Whirlpool Dishwasher Starts Then Stops: 3 Reasons

Having trouble with your Whirlpool dishwasher starting and then abruptly stopping? You’re not alone. Many homeowners have faced the same frustrating issue, but worry not – appliance technician has got you covered. In this post, we’ll delve into the possible reasons behind this problem and provide practical solutions to get your dishwasher running smoothly again.

If you’ve encountered a whirlpool dishwasher that starts but stops mid-cycle, it can be caused by various factors such as a faulty door latch, malfunctioning motor relay, or even a clogged drain. We’ll walk you through troubleshooting steps to identify the root cause and guide you on how to address each potential issue effectively. Say goodbye to the hassle of restarting your dishwasher machine repeatedly – let’s troubleshoot and fix it once and for all!

Identifying the Issue

Have you noticed that your Whirlpool dishwasher machine fills with water then stops? I’ll help you find out what the problem is and suggest some DIY fixes to help you fix the problem. 

Your Whirlpool dishwasher stops because of clogged holes on the spray arms, a malfunctioning circulation pump, or a faulty detergent dispenser. You have to clean or replace the washer components to get the machine to start and work a complete wash cycle.

A Whirlpool dishwasher that only fills but doesn’t wash can be an inconvenience, especially if you have many dishes to clean and only a few minutes to get the job done.

Still, there are thing you can do to fix this problem, and it doesn’t involve hiring the service of a skilled and experienced technician.

My goal in this guide is simple:

I’ll state and explain why your Whirlpool washer is likely shutting down after filling with water. And then I’ll suggest what you should do to fix each error and get your unit working properly again.

Related: Whirlpool Dishwasher Troubleshooting Guide

Whirlpool Dishwasher Fills With Water Then Stops

Why Does My Whirlpool Dishwasher Fill With Water Then Stops?

The following tables shows why Whirlpool dishwashers fill with water and then stop as well as what you can do to fix the problem.

 ProblemHow to Notice ItQuick DIY Fix
1.Faulty circulation pumpYou will hear a humming, annoying sound from the circulation pump.Use a multimeter to do a continue test. If you don’t get zero or a value close to zero, replace the circulation pump
2.Blockage in sprayer holesYou’ll see food particles and mineral deposits from hard water in the washer.Use a cloth wire hanger to remove the dirt from the holes. Run water through the sprayer to give it a final good clean.
3.Faulty detergent dispenserThe detergent drawer doesn’t open up to release detergent to the dishes when running a wash cycle.First, give the dispenser good clean to see if that solves the problem. If one of the springs is broken, get a new detergent dispenser for replacement.

1. Malfunctioned or Faulty Motor/Circulation Pump

Your Whirlpool dishwasher features a wash motor that must work appropriately for the whole unit to work well.

If you notice that the dishwasher fills with water and then stops instead of running a wash cycle, it’s likely that the motor (circulation pump) malfunctioned or already completely faulty.

The only best way to fix this error is to run a Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting by locating the motor and see if it’s bad. More often than not, a bad motor will generate a clicking sound right from where the manufacturer installed it.

If you hear the annoying sound from the motor, it’s likely that the component is faulty and needs a replacement. You should first run a continuity test to determine whether the motor can still work or otherwise. 

To do this:

  • Disconnect the unit from the power source

  • Look for the motor behind the access panel or the lower kick plate

  • Disconnect the wires attached to the motor

  • With a multimeter set to Rx1, place the multimeter’s probe to the wire terminals

Check if the multimeter returns results of a reading of zero or close to zero.

Now check the ground connection by placing one probe on each terminal at a time and the other one on the motor’s metal house. You shouldn’t have any reading for this.

If your test returns any other readings other than what I’ve stated above, your Whirlpool dishwasher motor is bad. You should get a new motor for replacement.

new Whirlpool dishwasher motor

To replace the Whirlpool dishwasher motor:

  • Disconnect the dishwasher from power

  • Locate the motor and unfasten the screws that hold it in place

  • Open the door, remove the lower rack, spray tower, and the lower spray arm assembly

  • Remove the filter assembly under the spray arm if your model has one

  • Remove the drain hose from the pump and lift the pump and motor assembly form the base

  • Install the new motor and put all the components back in place

Make sure there are no leaks under the unit. Connect your Whirlpool back to power and run it through a test cycle.

Reset the dishwasher and then power it back on ready to clean dishes. The unit should not fill with water and run a wash cycle successfully.

Related: Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Turning On

2. Your Whirlpool Dishwasher’s Sprayer Holes Blocked

The spray arm is one of the most important components of the Whirlpool dishwasher. Its work is to shoot out water so that the unit can clean your dishes.

