Dishwasher Pods Not Dissolving? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

dishwasher pods not dissolving

Dishwashers are modern conveniences that can help reduce the amount of time spent cleaning dishes in the kitchen every day. But, when you regularly find undissolved dishwashing pods left in your dishwasher, you know that your dishes are not properly cleaned. Not only does this add more time to your clean-up routine, but it can be frustrating and costly with added utility costs to run continuous dishwasher cycles.

Several issues with your machine can cause dishwasher pods that do not dissolve. Your dishwasher may have a faulty inlet valve or circulation pump preventing full water flow throughout the appliance.

Or, in some cases, the water temperature or water pressure is too low to allow the pod to dissolve. In other cases, blocked spray arms could prevent proper water flow to your dishwasher, preventing the pod from fully dissolving.

Luckily, a savvy homeowner can easily fix many of the issues that prevent a dishwasher pod from fully dissolving. Checking and replacing valves and spray arms is a simple process that can be completed in minutes. If your dishwasher requires more advanced work, such as replacing a heating element or a circulation pump, you may need to call a professional technician to help with this extensive and intricate repair.

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Why Are My Pods Not Dissolving?

Unfortunately, there could be several reasons why your dishwasher pods are not fully dissolving, even when you run a full dishwashing cycle. Some of the most common reasons your dishwasher pods are not dissolving are easily fixed at home with some simple DIY maintenance or repair.

Faulty Inlet Valve

The inlet valve is an integral part of your dishwasher that opens during a cycle to allow water into your appliance. When this valve fails, not enough water flows into the dishwasher, which means the pods cannot dissolve fully.

To check if the valve is faulty, simply run the dishwasher for a few minutes. Press the stop button, open the door, and check if any water has entered the dishwasher. It is easy to replace your inlet valve yourself, just be sure to purchase the right make and model for your particular style of dishwasher.

Blocked Door

Most dishwashers have a specialized door that houses the dishwasher pod, which works on a spring, so it can be released at the right time during the cycle. If the door is blocked during a normal wash cycle, or if the door is not functioning properly, the pod cannot be fully released into the appliance.

If your dishwasher is too full, or if one particular dish or bowl is blocking the door, the pod may not be released. These situations are easy to fix. However, the door can get stuck because the tiny spring and mechanism used to open the door can become faulty or damaged. When this happens, a new door replacement is required. Over time, this becomes a common problem because the little spring used to open the detergent door can become worn out.

Temperature Too Low

Dishwasher pods need water between 120 and 160 degrees F to dissolve fully. If the water flowing into your dishwasher does not reach high enough temperatures, the pod will not dissolve and will not clean your dishes adequately. Your pod may only become partially dissolved, which could further lead to complications like clogged drain pipes.

Check the internal thermostat on your dishwasher when it is full to ensure the temperature is high enough. If the water temperature is too low, it could indicate that the heating element in your appliance needs to be replaced. The heating element works to make the water inside your dishwasher at the appropriate temperature. Unfortunately, this is an advanced repair that usually requires a professional technician.

Spray Arm

The spray arms are essential parts of your dishwasher that spin to move water throughout the machine during a cycle. Sometimes, food and debris can become stuck in the small holes of the spray arm, blocking the water spray. The arms can also become cracked as they age, which can prevent them from working completely.

To check if the spray arms are working properly, simply take the arms out of the appliance and visually inspect them for damage. If you see any food particles that could be blocking the tiny spray holes, use a small piece of wire or a toothpick to dislodge the food.

Circulation Pump

Lastly, a pod that is not dissolving fully may be due to a faulty circulation pump. The pump in your dishwasher helps to move water throughout the machine during a cycle. If the pump is faulty or not working, water does not reach all areas of the dishwasher and will not dissolve the pod.

To check to see if your circulation pump is working, start a cycle in your dishwasher. You need to ensure that water is being pumped into the appliance and water is spraying through the spray arms. A faulty circulation pump will need replacing but is best left for a professional technician.

How Can I Clean My Spray Arms?

If you have blocked spray arms that are not easily cleaned with a toothpick or a piece of wire, it may be necessary to soak your spray arms in water and cleaner to dislodge any blocked food particles. To clean your spray arms, you should:

Step 1: Remove Arms

With the dishwasher powered off, remove the spray arms from the appliance. At this point, visually inspect the arms to ensure they are not cracked or damaged. Cracked spray arms must be replaced.

Step 2: Prepare Cleaner

White vinegar works best to remove food debris. Fill a baking sheet with vinegar to allow the spray arms to soak.

Step 3: Spray (optional)

For particularly stuck food particles, you may want to pre-treat the spray arms by spraying white vinegar on the arms. This added step can help the soap penetrate the tiny spray holes. Be sure to spray and pre-treat both sides of the spray arms.

Step 4: Soak

Allow your spray arms to soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the spray arms over in the vinegar solution to soak the backside as well. Remove from the baking sheets and replace the arms in the dishwasher. Run a full cycle and confirm that your spray arms are now functioning.

Can You Just Throw a Pod In the Dishwasher?

While the pod will certainly work and usually dissolve by just throwing it in the dishwasher, this usually isn’t the most effective way to clean your dishes. Most modern dishwashers will have a pre-rinse cycle that helps to soften dried food. After the pre-rinse has finished, the detergent will be released into the full wash cycle. If the pod is placed securely in the drawer or soap dispenser, you can ensure the pod is released at the appropriate time.

What Happens If My Pod is Stuck in the Dispenser?

Sometimes an undissolved pod is only part of the problem. Many homeowners are stuck with a pod that becomes trapped or lodged in the dispenser. When this happens, it means that not enough water was channeled toward the deterrent cup to release the pod.

Or, it could also mean that the water temperature was too low. To prevent this problem, be sure that nothing is blocking the path toward the dispenser cup. The silverware basket or a large bowl is usually to blame for a lodged detergent pod.

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Related Questions

Are dishwasher pods bad for your dishwasher?

People often report dishwasher pods damaging their dishwasher over time, which raises the question of how good a pod is for your dishwasher. People will report the pod becoming blocked or clogged before it has a chance to dissolve fully.

In reality, the bigger issue is that food grease and waste can start to build up over time in the traps and drains connected to your dishwasher. Over time, the food build-up coupled with soap scum can create clogs that can trap the undissolved dishwasher pods.

If you practice good dishwasher maintenance and regularly clean your dishwasher, using detergent pods is perfectly safe for your machine. Using a dishwasher pod is perfectly safe for the longevity of your dishwasher.

Can powder dishwasher detergent help in areas with hard water?

While the cleaning effectiveness is about the same between liquid detergent, dishwasher pods, and powder detergent for most areas, it seems that powdered dishwasher detergent can work better in areas with hard water. Using powder can help eliminate streaks or cloudiness on glasses.

It may also be possible to purchase a dishwasher, like Bosch, that comes with a built-in water softener that can help lessen the effects of hard water. With a built-in water softener, any type of dishwashing detergent should be able to power through the common issues with hard water stains and spots.

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