During a wash cycle, the dishwasher’s dispenser releases detergent at the right time for optimum cleaning. But a variety of issues can prevent it from functioning properly, resulting in your dishwasher not cleaning dishes. How do you fix a dishwasher soap dispenser not opening? Removing blockages caused by debris and residue may be the solution. Troubleshoot a dishwasher soap dispenser not opening with these likely causes.
5 Common Causes for a Dishwasher
Soap Dispenser Not Opening
As crucial as it is to dishwasher performance, the dispenser functions fairly simply, opening automatically via several common components. Here’s how to know whether an obstruction or part malfunction is responsible for your dishwasher soap dispenser not opening.
1. Dispenser is Obstructed
If your dishwasher soap dispenser opens, but soap stays inside, it’s likely blocked by an obstruction. When loading the dishwasher, make sure bottom rack items don’t protrude from the rack, preventing detergent from dispensing or the door from opening.
Often, obstructions are due to a buildup of grease, food particles or detergent residue around the dispenser. Inspect the dispenser and remove any buildup with a damp cloth or paper towel.
2. Dispenser Door is Damaged
A damaged door can also be a visible indicator of a dishwasher soap dispenser not opening. If a visual inspection shows cracks, melting, warping or discoloration, it may be preventing the door from opening. In this instance, the dispenser assembly likely requires replacement, as individual doors aren’t typically sold separately.
3. Faulty Door Spring or Hinge Pin
Is your dishwasher soap dispenser stuck closed? Its spring and hinge pin may be faulty. Most dispenser doors are spring-loaded to open quickly via this small spring and hinge. If either suffer damage or wear out over time, the door won’t open to dispense detergent.
Depending on your model dishwasher, you may need to remove the top of the dispenser assembly to inspect the door spring and hinge. If either have broken or appear bent or corroded, the spring and/or hinge must be replaced.
4. Failed Wax Motor
Newer dishwashers use a small electrical wax motor to release the door catch when it’s time for detergent to be dispensed. When the motor’s mechanisms receive an electrical charge, a piston releases the catch that holds the door closed. When a dishwasher soap dispenser is broken due to a failed wax motor, it’s usually because the motor failed electronically and requires replacement.
To confirm electrical failure, the wax motor must show a lack of continuity with multimeter testing. To access the motor for testing, the dishwasher’s internal or external door panel often has to be removed. We suggest that a professional repair service perform this more complex assessment and replacement.
5. Dishwasher Timer is Defective
Other dishwashers use a timer to release a lever that opens the dispenser door catch at the right time in the wash cycle. If the timer fails electronically, the catch won’t release the door, resulting in the dishwasher soap dispenser not opening and releasing detergent.
Most timers are located in the dishwasher’s interior control panel and can only be accessed by removing the exterior cover. A professional service can best access the timer and perform multimeter testing to confirm that it failed electronically. In this instance, the timer requires replacement.