Troubleshooting your Whirlpool dishwasher – How to reset it

Written by Jason Hutchinson
6 Min read

When it comes to Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting, it can be quite difficult to know what’s stopping your machine from working as it should.

Plus, if your defective dishwasher has left you with a kitchen full of dirty plates and bowls, it can be even more stressful. But, with our simple guide, you can kiss those troubles goodbye.

Sometimes, when your machine packs up, it’s not always the case that you need to call out the repair guy. A lot of common issues can be fixed by listening to the mantra of every IT department ever – “try turning it off and back on again”.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with the Whirlpool brand or you’ve never had to perform diagnostics on your machine before, it can be a little daunting. But don’t panic.

In this blog, we’ll take you through the most common ways to reset your Whirlpool dishwasher to bring it back on-side again. Plus, we’ll also be mentioning some general care points that will reduce the number of resets you have to conduct.

The simple fix

Before we go any further on this guide to troubleshooting your Whirlpool dishwasher, it’s definitely worth trying the easy fix.

Try to simply reset your appliance by turning it off, unplugging it, and waiting a few minutes. Plug it back in and run a cycle to see if that got it singing again.

Elsewhere, if your machine is hard-wired in, then try turning it off at the breaker switch powering it. This will be located in your house’s main circuit box. Just switch off the breaker, wait the obligatory couple of minutes, and flip it back on again.

If neither of those approaches work (it was worth a shot), let’s move on to some other methods.

Resetting my Whirlpool dishwasher

It will come as no surprise that each Whirlpool dishwasher has its own model number. So, if you know where your installation manual is then it’s definitely worth checking that out. Your machine’s manual will have a thorough guide on how to complete a reset.

But, we understand that you probably wouldn’t be looking at this article, in the first instance, if you knew where the manual was. So, what else can you do?

Sticking with the model number methodology for now. If you can’t find the manual for your machine, but you can see the model number, try searching for it on our good friend Google. A simple search intent of just “Whirlpool dishwasher” and the model number should bring you to a matching manual.

However, if all of that’s no good or you can’t find your model number, then all is not lost. Let’s take a look at some other standard procedures for resetting your Whirlpool dishwasher.

How to reset the control board on your Whirlpool dishwasher

Follow this simple guide to complete a reset of your machine’s control board:

  • Turn the machine off and unplug it from the power
  • Wait for 5 minutes, plug it back in and turn the power on
  • Then select either the “High” or “Pots and Pans” function if you have it
  • After that, select a “Heat” drying cycle
  • Repeat the process again after a couple of minutes

Occasionally, after heavy weather or power outages, the control panel in your Whirlpool dishwasher can need a refresher to kick back into life.

This control panel reset should sort that out for you. If not, let’s move on to activating the diagnostic mode.

How to activate Whirlpool dishwasher diagnostic mode

Don’t worry, this is not as technical as it sounds. But it is a great way to reset your machine’s internal diagnostics if you’re experiencing an alarm or flashing lights on the interface.

To activate diagnostic mode all you need to do is press the “Heated Dry” button and then the “Normal” button. Repeat this two-button process again immediately afterward. This will then take the machine into diagnostic mode and it will eventually reset itself.

You might also want to try repeating the process with the door open if that hasn’t worked.

However, this approach isn’t always effective across newer machines. But, again, don’t worry, as Appliances Made Simple has yet another solution.

Whirlpool WDF560SAFM2 Dishwasher - Diagnostic Mode

How to reset newer Whirlpool dishwashers

The process for resetting a more modern Whirlpool dishwasher is equally as unscientific and easy-to-follow as that diagnostic mode activation.

To complete the reset you simply need to press any three-button sequence on the control panel consecutively three times. This should either send the machine into diagnostic mode or complete the reset.

But how can you make sure you have to complete these annoying resets as rarely as possible?

How to prevent Whirlpool dishwasher breakdowns

Whether you’re wondering why your fridge won’t get cold or trying to figure out what has made your dishwasher stop working, there’s usually a good explanation.

You need to keep it clean.

When it comes to your dishwasher, there are 4 regular checks you can do to ensure you don’t have to go through the stress of a reset.

  1. Clean the filters
  2. Check the inlet temperature
  3. Top-up the rinse-aid
  4. Install surge protection

1. Clean your filters

As you can imagine from an appliance that spends its days rinsing the unwanted food debris off your plates, bowls, and silverware, its internal filters can get pretty clogged up. It’s important to try and keep these filters as clean as possible as build-ups of food and other waste can cause blockages and malfunctions.

2. Check the inlet temperature

Whirlpool themselves suggest a recommended water temperature of 120° Fahrenheit for optimal cleaning results.

3. Top-up the rinse aid

Okay, not all dishwashers use rinse aid. But it’s always worth checking, especially if you own an industrial washer. Although the levels of rinse aid in your machine shouldn’t decrease too much, you should always stay across the situation.

4. Install surge protection

Installing surge protection on your Whirlpool machine offers great protection against electrical outages or, you guessed it, power surges. As we mentioned above, power outages could be the main reason your dishwasher needs a control board reset.

What to do if none of those resets work?

If you’ve come this far and all those reset approaches haven’t got your Whirlpool dishwasher working properly again, then it may be time to call in the professionals.

On the other hand, if your machine is still reasonably new and you can remember where you got it from, it may be worth speaking to the people who know it best – the ones who made it. Give Whirlpool a call and explain the issue to them.

Final Thoughts

Troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher can oftentimes mean resetting it or completing a diagnostic check. But the reset can also help your machine shake any repetitive error codes and allow it to go about its normal business once again.

All the above does go to prove that blinking lights, alarms, and lesser performance are not always signs that your dishwasher is on the way out. So, it’s definitely always worth trying a reset before thinking about buying an expensive new model.

However, as we’ve said, it’s also super-important to maintain the health of your appliance through regular cleaning and functionality checks.

The more regular checks you complete, the less chance there is of you winding up with a kitchen full of dirty plates and nothing to clean them in. And you know that sort of disaster will save itself for something like Thanksgiving when the whole family is round.

Is there a reset button on Whirlpool dishwashers?

Generally, Whirlpool dishwashers do not feature a reset button. But there are a number of easy ways to do this including turning it off, unplugging the power and waiting 5 minutes before plugging back in.

How do you fix a dishwasher that will not finish the cycle?

If your dishwasher is not finishing its cycle this will most likely be an issue with the thermal fuse. It could have become clogged up with debris, broken or loose connected. If it is broken then you will need to replace the fuse.

Why is my dishwasher filling and draining but not washing?

This could be due to something blocking the motor – listen out for a humming sound as this is a tell-tale sign of a blocked or stuck motor. On the other hand, it could also be a broken or clogged thermal fuse.

Why is my dishwasher light blinking?

This is usually a sign of an issue with water heat. Running a simple diagnostic reset should fix the issue.

What is the average life of a Whirlpool dishwasher?

Your Whirlpool dishwasher should have an average life expectancy of 10 years.

Appliances made simple. 

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