But the spray arm doesn’t remain in the best condition for the dishwasher’s lifetime. As you continue to use your Whirlpool dishwasher, food particles, mineral deposits, and hard water will block the spray arm.

So if your Whirlpool dishwasher is getting power, but then it stops working after filling with water, there’s a high chance the sprayer holes have clogging in them.

Clogging in the holes isn’t something difficult to fix, and you don’t have to spend any money to get this done. All you have to do here is to clear away the blockages to get the unit working as it normally does.

You can use any metal clothes hanger to clear blockages from the spray arms’ holes. You can clear the blockages with the arms installed, but it’s best to remove it from the unit and clean it separately for the best results. 

Detaching the spray arm from its place and cleaning it separate from the unit will ensure you remove all food particles and mineral deposits from the wholes.

After using a wire clothes hanger to remove the dirt and debris:

  • Soak the spray arm in warm water mixed with water to dissolve the deposits left in the component.

  • Put the spray arm back in place and secure it accordingly so that it doesn’t fall out.

  • Test the spray arm to ensure it spins. If it doesn’t, remove it and reposition, and then test it for spinning to make sure it does so freely.

I strongly suggest that you also clean the outer part of the spray arm. Doing so will make sure the dishwasher works well for an extended period.

Related: Whirlpool Dishwasher Buttons Not Working

3. The Detergent Dispenser Might Be Faulty

If you notice that your dishwasher fills with water but then it stops, it could be there is a problem with the detergent dispenser.

The problem here is that sometimes the detergent drawer doesn’t open up the way it should when you turn the dishwasher on. Thus, the dishwasher will stop despite having the correct power supply.

To fix this problem: 

  • Start a Whirlpool dishwasher to run a wash cycle.

  • Pause the cycle after 15 minutes.

  • Open the door and check if the detergent dispenser opens, as it should.

If you notice that the detergent dispenser opens the way it should, close the door and resume running the wash cycle to clean your dishes.

If the detergent dispenser doesn’t open, it could be for two reasons. It’s likely that the dispenser is dirty or the spring that opens the dispenser door is broken.

Giving the unit a good clean can fix the problem if it’s dirt causing the dispenser not to release detergent to the dishes.

If the spring in the unit is broken, the best thing to do in this case is to get a new detergent dispenser for replacement.

dishwasher detergent dispenser

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Most Common Problem with a Whirlpool Dishwasher?

The most common Whirlpool dishwasher problems that you’re more than likely to run into include:

  • The dishwasher not turning on despite having power

  • The dishwasher to cleaning dishes despite having water 

  • Dishwasher not drying dishes

  • The dishwasher not draining

  • The dishwasher control panel not responding despite having lights

Fortunately, these common problems aren’t difficult to fix. You can run a Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting to identify what error the unit has and check the manual for recommended DIY fixes.

2. Why Won’t My Whirlpool Dishwasher Run a Cycle?

Your Whirlpool dishwasher won’t run a cycle possibly because of a tripped breaker. You should check your home’s circuit breaker and adjust it accordingly.

It could also be that your unit just jammed, with the control panel getting the wrong signals from different component of the dishwasher. Should this be the case, you should consider resetting the dishwasher so resolve the glitches.

You should consider doing a hard reset. Unplug the unit from the power source, wait at least 5 minutes for the unit to rese, plug it back to power, and then start a new cycle to clean your dishes.

3. How Do I know If My Whirlpool Dishwasher Water Inlet is Bad?

The signs of a faulty Whirlpool dishwasher inlet valve includes:

  • Leaks that fill up the unit with water even when it’s off

  • Lack of enough water to run a full wash cycle

A faulty inlet valve cause water to leak to a point that the dishwasher fills and start to flood your kitchen.

Fortunately, the faulty valve is easy to fix. Remember, many inlet valves malfunction because of defective seal or solenoid failure. So addressing these should help to fix the issue.

4. Does My Whirlpool Dishwasher Have a Reset Button?

Whirlpool dishwashers don’t have reset buttons. So the only best way to reset the unit is to disconnect it from the power source, wait at least 5 minutes, and then turn it back on to run a new wash cycle.


Your Whirlpool dishwasher might fill with water and then stop. But you can be sure that the issue is easy to fix.

If you follow the instructions I’ve provided in this guide, you’ll not only fix a Whirlpool dishwasher that fills and stops, but also never have to worry about hiring a professional technician if you ever experience the same problem in the future.

