glass or popcorn kernel stuck in the chopper blade, drain line vibrating against the cabinet, debris in wash pump or drain pump
Main causes: broken door spring, damaged or broken door hinge
Main causes: not using rinse aid, rinse aid dispenser failure, broken heating element, malfunctioning vent, drying fan failure
Main causes: light switch beside the sink turned off, lack of power, bad dishwasher door switch, control system failure, wiring problem

Repair guides common to all dishwashers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dishwasher.

How to replace a dishwasher door latch assembly

If the dishwasher door doesn't click shut, a broken door latch is a likely cause. Follow these instructions to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a dishwasher user interface control

The user interface control houses the selection buttons and display. If it fails, you can't select the cycle and settings. Follow these instructions to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2014
Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher thermal fuse

A completely dead control panel often indicates that the thermal fuse on the electronic control board is blown; follow these steps to replace a blown thermal fuse in your dishwasher.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all dishwashers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your dishwasher.

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