How to use dishwasher with broken soap dispenser

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We share tips on how to use dishwasher with broken soap dispenser

Picture this: Your dishwasher detergent dispenser is not opening during wash cycles and after further troubleshooting, it appears that you’ll need to replace the entire soap compartment.

But finances are tight and you are wondering if you can use the dishwasher to wash dirty dishes while the dispenser is still broken (you plan to replace it in the near future).

Well, if this is you, we have some fantastic news: You can wash with your dishwasher even when the soap dispenser is not functional (so it cannot open to release soap).

Below is how to use dishwasher with broken soap dispenser to wash your dirty dishes:


How to use dishwasher with broken soap dispenser

If the soap dispenser has been acting up (and the lid won’t open at the right time during the cycle), try this trick:

Add soap directly inside the machine

If the cup won’t open up anymore like it should, just add soap inside the machine directly with the door fully open (instead of inside the compartment).

For the most part, you can wash for years with a broken dispenser by simply tossing soap into the bottom (of the dishwasher) before turning it on each time you have some dishes to wash.

The only downside is that it may not clean as effectively as you are used to.

But why?

It is because the detergent packs may dissolve a little quickly at the pre-wash step meaning it might not have adequate soap during the main wash stage of the cycle.

The good news is that the pre-wash rinse portions tend to be too short to fully dissolve the packet in most cases so throwing soap in there is the most practical workaround for a broken soap dispenser.

Try it- If it works and you get decently washed dishes, you can be doing this until you decide on the way forward regarding repairs.


Troubleshooting a soap dispenser that won’t open

Here now are some hacks you can try if your dishwasher’s soap dispenser won’t open and lumps of un-dissolved soap are being left in there:


Check the water temperature

The issue could be occurring because the water is not hot enough so turn up the heater a bit to enable soap to dissolve properly.


Re-arrange the dishes

If you are having this issue, here is a remarkably simple fix you can try: check if there are large utensils blocking the door from flipping open.

There might be a pan/bowl/tall serving spoon or other large items on the front that is keeping the door from popping open for the detergent to come out.

Double check the pod container and re-arrange any obstructing utensils.


Clean everything

Wipe down all the moving parts in the dispenser- perhaps the problem is occurring due to buildup of calcium/lime deposits especially if you have been using hard water.

Use a towel to wipe down the parts thoroughly then check to see if the dispenser will stop acting up.

Quick Tip: Always try to wipe the detergent cup dry before each load-that clears any wetness that could be making the door start to stick to the cup (the wetness will prevent the soap from dissolving completely).


Try vinegar

If your dispenser isn’t opening normally and you have made sure no utensil is blocking it, then try using vinegar to descale the inside (of the dishwasher).

You see, a common cause of dispenser opening hitches is mineral buildup (deposits on the hinges/ latch and other moving parts make it unable to freely release).

Vinegar can be an excellent solution since it breaks the deposits down fast.

All you have to do is run a standard wash cycle with your dishwasher empty- put a bowl (the right side up) with a cup of vinegar inside it before you start the cycle.


Try ascorbic acid

There is another option: Fill the soap dispenser with powdered lemonade/powdered Tang then run a quick wash cycle (empty dishes first).

The ascorbic acid in these products could help clean up deposits as well and get rid of the issue.


Check the lid spring

Check the lid spring and replace, if it’s corroded, bent, broken, or otherwise ruined (if defective, the tension won’t be enough to open the cover).


Replace the lid latch assembly

The dispenser lid latch assembly could be the part that is broken.

Visually inspect it and get a replacement, if you notice it’s damaged.


Check the wax motor / bi-metal release

This prompts the door catch to release (older dishwashers use bi-metal release to trigger dispenser door catch to disengage).

To determine if it’s working, you test it for continuity with a multimeter.

Replace, if faulty.


Fix the timer

Some dishwashers use a timer to mechanically control the operation of the detergent dispenser.

And so if the timer is faulty, the soap dispenser will not function correctly and you might wrongly think the whole thing is broken.

That being so, checking the timer is always a good idea.

First, you want to inspect the linkage between the door catch and timer – check if it is operating as intended.

Secondly, check the cam on your unit’s timer – confirm if it is working properly.

Replace the timer if you find any problem.


How to fix a broken dishwasher soap dispenser permanently

Ultimately, you might have to replace the whole soap dispenser.

It is not that pricey and it’s typically an easy DIY job.

You can shop for replacement dishwasher soap dispensers here.

After it’s delivered, you can head over to YouTube and watch a step-by-step dishwasher soap dispenser replacement video to help you complete the task quickly and flawlessly.


How to use dishwasher with broken soap dispenser – Final words

If you’re having trouble with the soap dispenser, just add the detergent pods inside your dishwasher (at the bottom).

But ultimately, it is best to fix the soap dispenser – it’s there to release the soap at the right time for a perfect wash.


When does the soap dispenser open in a dishwasher?


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