DIY Fix Your Maytag Dishwasher on the Cheap


Introduction: DIY Fix Your Maytag Dishwasher on the Cheap

I used to love the Maytag brand.  My old dishwasher lasted more than 20 years when I replace it with a new one a year and half ago.  You can't be wrong choosing a Maytag, I thought.  But I was deadly wrong.

Last week my 1.5 year old Maytag dishwasher suddenly quit working.  The "Start" button won't respond, so is gone my confidence with Maytag.  I searched the internet and found many unhappy customers complaining the same: the touch buttons failed shortly after the warranty expired.  There are basically two options, one is to get the repairman here to fix it.  The chances are that he will just replace the control panel, as well as the control board with about $150 each.  Labor is probably another $150, which would easily totals to $450, about the same amount as a new dishwasher.  The other option is to simply buy a new one, and trash the old-new one - what a waste!  The premature failed dishwasher would be in the landfill, and polluting the environment, or used as scrap metal, wasting energy. Either way you are a loser, while the salesman will be laughing all his way to the bank.

I searched the web for DIY solutions, and learned to get the diagnostic manual from the bottom panel, and then found the root cause for the failure, and finally fixed it with very little cost.  Now my dishwasher is working again. Here is how I did it step by step.  Hope you can benefit from the instructions here.

Step 1: Find Out What's Wrong With It.

It's easier said than done but with the diagnostic manual, it can be done.  I run two diagnostic tests which allowed me to conclude that the problem is not as serious as I initially thought.  First is to put the dishwasher in diagnostic mode. In my case it is to push the "normal->heated dry->normal->heated dry" in sequence rapidly.  The washer then resets itself and runs for a while although it never finishes.  It didn't solve the problem but it gave me a feel that it wasn't totally dead.  

Then another test is to separate the fault of the control panel from that of the control board.  This requires the control panel to be removed from the door following the instructions in the manual.  Make sure the power is turned off at the fuse box so you don't get an electric shock.  Then disconnect the cable from the control panel to the control board (a gray box about the size of 6x10 inches).  Then turn the power back on.  Once the door is closed, the dishwasher will start to drain with the motor running.  This would be an indication that the control board is functioning property.  I had doubts about this since the control board could still be bad even it passed this test, but that wasn't the case.  Well, I guess the control board is better built than the control panel.  In my case, the motor run which suggests the fault is at the control panel.  

The control panel is simply a piece of plastic with all the touch keys and a cable.  What can be wrong?  I carefully examined the control panel and didn't find any problem initially.  Then on the back of the cable, I found a small spot on some of the 14 wires on the Flat Plastic Cable (FPC).  It looked like part of the cable but actually it was rust!  After removing the rust, it reveals that the wire was broken at that spot for several wires, which explains why the "Start" button won't work.

I further tested the connectivity using a multimeter following the instructions in the diagnostic manual.  Sure enough the wires were open for several buttons, so the root cause of the problem was found.

Step 2: Fixing the FTC Cable Is Both Hard and Easy.

The FTC cable is part of the touch key panel so there is no way to just replace the cable.  What's worse is that the cable is paper-thin and you can see through it.  I initially tried to use solder iron and ended up with some holes.  So the old fashioned way of fixing broken wires doesn't work with the printed circuit on the FTC cable.  

After some research on the web, I found the wire glue which might work, but then had mixed review from users.  At the same time I found the "Rear window defrogger repair kit" by Permatex and I though that it would work.  I bought a kit from the local auto part store (advanceauto) and found a tiny bottle inside this big box.  It wasn't clear whether this would actually work on a flexible plastic cable.

I carefully scrapped off the rust at the broken wire on the FTC and exposed the copper layer which is paper-thin.  Then used a toothpick to apply the repair paste to make the wire connection.  Let it dry for a day and then measured the resistance.  It is about a ohm which is not too bad (not totally conductive).  After making all the connections for the broken wires, I followed the diagnostic manual to test the connectivity for the 14 pins using a digital multimeter in diode mode.  For example, in my case, the "Start" button uses pin 12 for positive and pin 4 for negative.  It shows about 670 ohms when the start button is pressed for connectivity because it has an internal diode.  Using this procedure, I tested all buttons.  

