Dishwashers are a true marvel of the modern world. Ultra-convenient and a breeze to use, they are meant to make your everyday life infinitely easier. All you have to do is load up your dishwasher with the grimy dishware and cutlery – no need to clean them manually.
However, like any other kitchen appliance, your dishwasher may malfunction at one point. This includes not releasing dishwasher soap, which means that the dishes will remain dirty after the wash cycle. Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, we are here to help. In this article, we run you through some of the reasons why your dishwasher is not dispensing soap – and what to do about it.
Throughout its product life cycle, your dishwasher may encounter a gamut of issues. One of the most common ones, by far, is failing to dispense detergent as it normally should. It may sound hopeless, but this problem is relatively easy to remedy. If you are lucky, you probably won’t even need to seek the services of a repair professional.
By and large, troubleshooting your faulty dishwasher involves a lot of visual inspection. In case you notice some signs of damage on any of the parts (even something as simple as a chunk of plastic that has broken off), you will need to replace the component with a new one. Replacement parts of a dishwasher are relatively easy to find online or from your local hardware store. However, if you have an older model, you might have a harder time finding what you need. Your best bet would be to contact your product’s manufacturer.
The rinse aid cap is a common reason why your dishwasher is not dispensing soap. That is, it is either loose or already damaged from the constant exposure to hot water. Fortunately, a bit of troubleshooting can confirm this. It is extremely easy to do and won’t require any tools or disassembly.
How to inspect a dishwasher rinse aid cap:
As the name indicates, the dispenser is meant to discharge soap into the dishwasher during the cleaning cycle. Typically, it comes with two compartments – unsealed and sealed, which are used for pre-wash and the main wash cycle, respectively. Over time, the dispenser may become damaged with repeated use. It may also get clogged with soap and other residues, preventing it from functioning properly.
How to check a dishwasher detergent dispenser:
If the soap dispenser is in good condition, there might be some issues with the spring and hinge pin on the dispenser door. The hinge is operated by a tiny spring and a catch, both of which are responsible for opening the door at the right moment. If any of these parts have gone kaput, the detergent door may fall open or you may have to manually pry it open instead of relying on the spring.
How to examine a dishwasher soap dispenser door spring and hinge pin:
The more recent dishwasher models often use a wax motor to trigger the opening of the dispenser door hinge. If the wax motor is faulty, then the door to the dishwasher soap dispenser won’t open to blast the soiled dishes with detergent. To check if the motor is working as it should, you will have to test the wax motor for continuity using a multimeter.
How to test the continuity of a wax motor using a multimeter:
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Many older dishwasher models employ a bi-metal release instead of a wax motor to set off the dispenser door catch. Essentially, it is a mechanical device that relies on an electric current to free the dishwasher door spring and hinge. To determine if it is working properly, you want to check if it has continuity with the use of a multimeter.
How to test a bi-metal release with a multimeter:
Some dishwasher models also free the soap dispenser catch mechanically – but with the use of a timer instead of a release. Sometime during the cleaning cycle, the dishwasher timer will activate a lever, prompting the release of the door spring and hinge. If there is no proper link between the dishwasher timer and the door hinge, then the release mechanism won’t work correctly. Again, a quick multimeter test will confirm if your timer is still operative.
How to assess a timer using a multimeter:
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A dishwasher is a must-have in every home. With repeated and long-term use, you can expect them to malfunction at one point or another. One of the most common issues you may encounter is the dishwasher failing to dispense detergent. With the steps we have detailed above, you should be able to fix the problem.
But if you still can’t figure out why your dishwasher is malfunctioning (or maybe you are uncomfortable replacing the damaged parts yourself), it is time to let repair service professionals do their job.
Prime Appliance makes it easy to schedule a service call! Simply fill out the online form, and one of our representatives will be in touch right away.