How to Troubleshoot a Dishwasher That Won’t Dispense Detergent

dishwasher wont dispense detergent

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If you’re experiencing problems with your dishwasher not dispensing detergent, you’re not alone. This can be a frustrating and inconvenient issue, but there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to get your dishwasher back in working order.

Here are some common reasons why your dishwasher may not be dispensing detergent, and what you can do about it.

Dishwasher Not Dispensing Detergent: Common Causes

Detergent Dispenser is Blocked

One of the most common causes of a dishwasher not dispensing detergent is a blocked dispenser. This can happen if there’s buildup or debris in the dispenser or the surrounding area. To fix this, try the following steps:

  • Remove any dishes or utensils from the dishwasher
  • Inspect the detergent dispenser and the area around it for any blockages or buildup
  • If there is any buildup, gently clean the dispenser and the surrounding area with a soft cloth or brush
  • Run the dishwasher on a cycle without any dishes to see if the detergent dispenser is now dispensing properly

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to remove the dispenser and clean it more thoroughly, or even replace it entirely.

Detergent is Not Releasing from the Dispenser

If the detergent dispenser is not releasing detergent into the dishwasher, it could be due to a malfunctioning dispenser or a clogged detergent compartment. Here’s what you can do:

  • Check the detergent compartment for any clogs or buildup
  • If there’s buildup, use a soft cloth or brush to clean it out
  • If the dispenser still isn’t releasing detergent, you may need to replace the dispenser or seek professional help

Faulty Dispenser Mechanism

If the dispenser mechanism is not working properly, the detergent won’t be released into the dishwasher. Here are some steps you can take to fix this issue:

  • Inspect the dispenser mechanism for any damage or blockages
  • If you see any damage or blockages, try to clean or remove them if possible
  • If the mechanism is still not working, it may need to be replaced

Tips to Prevent Detergent Dispenser Problems

To prevent issues with your dishwasher detergent dispenser, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Use the Right Type of Detergent

Make sure you’re using the right type of detergent for your dishwasher. Using the wrong type of detergent can cause problems with the dispenser and other parts of your dishwasher.

Don’t Overload Your Dishwasher

Overloading your dishwasher can cause the dispenser to become blocked or clogged, preventing the detergent from being released properly. Make sure you’re not overloading your dishwasher and that you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for loading it correctly.

Regularly Clean Your Dishwasher

Regularly cleaning your dishwasher can help prevent buildup and blockages in the detergent dispenser and other parts of your dishwasher. Make sure you’re cleaning the dishwasher on a regular basis and following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.


A dishwasher that won’t dispense detergent can be frustrating, but there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix the issue.

By following these tips and keeping your dishwasher clean and well maintained, you can prevent detergent dispenser problems and keep your dishwasher working smoothly.

If you’ve tried all of these troubleshooting steps and still can’t get your dishwasher to dispense detergent properly, it may be time to seek professional help or consider replacing your dishwasher.


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