How to Fix A Dishwasher That Won’t Dispense Detergent

The thought of cleaning the dirty dishes manually can send shivers down the spine of most people. Having an appliance that can do that for you can considerably reduce your workload. If you have a dishwasher at home, you must take steps to maintain your appliance. Having a machine that does not dispense detergent can be a frustrating experience for most people. Ideally, people use the services of a dishwasher technician for all their dishwasher repair needs. However, a few people avoid using them because they can be expensive. If you plan to repair the machine without getting help from a dishwasher repairman, you must know the parts that can be responsible for this problem. In this article, we have provided you a detailed list of parts that can be responsible for preventing the dishwasher from dispensing liquid detergent. You can use this info to identify the part that is causing problem in your machine. Once you identify the part, you should change the part immediately. When replacing the part, make sure to get a genuine part from a reputed store.


Detergent Dispenser

During the wash cycle, the detergent dispenser releases detergent into the machine tub. The dispenser usually has two compartments – the first compartment is a sealed compartment for detergent release during the main wash cycle and the second compartment is for rinse aid release for pre-wash. If you suspect that the detergent dispenser is responsible for the problem, you must check if it is clogged. Dispenser that is clogged can be easily cleaned using normal water. You must also check if the cover of the dispenser is not broken or damaged.

At times, the rinse aid dispenser can also be responsible for the problem. Make sure the rinse aid dispenser is full and is not clogged. Also, the cap of the dispenser must be adjusted properly. The detergent and rinse aid dispenser is usually operated by a bi-metal release or a mechanical device. A problem with this device can also prevent the release of detergent or rinse aid.


Rinse Aid Cap

A problem with the rinse aid cap can prevent the machine from releasing rinse aid. The cap is usually located on the door panel of the washer. At times, the problem may be solved by refitting the cap. However, if the cap is damaged, you must replace it. Heat from the water in the machine may cause it to warp or melt. This will prevent the dispenser from releasing the rinse aid.


Hinge Pin and Spring

Another possible cause of the problem could be the hinge pin and spring on the dispenser door. The door of the dispenser is spring loaded and it is held in a closed position by the catch. If the spring or the pin is damaged or broken, they must be replaced. If the spring and the pin are in perfect condition, you must check the condition of the bi-metal release or the timer.

Wax Motor

Most new model dishwasher use wax motor to release the dispenser door catch. When there is a problem with the wax motor, the dispenser door won’t open and release the detergent. The wax motor of the machine is activated by the dishwasher’s controller or timer. If the wax motor does not get power from the controller or timer, it will not be able to open the door. You must check the electric wire connections to the motor and replace the wires that are burnt or damaged.

If all the connections are in order, you must check the condition of the motor using a multi-meter. Motors that don’t have continuity must be replaced.


Bi-Metal Release

Some older models of dishwashers use the bi-metal release to open and close the door of the dispenser. The release uses electric current to release the door catch of dispenser. Make sure the release is getting the power supply to release the door catch. Also, make sure you check the continuity of the release using a multi-meter.



Some machines use the timer to open and close the door of the dispenser. At a pre-assigned time, the timer will activate the lever that releases the detergent into the house appliance. Make sure the link between door catch and the timer is working properly. If it is not working properly, you will have to replace it. You must also check the cam on the timer and replace it, if defective.

If all these parts are working properly and you continue to face problems with your machine, you should get help of a dishwasher service technician. The dishwasher repairman should have several years of experience in repairing the household appliance. They will visit your place to identify the problem with the machine and replace the damaged part in the shortest possible time.


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