Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Won't Open? (Here's What You Can Do)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Dishwashers are considered to be one of the most useful kitchen amenities on the market, but only when they’re properly functioning. In order for a dishwasher to work, it needs to be able to use its soap dispenser. Unfortunately, these things tend to get stuck fairly frequently. What can you do when you have a dispenser that won’t work?

Make sure that there isn’t a tall item blocking the dish soap dispenser from opening. Inspect the spring and hinge pin to make sure that they aren’t damaged or broken, and replace them if they are. Replace the rinse aid cap because it won’t allow soap to dispense if it is broken.

Trying to troubleshoot a dishwasher’s soap dispenser is a pain. However, it’s still a good idea to know what you should be looking for when you’re trying to get a fix.

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Why Won’t My Dishwasher’s Soap Dispenser Open?

This minor issue has a surprisingly large array of different causes, many of which depend on the model and age of your dishwasher. Troubleshooting your dishwasher can be partially done through a DIY route, but more complex issues should be addressed by a professional. This guide will break down the potential problems into DIY versus professional-grade problems.

DIY Troubleshooting

  • Start off by checking if you have any tall items in your dishwasher that could be impeding your detergent door from opening. Things like baking sheets, large platters, serving dishes, and even spatulas can end up causing a blockage that makes it hard to release detergent. Try to fix this by moving the large items away from the door and then trying to use the washer again. Most blockages will get solved this way.
  • If that doesn’t work, check to see if there is excess detergent in your dispenser or at the bottom of your dishwasher. If there’s an excess of detergent, it may make it difficult for the dispenser to release the detergent into the washing area. Cut it down a bit, and you might see results. You shouldn’t have to press the dispenser door forcefully to lock it in!
  • If you can see it in your dishwasher’s door, check the rinse aid cap. A defective or melted cap can prevent the release of soap. Replacing it will fix it. This is actually the easiest part to replace, so consider yourself lucky if this is the issue.
  • Check your spring and hinge pin. If your dishwasher has a spring and hinge pin that keeps the detergent dispenser door closed, check it out. If it’s corroded, rusty, or broken, it needs to be replaced. Your owner’s manual may have instructions on how to replace this part if you need a little help.
  • Take a look at the dishwasher’s other operations. If your dishwasher has a timer, you might notice that your washer doesn’t fully turn on. Or, it may shut off after a certain period of time. If your timer is acting wonky, you will need to get the timer replaced.

Professional Grade Troubleshooting

  • A professional should also check the timer using a multimeter. Sometimes, bad timers won’t be easy to catch. Using a multimeter for a reading will ensure that you catch it any problems that the timer may have. If your timer doesn’t get a good multimeter read, you need to replace the part. This is an electrical issue.
  • Have the professional check the wax motor, too. A bad wax motor means there’s no way for the dishwasher’s door to open up and release the soap. If it’s starting to go, this part has to be replaced. A multimeter reading will help here, too, since most wax motors will give out low readings when they burn out.
  • If the professional clears all the more common factors as the issue, let them continue troubleshooting. Though very rare, there might be a deeper issue that’s causing the soap dispenser to malfunction. A good repairman will be able to diagnose it and give you the details.

Is A Broken Dishwasher Detergent Dispenser A Serious Issue?

A broken dishwasher is never a fun thing to deal with, but there is some good news. This is usually a fairly easy fix and should not raise cause for concern. Most dishwashers will start having detergent dispenser issues once they reach the five to six-year mark. It’s a normal aspect of wear and tear.

How Much Will It Cost To Fix My Dishwasher Detergent Dispenser?

If it’s a matter of just clearing away a cookie sheet, then it won’t cost a dime. If you have a problem that can be fixed with a DIY method, such as a broken hinge pin or rinse cap, then you can expect to pay for the replacement parts. Most dishwasher replacement parts that can be replaced via a DIY approach will cost between $5 to $25.

If you need to call a professional to fix your dishwasher, things will get pricey. You can expect to pay between $75 to $150 for a typical dishwashing repair call. Even so, if it’s a busted motor or timer, it’s usually better to hire a professional rather than risk botching the replacement yourself.

How Can You Prevent Your Dishwasher Detergent Dispenser From Breaking?

There’s not much you can do to prevent most of the items in your dispenser from breaking, since it’s usually a matter of wear and tear. With that said, being careful not to overload the soap dispenser can help reduce the chances of having a clog. Of course, reducing the number of times you use the washer per week can also help.

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Related Questions

How much does it cost to fix a dishwasher?

This depends on the fix you need. However, you can take a look at the average price of a dishwasher repair trip to get a good idea. A typical dishwasher repair will cost around $230. If you have a luxury dishwasher that has a serious problem, the price can be as much as $600.

Can a dishwasher leak if it’s not installed on a level ground?

Though door gaskets are meant to prevent leaking, having your dishwasher on an uneven surface can cause small leaks to occur. If the surface is extremely uneven, there is a chance that you might see pools of water develop on your floor.

Is it possible to install a new dishwasher by yourself?

Yes, as long as you have all the right water lines and equipment. Doing it yourself can save money, but it’s generally considered to be a tedious issue. While it can save you money, you also could get the machine installed for free if you choose it from the right retailer. When shopping, ask ahead of time if the company offers free installation.

How long should I expect my new dishwasher to last?

Though this can vary from brand to brand, the general consensus is that you should be able to get at least 10 years of regular use from a new dishwasher. Some people suggest that you should expect your washer to last at least three years after the warranty expires, if not more. Some companies also make a point of advertising their durability guarantees, so you might want to stick with those.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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