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  1. Repair

Dishwasher dispenser not working

Common reasons your dishwasher dispenser not working

The most common reasons your dishwasher dispenser is not working 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

    If the detergent dispenser isn't working, it might be due to an internal issue that's stopping it from opening. Inside the detergent dispenser, there's a 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. It's best to have a Sears Home Services Repair Expert replace the detergent dispenser if it's not working properly.

    Electronic Control Board Replacement

    If the dishwasher detergent dispenser isn't working, it may be due to a faulty electronic control board. The internal logic and relays in the electronic control board are responsible for sending electrical current to the dishwasher dispenser, which opens the lid latch and dispenses the detergent. If the internal logic becomes corrupted or the relays fail, it can prevent the dispenser from working properly. It's a good idea 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 working, it might have a problem inside that's stopping it from opening. There's a switch inside the detergent dispenser that releases the latch, so a spring can snap the lid open during the cycle. If the spring is broken, the switch doesn't work properly, or the latch is defective, the dispenser won't work. When the detergent dispenser isn't working, it's best to have a Sears Home Services Repair Expert replace it.

    What to expect when you experience a dishwasher dispenser not working issue

    Fixing a dispenser not working problem

    Fixing most issues with the dispenser not working typically requires replacing either the detergent dispenser or the water valve. However, since there are many 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 recommends these steps for fixing a dispenser that is not working

    If the dishwasher dispenser isn't working, 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 experience diagnosing all types of dishwasher failures.

    What to watch for with a dishwasher dispenser not working diagnosis

    Figuring out issues with modern appliances without the right knowledge and training can be hard. If you don't use the right diagnostic techniques, trying to fix your dishwasher problem might mean just guessing and swapping out parts. Appliances, especially in the last decade, have gotten very advanced, with lots of electronic parts that are tricky to test. Doing repairs yourself on the latest appliance models is getting much harder.

    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

    woman in the kitchen with dishwasher
    How To Help Your Dishwasher Run More Efficiently and Troubleshooting Tips

    Is your dishwasher cycle running too long? Watch our video, which explains the average cycle time, water temperature and helpful dishwasher troubleshooting tips.

    Does it feel like your dishwasher takes an eternity just to complete one measly cycle? While there are certain settings that may be the culprit — we’re looking at you, SaniWash — if it’s running for hours and hours, there’s probably a more serious problem at hand.

    Remember to consult your owner’s manual first for information on how to properly care for your specific dishwasher. Thankfully, there are a few things you can try first that may help your dishwasher run more efficiently. Watch our video for the best tips on how to reduce its cycle time — because no one wants to be stuck doing dishes forever.

    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.

    image of a dishwasher in an animated kitchen
    What To Do If Your Dishwasher Isn’t Filling With Water

    Is your dishwasher not getting water? Watch our video that covers common dishwasher problems and simple troubleshooting tips to get it working again.

    Your dishwasher can’t do its job without water. If your dishwasher isn’t filling with water, there are a few really easy things you can check that just might do the trick!

    Common dishwasher symptoms to look out for

    These dishwasher brands may also experience dispenser not working