Cycle Interruptions

If your whirlpool dishwasher starts then stops, it could be experiencing cycle interruptions. Check for any interruptions in the washing process, such as a pause or delay during operation. Common causes of these interruptions include power supply issues, faulty door latches, or malfunctioning control panels. To address interrupted cycles, ensure that the dishwasher is receiving adequate power and inspect the door latch and control panel for any signs of damage or malfunction. You can also reset the dishwasher by turning off its power source and then turning it back on after a few minutes.

Another potential issue causing your Whirlpool dishwasher to start then stop might be related to water filling problems. Troubleshoot any issues with water filling by examining the inlet valve, float switch, and water supply line for blockages or malfunctions. Ensure that there are no kinks in the water supply line and that the float switch moves freely without any obstructions. Clean out any debris from the inlet valve to allow proper water flow into the dishwasher.

Faulty Components

Faulty components within your Whirlpool dishwasher can lead to operational disruptions where it starts but stops shortly after initiating a cycle. Recognize common faulty parts such as malfunctioning pumps, motors, or sensors that may impact its performance. If you suspect faulty components are causing this issue with your dishwasher, consider seeking professional assistance to diagnose and replace these parts accordingly.

Understanding how sprayer blockages can affect your Whirlpool dishwasher’s functionality is crucial when addressing this problem effectively. Clear any blockages within the sprayer arms by removing them from their mounting brackets and cleaning them thoroughly using a brush or compressed air if necessary. Dealing with clogged sprayers involves ensuring that no food particles or mineral deposits obstruct their openings while preventing future blockages entails regularly rinsing dishes before loading them into the appliance.

Common Reasons for Stopping Mid-Cycle

Power Fluctuations

Power fluctuations can disrupt the normal functioning of a whirlpool dishwasher. When the power supply to the dishwasher is unstable, it can cause the appliance to start and then stop abruptly during a wash cycle. This may lead to incomplete cleaning and rinsing of dishes. To handle power fluctuations, consider using a voltage stabilizer or surge protector for your dishwasher. These devices help regulate and stabilize the incoming electrical supply, safeguarding your dishwasher from sudden voltage changes that could interrupt its operation.

Power fluctuations have adverse effects on dishwashers as they interfere with the consistent flow of electricity required for continuous operation. Protecting your dishwasher from these fluctuations is crucial in maintaining its efficiency and preventing mid-cycle interruptions.

Door Latch Malfunctions

A malfunctioning door latch is another common cause behind a whirlpool dishwasher starting but then stopping mid-cycle. The door latch plays a vital role in ensuring that the dishwasher remains securely closed throughout its operation, allowing water pressure to build up effectively inside. If there’s an issue with the latch, such as misalignment or damage, it can result in intermittent stops during a wash cycle.

Resolving door latch malfunctions involves inspecting the latch mechanism for any visible signs of wear or misalignment and making necessary adjustments or replacements if needed. A properly functioning door latch is essential for maintaining an uninterrupted wash cycle in your dishwasher.

Overloaded Circuits

Overloading circuits within dishwashers can lead to unexpected halts during their cycles. It’s important not to overload circuits by running multiple high-power appliances simultaneously with your whirlpool dishwasher as this strains the electrical system beyond its capacity.

Consequences of overloading circuits include tripped breakers or blown fuses which disrupts power supply to the dishwasher causing it to stop midway through its cycle unexpectedly. Ensure proper circuit usage by distributing high-power appliance usage evenly across different electrical circuits in your home while avoiding simultaneous heavy loads on one circuit.

Troubleshooting Filling Issues

Water Inlet Diagnosis

If your whirlpool dishwasher starts then stops, it could be due to water inlet issues. First, check the water supply valve to ensure it’s fully open. Then, inspect the inlet valve screen for any clogs or debris that may be obstructing water flow into the dishwasher. If there are no visible issues with the valve or screen, you can use a multimeter to test for continuity in the water inlet valve. A lack of continuity indicates a faulty valve that needs replacement.

Another common problem is a defective float switch, which regulates the amount of water in the appliance during operation. To diagnose this issue, remove and clean any debris from the float assembly and ensure it moves freely without obstruction. If these steps don’t resolve the problem, consider seeking professional assistance to further diagnose and repair complex electrical components.

Detergent Dispenser Blocks

In some cases, whirlpool dishwashers may stop mid-cycle due to detergent dispenser blocks. Clear any obstructions from the dispenser compartment such as hardened detergent residue or foreign objects that might prevent proper opening during operation. Regularly cleaning and maintaining this area can help prevent future clogs that disrupt normal cycle progression.

