What to do when your dishwasher won’t dispense detergent

In case your dishwashing machine doesn’t dispense detergent, what are you supposed to do? We prepared some handy tips for you. Following our guidelines, you will be able to fix technical defects on your own.
Before beginning repair, make sure you have switched power off.

How to fix my dishwasher when it won’t dispense detergent?

Noisy When Filling

Dishwasher soap dispenser not opening

Our own experience imposes two main reasons of this problem.
The dispenser may be blocked. What you have to do is to check the soap dispenser. There may be detergent inside of the dispenser or on bottom of the tube after the previous cycle. Carefully remove any detergent buildup.
The second reason – dispenser door can be blocked by tall kitchen utensils and appliances. Just change places for your dishes.

Dishwasher not releasing soap

A common situation – dishwashing machine has run a complete cycle, but dishes are still dirty. What steps can you take to solve this issue and make your dishwasher work properly again? We suggest you to check each of the most common dishwasher soap dispenser problems described below:

Detergent & Rinse Aid Dispensers

The function of the detergent dispenser is to release soap into a dishwashing machine tube within a washing process. There are two containers: an unpressurized container is designed for pre-wash and a pressurized one – for a complete cycle of washing. Make sure they didn’t become cluttered, and dispenser’s cap is easy to open. . Any damages and defects are to be removed. The same treatment has to be conducted with a release mechanism.
The rinse aid dispenser serves for releasing rinse aid into a dishwasher tube while the rinse cycle takes place. Remember that dispenser has to be topped-up. Also check whether the dispenser’s cover has any defects.

Detergent Dispenser

Rinse Aid Cap

Rinse aid cap can easily cause problems with releasing rinse aid. It is typically located on inner door panel. Verify the state of rinse aid cap. It can get friable or even kinked because of too hot water. Remove the rinse aid cap and carefully check it. Sometimes it needs some slight repairs. Otherwise, replace rinse aid cap.

Aid Cap

Door Spring & Hinge Pin

What can also stop your dishwasher from dispensing detergent are door spring and hinge pin of the dispenser door. The dispenser door has a spring mechanism that is triggered with a catch. Check both springs and hinges. If they are out of order, install new ones. Sometimes a catch can work improperly. In this case the problem may be hidden in wax motor, bi-metal release or timer. Then increase your focus on these details.

door latch

Wax Motor

Wax motors are usually being installed in modern dishwasher models. The task of a wax motor is to release a dispenser door catch. Therefore, if a wax motor is defective, the detergent won’t be released. A wax motor performs functions of a pilot valve. This so-called valve is driving the opening mechanism of dispenser door catcher. Please ensure that the wax motor is receiving electricity just in due time. Don’t forget to use a multi-meter to check the wax motor for continuity. If after inspection you have found disorders, discard the worn wax motor and replace it.

Wax Motor

Bi-Metal Release

This is one of essential parts of older dishwashing machines and can be a reason of the problem. Bi-metal release closely resembles the principles of work of a wax motor. It operates the dispenser door catch mechanically. While getting an electrical power in due time, Bi-Metal Release is creating a mechanical action to release the door catch. Check if the Bi-Metal Release gets electricity in that particularly necessary moment. And of course, verify this component part for continuity with a multi-meter.

Bi-Metal Release


If your dishwasher still doesn’t dispense detergent, inspect its timer. It is designed to operate the detergent dispenser in a mechanical way. How does it actually work? Timer brings a lever into action which in its turn releases the detergent door latch. Make sure that contact elements between door latch and timer are functioning smoothly. Also pay attention on the timer’s cam. If any defects are disclosed, replace damaged details.

Dishwasher Timer

These tips of first aid will help you fix problems by yourself in such dishwashers like Bosch, Maytag,  Whirlpool, Samsung etc. In case you fail to repair your appliance on your own, and your warranty is not valid any more, apply to our certified professionals. We provide a 24h high-quality repair service in Toronto and the GTA.

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