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How To Unlock Controls On GE Dishwasher: A Comprehensive Guide


How To Unlock Controls On GE Dishwasher

Have you ever encountered a situation where the controls on your GE dishwasher suddenly become unresponsive? It can be frustrating when you’re ready to start a wash cycle, but the control panel seems to be locked. Fortunately, unlocking the controls on a GE dishwasher is a relatively simple process. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to unlock the controls and troubleshoot common issues that may arise. So, let’s dive in and discover how to regain control over your GE dishwasher! Modern dishwashers are equipped with various advanced features, and one such feature is the control lock. The control lock is designed to prevent accidental changes to the settings during a wash cycle. While this feature is useful, there are instances when you may need to unlock the controls intentionally. Whether you’ve accidentally activated the control lock or need to make changes to the settings, we’ve got you covered.

How To Unlock Controls On A GE Dishwasher

Method 1: Press and Hold the Control Lock Button

The first method to unlock the controls on your GE dishwasher is by pressing and holding the control lock button. Look for a button or a combination of buttons on the control panel that is labeled with a lock symbol or “Control Lock.” Press and hold this button for approximately three to five seconds until the control lock indicator light turns off. Once the light goes off, the controls should be unlocked, and you can make changes to the settings.

Method 2: Power Cycle the Dishwasher

If the first method doesn’t work, you can try power cycling the dishwasher to unlock the controls. To do this, locate the dishwasher’s circuit breaker or unplug it from the power outlet. Leave it disconnected for a few minutes to ensure all residual power is drained from the system. Then, reconnect the dishwasher to the power source and check if the controls are now unlocked.

Method 3: Reset the Control Panel

In some cases, resetting the control panel can resolve the control lock issue. To reset the control panel on your GE dishwasher, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Locate the main power switch or circuit breaker for the dishwasher and turn it off.
  • Wait for approximately five minutes to allow the dishwasher to fully power down.
  • Turn the power back on and check if the controls are now unlocked.

Method 4: Consult the User Manual

If none of the above methods work, it’s always a good idea to consult the user manual that came with your GE dishwasher. The manual provides specific instructions for your dishwasher model, including how to unlock the controls. Look for the troubleshooting section or index to find the relevant information. If you don’t have a physical copy of the manual, you can often find it on the manufacturer’s website.

Reasons For Controls Getting Locked

Accidental Activation: One of the primary reasons for control lock activation is accidentally pressing the control lock button on the dishwasher’s control panel. It can happen when cleaning the panel or when operating the dishwasher without being aware of the control lock feature.

Child Safety: The control lock feature is designed to ensure the safety of young children. Since dishwashers are often located at a convenient height, children may be tempted to press buttons or make changes to the settings during a wash cycle. Enabling the control lock prevents any unwanted interference.

Power Surges or Electrical Issues: Power surges or electrical problems can sometimes trigger the control lock feature on a GE dishwasher. Fluctuations in the power supply can cause the dishwasher’s control system to activate the lock mechanism as a safety precaution.

Malfunctioning Control Panel: In some cases, a malfunctioning control panel can lead to the controls becoming locked. This could be due to a technical glitch or a faulty control lock button. A malfunctioning panel may not register when the control lock is disengaged, resulting in a locked state.

User Error: Occasionally, users may unknowingly activate the control lock feature while trying to adjust the settings or perform other operations on the dishwasher. This can happen if they are not familiar with the control panel layout or if they accidentally press the control lock button without realizing its function.

System Resets: Certain system resets or power interruptions, such as power outages or disconnection of the dishwasher from the power source, may trigger the control lock to engage. When power is restored or the dishwasher is reconnected, the controls may remain locked until manually unlocked.

Understanding these reasons for control lock activation can help users troubleshoot and unlock the controls on their GE dishwasher effectively.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Control Lock

While unlocking the controls usually resolves the problem, there are a few common issues that you may encounter during the process. Let’s address these issues and provide troubleshooting steps:

  1. Control Lock Button Not Responding: If you find that the control lock button on your GE dishwasher is not responding when you press and hold it, there might be an underlying issue. In such cases, it is advisable to check the power supply to ensure the dishwasher is receiving adequate power. Additionally, you can try power cycling the dishwasher as mentioned in Method 
  2. Control Lock Light Continuously Blinking: If the control lock light on your GE dishwasher continues to blink even after attempting to unlock the controls, it indicates a potential problem with the control panel. In this scenario, it is best to contact GE customer support or schedule a service visit with a qualified technician to diagnose and resolve the issue.
  3. Control Lock Engaging Automatically: If you notice that the control lock on your GE dishwasher engages automatically during a wash cycle, it may be due to a malfunctioning control panel or a faulty control lock button. Contacting GE customer support or professional repair service is recommended in this situation to address the underlying cause.

Tips For Preventing Control Lock Activation

To avoid future instances of control lock activation on your GE dishwasher, here are a few useful tips:

  • Be Mindful: Pay attention when operating the dishwasher and avoid accidentally pressing the control lock button. Take care when cleaning the control panel to prevent inadvertently activating the lock.
  • Educate Household Members: Inform everyone in your household about the control lock feature and its purpose. Make sure they are aware of how to unlock the controls if needed.
  • Childproofing: If you have young children, consider implementing additional childproofing measures, such as using child safety locks or placing a physical barrier to prevent them from accessing the dishwasher’s control panel.
  • Read the User Manual: Familiarize yourself with the user manual for your specific GE dishwasher model. It provides valuable information about the control lock feature and instructions on how to unlock the controls.
  • Double-Check Before Starting: Before starting a wash cycle, verify that the control lock is not engaged. Take a quick glance at the control panel to ensure the lock symbol or light is not active.
  • Gentle Cleaning: When cleaning the control panel, use a soft cloth and gentle cleaning agents to avoid accidentally activating the control lock. Avoid using excessive force or abrasive materials that could trigger the lock mechanism.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep your dishwasher in good working condition through regular maintenance. This includes checking for any loose buttons or control panel issues that could potentially lead to control lock activation.
  • Promptly Address Malfunctions: If you notice any malfunctioning buttons or erratic behavior with the control panel, contact GE customer support or a professional technician for assistance. Timely repairs can prevent unexpected control lock issues.


Unlocking the controls on your GE dishwasher is a simple process that can be done using various methods. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can regain control over your dishwasher and make the necessary adjustments to the settings. Remember to consult the user manual for specific instructions and reach out to GE customer support or a professional technician if you encounter persistent issues.


How do I know if the control lock is engaged on my GE dishwasher? 

The control lock is typically indicated by a light or symbol on the control panel. If you see a lock icon or a light that remains lit, it means the control lock is engaged.

Can I unlock the controls on my GE dishwasher during a wash cycle? 

Yes, you can unlock the controls on your GE dishwasher even if a wash cycle is in progress. Follow the methods mentioned in this guide to unlock the controls at any time.

Will unlocking the controls affect the current wash cycle? 

Unlocking the controls on your GE dishwasher should not interrupt or affect the current wash cycle. However, it is advisable to consult the user manual for your specific dishwasher model to confirm.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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