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  1. Repair

Dishwasher detergent not dispensing

Common reasons your dishwasher detergent not dispensing

The most common reasons your dishwasher detergent is not dispensing are a broken detergent dispenser, defective electronic control board or a clogged water valve.

  • 46%

    46% of the time it's the
    Detergent Dispenser

  • 31%

    31% of the time it's the
    Electronic Control Board

  • 13%

    13% of the time it's the
    Water Valve

  • 10%

    10% of the time it's the
    Something else

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    Common dishwasher repair parts you may need

    Replacing one of these dishwasher parts may fix your problem.

    Detergent Dispenser Replacement

    When your dishwasher isn't dispensing detergent or rinse aid during the cycle, a faulty dispenser assembly might be to blame. Typically, detergent dispensers contain internal switches, latches, and other components to release detergent and rinse aid at the right times during the cycle. Since it can be challenging to determine if a broken dispenser is causing the issue, it's advisable to have a Sears Home Services Repair Technician inspect your dishwasher. If the detergent dispenser is indeed broken, they will replace it accordingly.

    Electronic Control Board Replacement

    If your dishwasher isn't dispensing detergent, a faulty electronic control board might be the culprit. The internal logic and relays within the electronic control board are responsible for sending electrical current to the dishwasher dispenser, enabling it to open the lid latch and dispense the detergent. If the internal logic becomes corrupted or the relays fail, it can prevent the dispenser from working properly. It's recommended to have a Sears Home Services Repair Expert inspect the dishwasher and replace the electronic control board if it's found to be defective.

    Water Valve Replacement

    If the detergent dispenser isn't functioning, it may have an internal issue that's stopping it from opening. Inside the detergent dispenser, there's an internal switch that releases the latch, allowing a spring to snap the dispenser lid open during the cycle. A broken spring, faulty switch, or defective latch can prevent the dispenser from working properly. It's best to have a Sears Home Services Repair Expert replace the detergent dispenser if it's not working as expected.

    What to expect when you experience a dishwasher detergent not dispensing issue

    Advice for fixing the detergent not dispensing problem

    Fixing most issues with detergent not dispensing typically requires replacing either the detergent dispenser, electronic control board, or water valve. However, since there are numerous potential causes, a thorough diagnosis is crucial for resolving the problem. Getting an accurate diagnosis is important for understanding the cost of the repair.

    Sears Home Services provides these tips for a dishwasher detergent that is not dispensing

    If your dishwasher isn't dispensing detergent, there could be several reasons why. To prevent replacing parts that aren't necessary, we suggest having a Sears Home Services professional conduct diagnostic tests to find out what's causing the problem. Our technicians have a lot of experience in figuring out all kinds of issues with dishwashers.

    How to handle a dishwasher detergent not dispensing diagnosis

    Identifying issues with modern appliances can be challenging without the right knowledge and training. Simply swapping out parts without employing proper diagnostic techniques may result in ineffective repairs. Over the past decade, appliances have become highly advanced, with many models incorporating electronic components that are challenging to assess. As a result, do-it-yourself repairs on the latest appliance models are becoming progressively more complex.

    What our customers say about us

    With more than 1.3 Million 5 Star Reviews, you don't have to take our word for it


    James called to give an estimated arrival time. He was professional and personable. He had 2 professional ideas of the problem and found 1 was correct, but he didn't stop there. He did a thorough check of the appliance. 1 small part was needed. He ordered the part to my house. Fortunately, he was able to schedule for the next week, just before Thanksgiving. As before, he called ahead, arrived and quickly fixed the problem. My appliance is working perfectly.

    Kirsten A, Oxford, PA

    Service Call

    Luke was great. Polite and knowledgeable even though the dishwasher was older than he!

    James G, Hillsboro, MO


    Daniel went above and beyond to fix my dish washer. Very pleasant to deal with.

    Paul F, Hghlnds Ranch, CO

    Additional resources to help you fix your dishwasher

    Troubleshooting Common Dishwasher Problems

    Most people dread all the scrubbing, sudsing and drying that goes into doing dishes by hand. Which is exactly why the dishwasher has become something many of us don’t want to live without.

    Should You Repair or Replace Your Dishwasher?

    If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace your broken dishwasher, consider the age of the appliance, usage, repair cost and the cost of installing a new dishwasher in your home.

    animated dishwasher full of dishes
    7 Tips to Correct the Most Common Dishwasher Issues

    Are you misusing your dishwasher? Read about the most common dishwasher problems people encounter, along with tips on how to fix them.

    Loading a dishwasher is one of those tasks that you might do without a second thought. As long as your dishes seem to come out clean, you’re good, right? Well, not exactly.

    There are quite a few dishwasher mistakes you could be making regularly that are affecting how your appliance performs. Some things you’re doing might not have obvious consequences, like residue sticking to plates or a funky smell emanating from the depths of the dishwasher, but they’re still affecting how clean you’re able to get your dishes and how efficiently the machine works.

    Sears Home Services appliance expert Travis Robertson reveals the seven most common ways people incorrectly use their dishwasher and how to solve problems that occur from misuse.

    Common dishwasher symptoms to look out for

    These dishwasher brands may also experience detergent not dispensing