Using high-quality detergents specifically formulated for dishwashers can reduce buildup and minimize potential clogging issues with your appliance’s dispenser system. Always follow manufacturer recommendations for loading detergent into its designated compartment to avoid overfilling or spilling excess product onto other parts of your dishwasher.

Resolving Filling Problems

Float Switch Adjustments

A common issue causing a whirlpool dishwasher to start and then stop is related to the float switch. This small device monitors the water level inside the appliance. If it’s not functioning properly, it can lead to erratic behavior during the wash cycle. Adjusting the float switch may resolve this problem. By ensuring that it moves freely and isn’t obstructed by debris, you can maintain its functionality.

The float switch plays a crucial role in preventing overfilling or underfilling of water in the dishwasher. When dishes are being washed, if there’s an obstruction or damage to this component, it might falsely signal that there’s enough water when there isn’t, leading to interruptions in operation. Regularly cleaning and inspecting the float switch ensures that it remains in good working condition.

Inlet Valve Checks

Another potential cause for your whirlpool dishwasher starting and stopping unexpectedly is a faulty inlet valve. It’s important to periodically check this valve for any signs of wear or damage as part of regular maintenance routines. Ensuring that the inlet valve opens fully when needed allows proper water flow into the machine during each cycle.

Regular checks on your dishwasher’s inlet valve help identify issues early on before they escalate into bigger problems affecting its performance. Addressing any concerns with the inlet valve promptly prevents interruptions during washing cycles caused by inadequate water supply or leaks.

Quick Fixes for Cycle Interruptions

Filter Cleaning

When your whirlpool dishwasher starts then stops, one of the common culprits could be a dirty filter. The filter is responsible for trapping food particles and debris to prevent them from recirculating onto your dishes. Over time, these filters can get clogged, impacting the dishwasher’s performance.

Regularly cleaning the dishwasher filter is crucial to ensure smooth operation. To clean it, start by removing the lower rack and locating the filter at the bottom of the tub. Gently twist or lift out the central cylinder and mesh filter assembly. Rinse it under running water to remove any residue or debris.

Proper maintenance of filters not only prevents cycle interruptions but also ensures that your dishes come out sparkling clean after every wash. By keeping this component clean, you can avoid potential issues such as water not draining properly or poor washing results.

Reset Procedures

If cleaning the filter doesn’t resolve the issue with your whirlpool dishwasher, performing a reset might help address cycle interruptions. Dishwasher reset methods vary depending on the model, but they generally involve a combination of button presses or sequences that clear error codes and restore normal function.

To initiate a reset on your dishwasher, start by unplugging it from power for a few minutes before plugging it back in. Alternatively, consult your appliance manual for specific steps to reset based on its make and model.

Troubleshooting through resets can often resolve minor technical glitches within dishwashers without requiring professional intervention. This simple step can potentially save you time and money while getting your appliance back up and running smoothly.

Resetting the Dishwasher

Control Panel Steps

When your Whirlpool dishwasher starts then stops, you can try resetting it by navigating the control panel. First, ensure that the dishwasher is not running and there are no active cycles. Then, press and hold the “Heated Dry” button for 3 seconds to reset the control board. This simple step might resolve minor issues causing the start-stop problem.

Troubleshooting control panel issues involves checking for any error codes or indicators on the display. If you notice any error messages or lights flashing in a specific pattern, consult your dishwasher’s manual to identify what they mean. Understanding these indicators can help pinpoint potential malfunctions within the control panel.

Proper use of the control panel is essential for maintaining your dishwasher’s functionality. Avoid slamming or hitting buttons forcefully as this may cause internal damage to sensitive components. Always follow proper loading guidelines and use recommended detergents to prevent unnecessary strain on the appliance.

Power Cycling Method

Power cycling refers to completely shutting off power to an electronic device before turning it back on again after a short period of time. When facing persistent issues with your Whirlpool dishwasher, power cycling might help resolve certain glitches that lead to starting and stopping problems.

To power cycle your dishwasher, begin by locating its power cord or switching off its circuit breaker in your home’s electrical panel. After ensuring that all operations have ceased, unplug the appliance from its power source or turn off its circuit breaker for approximately 5 minutes before restoring power.

The benefits of power cycling include giving electronic components a chance to reset themselves and clear any temporary faults that could be causing interruptions in normal operation. By doing so, you essentially provide a fresh start for your dishwasher‘s internal systems which may rectify performance issues without requiring professional intervention.

Safety precautions when performing a power cycle involve handling electrical connections carefully and avoiding contact with water while manipulating cords or switches associated with powering down/up appliances like dishwashers.

