Dishwasher Turns On By Itself: 5 Reasons Why Plus Fixes

Ever walked into your kitchen to find the dishwasher partying on its own? Don’t worry, it’s not haunted. 

If your dishwasher turns on by itself, it could be due to a wonky door switch, electrical glitches, or software hiccups. Check and fix the door switch, inspect electrical bits for wear, and keep the control panel clean. Don’t forget those software updates – they matter, too.

Keep reading to learn more about these reasons and fixes in detail. 

5 Reasons Why Dishwasher Turns On By Itself

Let’s get things rolling with the main reasons first:

Dishwasher Turns On By Itself

Reason 1: Faulty Door Switch

When your dishwasher unexpectedly starts, one potential reason is a problematic door switch. 

This device is meant to ensure the dishwasher only runs when the door is securely closed. 

If it’s not working correctly, perhaps due to a defect or misalignment in the latch assembly, the dishwasher might recognize that the door is closed, causing it to kick into action on its own.

Reason 2: Electrical Issues

Unwanted dishwasher activations can sometimes be traced back to electrical problems. 

Things like short circuits, faulty wiring, or disruptions in the appliance’s electrical connections can trigger the dishwasher to operate independently. 

The intricate network of electronic components within the dishwasher, including the control board and sensors, makes it vulnerable to these types of issues.

Reason 3: Software Glitches

Software hiccups within the dishwasher’s control system can lead to odd behavior, including the dishwasher starting on its own. 

These glitches could arise from programming errors, incomplete or pending software updates, or conflicts in the dishwasher’s software. 

Today’s dishwashers often rely on sophisticated control boards, and any glitches in the software can lead to unintended actions.

Reason 4: Corroded Control Panel Connector

Corrosion in the control panel or its connectors can disrupt communication between different parts of the dishwasher, causing the appliance to act on its own. 

This issue is more common in modern dishwashers that release moist air near the control panel. 

Moisture’s corrosive effects can interfere with electrical connections, leading to unintended signals and operations.

Reason 5: Accidental Activation of Delay Function

Sometimes, the dishwasher may start on its own because someone accidentally set a delay. 

The delay function lets you schedule when the dishwasher should run, and if you’ve unknowingly programmed a delay, the dishwasher will kick into action when the set time arrives. 

It’s a good idea to double-check and ensure that any delay settings align with your intended operation to prevent this inadvertent start.

How To Fix A Dishwasher That Turns On By Itself

Now, let’s go deeper into the fixes:

Solution 1: Inspecting And Replacing Door Switch:

  1. Begin by turning off the power to the dishwasher. Safety first!
  2. Locate the door switch, often found around the dishwasher’s frame where the door closes. You might need to remove the inner door panel or access the switch from the kickplate.
  3. Inspect the door switch for any misalignment or debris that might be preventing it from engaging properly. Clean the area around the switch.
  4. Use a multimeter to check the continuity of the door switch. If it doesn’t show continuity when the door is closed, the switch may be faulty.
  5. If the door switch is faulty or not working correctly, consider swapping it out.

Solution 2: Take Care Of The Electrical Issues

  1. Ensure the power to the dishwasher is turned off before attempting any electrical work.
  2. Examine the dishwasher’s wiring for signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. Focus on the power supply and connections to the control board.
  3. Look for signs of a short circuit, such as burnt areas or unusual smells. Inspect the control board for any visible damage.
  4. Use a multimeter to test the continuity of the wiring and connections. Identify and replace any components showing electrical issues.
  5. If you’re uncomfortable working with electrical components or if the issue persists, seek the help of a licensed electrician or appliance repair professional.

Solution 3: Take Care Of Software Updates

Sometimes, you might need to manually update your dishwasher; maybe it keeps turning on to update and fails to do so. 

The update process is fairly easy. Below is a process that’s used by GE dishwashers, but also applies to most dishwashers from other brands:

  1. Open the connected GE app.
  2. Check notifications for available software updates.
  3. Review update details.
  4. Click “Apply” in the app to start the update.
  5. Wait for the update, which may take up to 30 minutes.
  6. The dishwasher won’t function during the update.
  7. Monitor update progress on the app.
  8. Observe that all dishwasher functions are turned off.
  9. Once complete, the dishwasher will resume normal operation.

Solution 4: Fix Other Software Glitches

As for the other software issues, here’s what you can do to get rid of them:

  1. Turn off the dishwasher’s power supply.
  2. Wait for at least five minutes to allow for a reset.
  3. Power the dishwasher back on and initiate a reboot by holding the power button for about 10 seconds.
  4. Check for any error codes on the digital display and consult the manual for their meaning.
  5. Perform a factory reset by following the sequence of button presses suggested by your dishwasher brand.
  6. If glitches persist, contact customer support for guidance.

Solution 5: Fixing Control Panel 

  1. Always start by turning off the power to the dishwasher to ensure safety.
  2. Remove any necessary panels to access the control panel and its connectors.  Make sure none of the connectors are loose or damaged.
  3. Check for signs of corrosion on the control panel and its connectors. Clean any visible corrosion using a mixture of vinegar and water and a soft brush.
  4. Ensure the area is thoroughly dry before reassembling the dishwasher. Use a hairdryer on a low setting if needed.
  5. Turn the power back on and test the dishwasher’s operation. 
  6. If the issue persists, and corrosion is severe, consider replacing the control panel or affected connectors. 


What are some maintenance tips to avoid the issue of the dishwasher turning on automatically in the future?

The best things you can do to keep the dishwasher from turning on randomly are:

  • Keep the door switch and latch clean.
  • Secure electrical connections.
  • Avoid overloading.
  • Follow cleaning guidelines. 
  • Check for any kind of leaks regularly.

What are the signs of a dishwasher going out?

Listen for weird noises, notice bad smells, poor cleaning, leaks, or electrical issues. These, or multiple problems may mean it’s on its last legs.

What is the normal life expectancy of a dishwasher?

Dishwashers typically last 10-13 years with good care. The brand, model, and usage patterns affect lifespan. 

Is it worth it to repair a 7 year old dishwasher?

Fixing a 7-year-old dishwasher makes sense for minor issues. For major problems, consider a newer and much more energy-efficient model.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your dishwasher in check doesn’t have to be a hassle. 

Regular checks and knowing the signs can help you keep the dishwasher from starting up by itself.

If it’s acting up, consider its age and the extent of issues before deciding on repairs or an upgrade. 

Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way in keeping your kitchen companion at its best.

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