Washing Machine Won’t Start

This article is for when an appliance is completely lifeless and won’t start. With no sign of anything working at all. If your washing machine won’t start on a wash cycle – but it will work OK on spin then it may be related to not taking any water in. Go here instead won’t fill with water.

Check the basics first

Wall socket Always start with the simplest possible explanation. Is the wall socket turned on? Has the wall socket gone faulty?


If some lights come on it implies it is plugged into a working socket.But if there are no lights or display at all, then check that the socket is supplying power by plugging something else in such as another appliance. Check that the wall socket hasn’t been turned off. I’ve seen wall sockets switched off by the machine itself, when it moved around on spin and pushed one of the washing machines hoses into the on off switch.

tripping fuse box If you find that the wall socket is dead there could be an electrical fault on the socket. But before you investigate or call an electrician you might also want to doublecheck that the fuse hasn’t tripped in the fuse box that supplies the socket used by the washing machine.

Is the wall socket that the appliance is plugged into switched on and off by another switch somewhere else? Many kitchens have a separate on off switch for the appliance sockets. Usually at around worktop height or just above. These switches are commonly labelled. One for the washing machine, one for the dishwasher, one for the oven etc. If this is the case, ensure that the socket hasn’t been switched off there.


13 Amp fuse The next thing to check is the fuse in the plug. Clearly this will not be necessary if any lights on the washer are lit up. Test with a continuity test meter. If you don’t have one, put the fuse into something else and check the appliance still works. Or try another fuse that you know to be OK in the washer. Make sure you use a 13 amp fuse. And never by-pass a fuse! – If the washer has tripped the electrics or blown a fuse

If wall socket & fuse are OK but washing machine won’t start

The most common cause for a washing machine that wont start is the door lock, particularly if the main light on the washing machine has come on, but nothing works.

However, the fault could also be in wiring to the door lock, or the door catch not activating it properly, or a faulty on off switch, or even the main control module. With some washing machines (eg Indesit and Hotpoint) even an open circuit heater or motor can cause the entire washing machine to stop working except the led lights.


Repairman_sml Therefore you need to know what you are doing to trace this type of fault and need a continuity test meter. So if it isn’t the wall socket or the plug, and you can’t see any loose wires you may be be better getting an appliance engineer to trace it.

How the door lock works

Door interlock The key to tracing faults is a full understanding of how things should work. So if you suspect the door lock see my article which covers how does a washing machine door lock work?

Read on for advice about the door lock.


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More possible causes

If it isn’t the door lock it could be so many other things including as mentioned earlier bizarre things like a faulty heater or motor on some machines. It could even be the main pcb. It would be foolish to just guess at a part and replace it.

The correct way to work is to diagnose, and show that a part is faulty before replacing it. Please consider using my links for spares and booking repairs, which helps keep this resource running.


If washing machine fills with water but won’t start washing

If the washer won’t start but it does actually at least take water in and it seems to be going straight down the drain try here Washing machine fills and drains at same time

Electrical-safety Do not work on a live washing machine. Engineers use a continuity test meter to trace faults with the washing machine unplugged and never test with a live washing machine, which is crude and dangerous.

8 things you should never do when repairing a washing machine


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16 thoughts on “Washing Machine Won’t Start”

  1. Hi. I have a 3.5 year old Zanussi washer/drier. The on/off switch flashes and machine won’t start and doesn’t take water in. The led indicating the machine is ‘dry’ is also lit. The machine additionally makes a humming sound.
    I have checked the water supply and changed the interlock, but still doesn’t work not even on the spin programme.
    Before the machine broke, the door would at time refuse to open after the machine cycle, which is why I thought it could be the interlock. The lock now locks when I turn the machine onto a programme and unlocks when machine is turned to the ‘off’ position. I have also cleaned the filter.
    Heeeelp… I have a young baby and can’t afford to get an engineer out, especially as already spent to purchase the interlock.

  2. Helle. I know you’ve checked the water but a humming sound, with no water going into the machine is usually caused when the water valve is energised but there’s no water in the fill hose or the hose is kinked. If the machine is also making the humming sound on spin and nothing happens on that cycle either then you can discount the water issue, but if it does work on spin but just hums on a wash cycle it’s usually water related so double check all the things in this article won’t fill

    Other than that, as you’ve replaced the door lock it doesn’t leave anything simple as a suspect.

  3. hi, i know this is an old article but someone may still be out there!

    my indeset washing machine stopped working, it did not start its program, the door locked for a while but its opened now. i opened the filter on the front and it flooded out for ages, not just a little bit. but all was clear. all the light were also going crazy on the panel but now i have nothing, i can here a faint electrical hum so there is still power getting to it. any ideas?

    ..and now the lights are flashing again, after about 15 mins

  4. Hi, so in the last 6 months we have had 3 new machines installed.. all resulting in the same issue stopping them from working. Machine 1 (Beko) worked perfectly fine for 4 months. I went to put on a wash and the water started to flow in to the detergent drawer as normal but the machine didn’t trigger to start the wash cycle. We had multiple Beko engineers out to look at it but couldn’t fix it so they had it replaced. Installed washing machine 2 (Beko).. tried to put on the first ever wash and the exact same issue – water flowing to detergent drawer, not starting cycle and continues to fill up drum. We had a person out to test our water pressure and that is fine with no issues. Today, we had machine 3 installed (Hoover) and we have the same issue.. Can you shed any insight into what this issue may be?

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