Understanding Dishwasher Lifespan

Essential dishwasher maintenance tips

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your whirlpool dishwasher running smoothly. Clean the filter regularly to prevent clogs and ensure proper water drainage. Wipe down the door gasket to remove any debris that may interfere with the seal.

To maintain optimal performance, run an empty cycle with a dishwasher cleaner once a month. This will help eliminate any buildup of grease, limescale, or soap scum in the interior components.

Identifying Faulty Dishwasher Components

Motor Issues

When your whirlpool dishwasher starts then stops, one of the potential culprits could be motor issues. Troubleshooting these problems involves checking for any obstructions in the motor that may be causing it to stop unexpectedly. Ensure that the motor is properly maintained by cleaning it regularly and lubricating moving parts as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

To maintain dishwasher motors, make sure to clean them periodically with a soft brush or cloth to remove any debris or buildup that could impede their function. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for lubricating specific components within the motor assembly.

If you encounter a malfunctioning motor, consider repairing it by consulting the appliance manual or seeking professional help. Sometimes, simple repairs such as replacing worn-out parts can resolve issues with dishwasher motors.

Electronic Controls

Managing electronic controls on your whirlpool dishwasher is crucial to ensure its smooth operation. When troubleshooting electronic control malfunctions, start by checking for loose connections or damaged wiring that might be disrupting the normal functioning of these components.

Maintaining electronic components involves keeping them clean and free from moisture or corrosion. Regularly inspect and clean electrical contacts and circuit boards according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

In case of electronic control malfunctions, refer to your appliance manual for guidance on identifying error codes and performing basic diagnostic tests. If necessary, seek assistance from a qualified technician who can diagnose and repair complex electronic control issues effectively.

Addressing Blockages and Dispenser Issues

Unclogging Sprayers

When your whirlpool dishwasher starts then stops, it could be due to clogged sprayers. To unclog the sprayers, remove the racks and inspect each spray arm for food particles or mineral deposits. Use a toothpick or small wire to dislodge any debris from the spray holes. Running an empty cycle with a dishwasher cleaner can help clear out any remaining blockages.

To prevent future clogs, make sure to scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. Also, periodically check and clean the filter at the bottom of the appliance to ensure that it doesn’t get congested with food particles.

Dispenser Maintenance

Another common issue that can cause a whirlpool dishwasher to start and then stop is problems with detergent dispensers. Regular maintenance of these components is essential for ensuring smooth operation of your dishwasher. Clean around the edges of the dispenser door regularly to prevent detergent buildup which can lead to malfunction.

Preserve dispenser functionality by using only fresh detergent tablets or powder as older products might clump together and cause blockages in the dispenser mechanism. Furthermore, wiping down both inside and outside surfaces of the dispenser after every use will help keep it free from residue buildup.

Closing Thoughts

You’ve now got a solid grasp of why your Whirlpool dishwasher might start and then suddenly stop. From filling issues to component malfunctions, we’ve covered the common culprits and quick fixes. Remember, regular maintenance is key to extending your dishwasher’s lifespan and preventing mid-cycle interruptions. If you’re still facing problems after trying these troubleshooting steps, it’s best to consult a professional technician to address any faulty components or blockages.

So, roll up your sleeves, give these tips a shot, and get that dishwasher back in top-notch working order!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my whirlpool dishwasher start and then stop during a cycle?

This issue could be due to various reasons such as a faulty door latch, malfunctioning water inlet valve, or clogged filters. It’s important to check these components for any issues and ensure they are functioning properly.

How can I troubleshoot filling issues with my whirlpool dishwasher?

If your dishwasher is having trouble filling, make sure the water supply is turned on and the inlet valve screens are free of debris. Inspect the float switch for any obstructions that may be preventing it from signaling the appliance to fill.

What are some quick fixes for interruptions in the dishwasher cycle?

One quick fix could be resetting the appliance by turning off its power source for a few minutes before restarting it. Another option is to check for any blockages in the drain hose or air gap that might be causing disruptions in the cycle.

How do I address blockages and dispenser issues with my whirlpool dishwasher?

To address blockages, carefully inspect and clean out any debris from the spray arms, filter assembly, and drain pump. For dispenser issues, ensure that you’re using detergent specifically designed for dishwashers and not overfilling or underfilling it.

What should I do if I suspect faulty components in my whirlpool dishwasher?

If you suspect faulty components such as a malfunctioning motor or sensor, it’s best to consult a professional technician who can accurately diagnose and repair these specific parts of your dishwasher. Attempting DIY repairs on complex components could lead to further damage.