It's a good idea to also test for short circuit.  I actually had one in my first try because I had to use copper wire to make up for the burnt hole.  The thin copper wires actually caused a short between two pins.  As a result, I had to take it apart again to fix it.  It's better to test for short between adjacent pins before it is put back together.

Now the question is how to insulate it.  I thought about the liquid tape but that appears to be toxic which is not acceptable for dishwasher applications.  Then I found the Super 33 tape which appears to be good for this application.  I got a roll from Homedepot for about $5 and taped all the connections before putting the control panel back to the dishwasher door.

Finally, the magic moment came.  I push the start button and the dishwasher is back to life. 

Step 3:

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Step 5:

8 People Made This Project!


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117 Discussions

Hello Everyone. This is a great site, and I thank all who have added their experiences about their repair experiences of the corroded ribbon cable on our Maytag dishwashers. My dishwasher suffered from this problem, however when I went to repair the control panel one of the plastic screw holes on the back of the panel snapped away from the main body of the panel. This left me with a very wonky panel. So I bought a brand new panel. My machine is up and running just fine. I do have a question for everyone here. How do we prevent this corrosion in the first place? What so you?

I have had our Maytag model # MDB7749AWW! since March 2011. I just opened up the control panel and found nothing wrong with my wires or ribbon conncection. All lights in the different cycles used to work but 'light' no longer does but after pressing 'heated dry' and then 'start', a light came on and it was starting. Then it began not to start with the light going off and not working at all. What might be wrong? I unplugged & reconnected the wires/connections that I could and turned power back on, hoping for a quick fix, but no luck. Suggestions?

Another grateful thank you by an owner of a 7 year old mdb4709awb1 where the buttons stopped working.

Without these instructions I would not have attempted the repair or even found the corrosion on the backside of the cable.

To my regret I had not read any of the comments because I had not discovered them.

But I had considered using conductive pen or paint but have an auto store much closer. The.defogger repair fluid worked fine (sofar).

I used the tips of the multimeter sondes to carefully remove the darkened metal and exposed a silvery substrate which seemed conductive only over very short distances. So I followed the original instructions and carefully painted in 'wires’. For me the brush from the repair kit worked better than a toothpick. It would have been a good idea to shape the tip of the brush with scissors.

For sealing I used white 100% bathroom silicone I had lying around. Let's see how it holds up.


1 year ago

Where did you find the pin-outs for the control panel? I can't seem to find a diagnostic manual anywhere. It looks like I've got the same model pictured above.



1 year ago

What's a magic eraser? where to get one?

1 reply

Mr Clean Magic Eraser, you can get it at grocery stores, walmart, target, just about anywhere

Thank you so much Evan L13 and thank your wife for me too. I am a 69 year old Young lady and did what you said step by step and it now works again. For you people who think it is too difficult it isn't it just takes time. By the way the magic eraser worked for me for some.... but I needed to use rubbing alcohol and qtips also. Thanks again you're great!

1 reply

Fantastic! Glad to help. Rubbing alcohol is a great idea actually as it will help dry any remaining dampness from the cable before sealing it back up.

All I did was ground out all the pins on the ribbon cable of the touch panel by shorting the pins to the chassis momentarily. These probably all have floating point issues since there isn't any path to ground on any of the nodes while in their open state.

I'm guessing that the discoloration/corrosion of the wires in the ribbon are from electrolysis as the wires are remaining charged in their open state.

Remember to disconnect the power first!

Great advice it worked for me! Thanks to the author and all the people who posted their comments and pictures, it was very instructive. I had a Maytag MDB 7749 that was 3 years old. The buttons just stopped working reliably a month ago. I did notice that no buttons would work in the end but I could see two of the LED lights were lit very dimly, apparently some small amount of electricity may have been leaking over to those. Thanks again


1 year ago

This totally worked for me! My Maytag 8949 dishwasher started acting funny a few months ago. Noticed that it wasn't turning off after hours of running on auto-wash or normal...after some experimenting, we realized it would turn off at a normal time when running on Light mode. I figured there was something wrong with the control module, but this was a good temporary measure. Then this morning the unit wouldn't turn on. The Start and Cancel buttons didn't work. Found your post and figured I'd give it a try before purchasing the $150 replacement panel. Took some time, but the Magic Eraser was able to scrub down into the ribbon and eliminate the rust.

