Kitchenaid Dishwasher Detergent Door Not Opening – How To Fix?

When the detergent door on your Kitchenaid dishwasher won't open, you won't have clean dishes at the end of the cycle. So, how do you fix it? That's what we asked the experts and here are their recommendations.

When your Kitchenaid dishwasher detergent door is not opening, do any of the following as needed:

  • remove any blockages inside and outside the soap dispenser
  • replace stale detergent powder
  • rinse off all soap residue
  • replace any broken parts particularly the door spring, hinge pin, latch, plastic door, timer, wax motor, or bi-metal release 

Keep on reading to know more about why your Kitchenaid soap dispenser is not opening and what you can do to fix it. We'll also teach you how you can replace your old soap dispenser. This article will also answer if you can still use your dishwasher if the soap dispenser is broken. Let's get started!

Putting a tablet in a dishwasher machine, Kitchenaid Dishwasher Detergent Door Not Opening - How To Fix?

Why is my Kitchenaid dishwasher soap dispenser not opening?

Dishwashers are a great help in the kitchen! Nobody likes washing dirty dishes and now you have an appliance that can do the work for you while you do more important things or better yet, relax in the living room right after dinner watching your favorite show on TV.

To make your dishes clean, the appliance gets water from your water supply.  It is then heated at the right temperature and warm water is sprayed from different sides of the dishwasher for the pre-wash. After this, the dishwasher detergent is dispensed into the basin to help break down the grease and grime on everything that you've loaded inside. The dirty water is flushed out for the final rinse.

Depending on your settings, you can have the dishwasher dry the dishes for you although some skip this last part as it consumes too much electricity.

Based on this process, we can see that dishwasher detergent is essential in ensuring that your dishes come out clean after the dishwashing cycle. Aside from removing grease and grime, it also has components that help protect your dishwasher from corrosion, soften the water, and make the dishes smell fresh after washing.

But if your Kitchenaid dishwasher detergent door won't open, then it won't be able to release the soap. This means that you'll most probably still have dirty dishes by the end of the cycle since water alone isn't enough to clean them.

There could be different reasons why the soap dispenser won't open. Here are some of the most common issues other Kitchenaid users have encountered and how you can fix them.

female hand inserting dishwasher tablet into open automatic stainless built-in dishwasher machine with dirt

Reasons Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Is Not Opening And How To Fix


Dishes could block the way, preventing the dispenser from dispensing the detergent. The dispenser might not be getting enough water, pushing the detergent out into the basin instead. This could also be something that's blocking the spray path towards the dishwasher soap dispenser.

Always ensure that the dispenser's immediate area is clear of any blockage so that it can function properly. Rearrange your dishes so that when your soap dispenser opens, nothing gets in the way.

Stale Detergent Powder

This will not dissolve easily, so it can't be pushed out of the dispenser. Replace the detergent powder.

Next time, don't store it underneath the sink where moisture can cause the powder granules to stick together in a hard clump. Instead, store your detergent powder in a cool and dry place so that it's in good condition when you have to use it. You can also switch to liquid dishwasher detergent to avoid this kind of issue.

Click this link to find this dishwasher detergent gel on Amazon.

Soap Residue

A woman holding a bottle of dish detergent in her hand

This can clog the insides and edges of your dispenser and prevent the latch from working. This is why it won't open during the dishwashing cycle.

Just clean the soap residue until it's all gone. Next time don't overfill the dispenser cup with detergent powder.

Broken Door Parts

Your Kitchenaid dishwasher detergent dispenser has a door that opens at the right moment in the dishwashing cycle to discharge the soap. Its door spring and hinge pin put tension on the door so that it'll open at a given time. Meanwhile, the latch keeps the door closed and the soap from coming out until it's time to use it during the wash cycle.

If any of these components are defective, the soap dispenser door won't open. Check if the spring and hinge pin are bent or broken or if the latch is damaged.

For those with plastic doors, the door panel itself might be warped due to high temperatures inside the basin.

You need to replace these parts when they are damaged.

Defective Bi-metal Release or Wax Motor

Newer models have wax motors that release wax to open the dispenser's latch. Older ones have bi-metal releases that use electric currents to open the door.

To check if the wax motor and bi-metal release are defective, you would need to use a multimeter to determine if there's any continuity in these components. If there's none, you need to have these parts replaced.

Check out this multimeter on Amazon.

Broken Timer

Some dishwasher models use a timer to prompt the soap dispenser to open its door. Without this unit, the door won't open.

Check the connection between the timer and the actuator or wax motor to see if the wiring is properly placed. You can also inspect how it is connected to the electronic control board, which could affect how it works.

If the timer is broken, you also need to replace it.

These are the common reasons why your Kitchenaid dishwasher detergent door won't open. You can always refer to the manual to help familiarize yourself with its different parts. Or, if you're having a hard time figuring out what's wrong with it, you can always seek the assistance of a technician so that you can have your dishwasher back in good working condition in no time.

How do you change a Kitchenaid soap dispenser?

A woman uses a liquid soap dispenser in the kitchen, a sponge for washing dishes

If the soap dispenser is damaged beyond repair, you have no other choice but to replace it. Good thing you can buy this part from repair shops so you can change the defective unit.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Turn off the dishwasher and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Remove the screws on the outer door panel.
  3. Lift the panel up so you can remove it. Set it aside in the meantime.
  4. Do the same to the metal door panel and remove the retaining pin. This will give you full access to the dishwasher soap dispenser.
  5. Remove the wire connector on the wax motor to disconnect the dispenser from the electric control board.
  6. Unscrew the retaining bracket surrounding the soap dispenser.
  7. Using a flathead screwdriver, bend back the retaining tabs above and below the dispenser.
  8. Pull out the dispenser from the other side of the door panel.
  9. Bend the retaining tabs back to their previous position.
  10. Install the new soap dispenser in the inner door panel.
  11. Put back the retaining bracket and make sure you screw them securely in place.
  12. Reconnect the wire connector to the wax motor.
  13. Put back the outer metal door and outer door panels.

That's it! You now have a new soap dispenser in place. Here's a video for your reference.

Can I use my dishwasher if the soap dispenser is broken?

kitchen sink full of dirty dishes

If you haven't found a replacement for your defective soap dispenser yet, will you still be able to use your Kitchenaid dishwasher?

Technically speaking, yes. Many users have been doing this. They just put the dishwashing soap at the bottom of the basin before closing the dishwasher.

However, be warned that your dishes might not be as clean as you'd want them to be. This is because the soap will begin dissolving during the pre-washing stage of the dishwashing cycle since it's already in the basin and will get mixed with the water right away.

While some soap might still be left for the main wash, it might not be enough to get everything cleaned.

This is why the dishwasher soap dispenser is important because it'll open at the right time during the wash cycle. This will help you maximize the benefits of the detergent in cleaning your dishes.

Final Thoughts

Putting a tablet in a dishwasher machine

Check that there's nothing blocking your Kitchenaid dishwasher detergent door from opening so that it can unlatch itself at the right time. Don't use lumpy detergent powder and make sure you rinse off all soap residue inside the dispenser. Lastly, replace any broken door parts or sometimes, it's best to get yourself a new soap dispenser so that you can have your dishwasher working in good condition.

To read about related topics, feel free to visit the following posts:

When Does The Soap Dispenser Open In A Dishwasher?

Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Broken—What To Do?

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