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REPAIR > DISHWASHER > WON'T DISPENSE DETERGENT

How to Fix A Dishwasher That Won't Dispense Detergent

Having a dishwasher that won't dispense detergent can be frustrating and repairing it through a serviceman can be expensive. Even for someone who may not consider themselves handy, repairing a dishwasher is not a difficult process. Below we’ve provided you with a list of the most common parts that fix a dishwasher that won't dispense detergent or jet-dry. Use this information to help troubleshoot which part is broken, and then enter your model number in the search box to find the right part for you, along with tons of helpful information like our step by step installation videos and instructions.

Detergent & Rinse Aid Dispensers

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    - Customers rate this repair as Easy
    - less 15 - 30 minutes
    We have 135 installation instructions
    We have 2 step-by-step videos

    The detergent dispenser is designed to release detergent into the dishwasher tub during the wash cycles and will typically have two compartments, an unsealed compartment for prewash and a sealed compartment for the main wash cycle. Verify that the dispenser is not simply clogged with caked on detergent and give it a good cleaning if necessary. Also check to make sure that the cover for the dispenser will open easily and is not damaged or broken. Check the release mechanism for worn or defective parts and replace if necessary. The rinse aid dispenser is designed to release rinse aid into the tub during the rinse cycle. Verify that the dispenser is full and is not clogged with detergent and verify that the cap is adjusted properly. The dispensers may be operated by either a mechanical devise or by a bi-metal release or wax motor devise.

    Rinse Aid Cap

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      - Customers rate this repair as Easy
      - less than 15 minutes
      We have 29 installation instructions
      We have 1 step-by-step video

      The rinse aid cap could be the reason why your dishwasher is not releasing rinse aid. The rinse aid dispensing cap is located on the inner door panel of your dishwasher. The rinse aid cap could be loose and may just need to be refitted, but could also be warped or damaged from the heat of the water in the dishwasher. Remove the cap from the door and inspect it for signs of melting or warping and replace if need be.

      Door Spring & Hinge Pin

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        - Customers rate this repair as Easy
        - 15 - 30 minutes
        We have 8 installation instructions
        We have 1 step-by-step video

        If your dishwasher is not dispensing detergent, the spring and hinge pin on the dispenser door could be the problem. The dispenser door is spring loaded, and is held in the closed position by a catch. Check that the spring and pin are not bent or broken and replace if required. If the catch is not releasing the door, then you should inspect the timer, the bi-metal release or the wax motor.

        Wax Motor

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        - Customers rate this repair as Easy
        - 1 - 2 hours
        We have 381 installation instructions
        We have 1 step-by-step video

        The wax motor is used in newer model dishwashers to release the detergent dispenser door catch. If the wax motor is not working properly, then the dispenser door will not open to release the detergent. The wax motor acts like a solenoid when activated by the dishwasher’s timer or control, and the piston operates the mechanism that will release the catch for the dispenser door. Verify that the wax motor is getting power at the proper time and if so then you will need to replace it. You can also check the wax motor for continuity with a multi-meter.

        Bi-Metal Release

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        - Customers rate this repair as Easy
        - 15 - 30 minutes
        We have 140 installation instructions
        We have 1 step-by-step video

        Some older model dishwashers use a bi-metal release to operate the detergent dispenser door catch. The bi-metal release uses electric current to create a mechanical action to release the door catch. Verify that the bi-metal release is getting power at the proper time and check for continuity with a multi-meter.

        Timer

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        - Customers rate this repair as Easy
        - 30 - 60 minutes
        We have 10 installation instructions

        Some models of dishwashers will use the timer to mechanically operate the detergent dispenser. At the proper time in the cycle, the timer will activate a lever that releases the detergent door catch. Check that the linkage between the timer and the door catch is working properly, and if not replace it. Verify that the cam on the timer is working properly and replace the timer if defective.

        More Repair Parts

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          We’ve identified the most common parts that can cause the dishwasher to not dispense detergent, but there are other parts that could be at fault. If you are unable to fix your dishwasher with the information above, enter your model number into the search box to additional repair help. Searching with your model number will give you access to all parts and schematics, symptoms for your specific dishwasher as well as all installation instructions and videos.