Only had to spend $7 for the liquid electric tape...didn't have green in stock, so I went with black ;)

Now trying a load of dishes in auto-wash - hoping to get everything back to normal.

Thank you!

ok, thanks for great tips. I repaired my three year old may tag 577-1 dishwasher. Drain light was blinking non stop. I went ahead and bought the who new key pad for around $150 as did not have a lot of time.

Easy to take all screws out and little hard getting door cover straight. It solved it!

Bought from Tampa appliance I think and saved my shipping cost as I was in the area.

I may keep my older one as had rust on back side of wire strip. May re open and put liquid tape or anti rust protection just in case.

Thanks again.


Thanks so much. My 2 year old Maytag started doing crazy things like starting up by itself for no reason. Start button did not work, changed cycles to different washes randomly and finally would not start even after a reset. I did the diagnostic mode and the dishwasher ran. Called appliance service and described problem and said it was probably the control board. $300 fix was unacceptable. I found your fix and figured I would give it a try. What I found was corrosion on the flex cable of the control panel just as you described. Apparently I caught it early enough and there were no broken connections at the rust point. I took an eraser an cleaned up the flat ribbon of rust and the applied a coating of petroleum jelly to the cable on both sides. Fired it up and so far no problems for over a month now. I did complain to Maytag and they did admit this was happening and offered to send a repairman as a one time courtesy for an out of warranty unit. You would think they would have solved this obvious defect over the years. Guess they just hope nobody would complain. Thanks so much for guiding me where to look for the problem.

1 reply

Hi James,

just curious, who did you call at maytag when they offered to send out a repairman as a courtesy for out of warranty unit?

Thank you!

I followed the steps and fixed my dishwasher this morning. It quit on my after 3 months of use and I was upset. As a 64 yr old woman on a budget and living alone, this was a great solution.

Thank you so much!


My problem was similar. When I pushed any of the cycles (regular, rinse only, etc), it would always select the jet clean cycle as if that was the button I pushed. I was fine with that because it at least worked. Then one night I noticed that the start button was flashing while it was running. For some reason I thought this was normal. It did this for several weeks. Then 2 nights ago, it ran the entire night. I think when it finished a cycle it would just start it over again. It was acting like someone was pushing the start button repeatedly. I tried unplugging it for a while and then plugged it back in. A few minutes later, it started running on its own. I was really close to calling a repair guy when I stumbled on to this page. I had the corrosion on the ribbon cable too. I tried the magic eraser. It was able to get some of it off, but not all. Then I tried denatured alcohol and it didn't do anything. Then I tried some steel wool and that did the trick. I didn't want to scrape so hard that I took out the wiring so I quit when I still had some corrosion left. I put it together enough to push the buttons and see that they all worked except the rinse only cycle. I have never used that cycle so I'm calling it good. After all, I bought a dishwasher not a dish rinser. I used EvanL13's method of covering it with 4 layers of liquid electrical tape and 2 layers of 100% silicone caulk. I put it all back together and it seems to be working. This is the last Maytag appliance I'm buying. Talk about a shoddy design.

1 reply

2 years ago

I have the same model as EvanL13 just cleaned using a magic eraser, then used liquid electric tape. Worked like a charm, thank you for the quick easy fix.

1 reply

:P So glad my wife talked me in to posting everything to help others with this.

EvanL13 You are my Hero!!! I had the exact same problem with my Maytag.....I too was quoted a ridiculous amount of money to fix.....and told my husband....we will fix this :) I went straight to Lowes and found everything you listed, it cost me $14. I did exactly as you instructed (while my husband ran on the treadmill :)....we had the exact same problem with the corrosion right under the sticker. The magic eraser did the trick, I may have damaged one tiny copper wire by rubbing to vigorously....I coated the "green tape strip" with both the liquid electric tape and the rain ready silicone maybe with two coats each. I left a fan running on it for about 3 hrs while we went to dinner. When we returned and put the panel back on and started it up....VOILA!! it works and has been working for days now!!! We even have a "clean light" that we've not seen in ages!!! Thank you so much for posting this fix!!! You've saved us money and it was NOT that difficult. Now if I can just get my three teenage boys to put their dishes IN the dishwasher! Do you have a fix for that? lol! Thanks again!