Skip to Content

Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Not Working

Your Kenmore dishwasher should mix detergent with the water as part of the washing cycle to remove stubborn stains. However, if the soap dispenser has stopped working, your dishes may not be clean by the end of the cycle. This article has been written to help you diagnose why your soap dispenser is not working so that you can understand how to fix it.

A Kenmore dishwasher dispenser will keep opening if there is a broken latch or warped dispenser door. On the other hand, the door will not dispense detergent if the solenoid or door spring is broken or there is an obstruction. A broken circuit board or soap build-up could also cause these issues.

Dishwasher soap in dispenser compartment

I will explain each of these issues in more detail below. Although these issues can prevent the detergent from dissolving, this can also be a problem when your dispenser is working properly. For this reason, I will explain some of the other causes of undissolved detergent at the end of this article.

Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Not Working

When a Kenmore soap dispenser stops working, it will either keep popping open, not open at all, or will not dissolve the soap. You can find specific causes for each of these issues below. However, one common issue that could cause any of these issues is a broken circuit board.

The circuit board is in control of supplying voltage to each component of the dishwasher, signalling them to do their job. If the dispenser is popping open too early, the circuit board may be signalling the solenoid to open the door prematurely. If it won’t open, the circuit board may not be sending that signal at all.

Other components in the dishwasher that aren’t working may not allow the soap to dissolve, which could also be a problem with the signals from the circuit board. However, I will explain these issues in more detail below.

Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Latch Broken

A broken Kenmore dishwasher soap dispenser latch is often due to wear and tear. Over time, the latch can become brittle or damaged, preventing it from functioning properly. The solution is to replace the latch. This can usually be done by ordering a new latch specific to your dishwasher model and carefully installing it.

One possible cause for a soap dispenser latch issue in a Kenmore dishwasher could be a misaligned or jammed spring mechanism. This is akin to a jammed lock in a door – it just won’t budge. You can carefully inspect the spring in the latch assembly and realign or replace it if necessary. Often, realigning the spring or freeing any obstructions can make the latch operational again.

Another interesting aspect to consider is the buildup of detergent residue. Over time, accumulated detergent can cause the latch to stick or not close properly, much like a door sticking due to paint buildup. Regularly cleaning the dispenser, especially around the latch area, can prevent this issue. Use a damp cloth to gently clean off any residue, ensuring the latch can move freely and function as intended.

Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Keeps Popping Open

Female dropping soap into dishwasher soap compartment

If your Kenmore dishwasher soap dispenser keeps popping open, your soap will be dropped into the dishwasher tub prematurely. This will cause the soap to mix with the water in the prewash period, which will dissolve most of the soap and drain it away before the wash cycle begins.

If this is the case, you should notice that your dishes are not cleaned properly after a cycle. Below are common causes for the dispenser to keep popping open.

Broken Latch

If the latch is broken, you will notice that the dispenser door does not close properly when you put the soap into the dispenser. You should also notice that you don’t have to press the release button to open it. If this is the case, you will need to replace the dispenser.

Warped Dispenser Door

Sometimes excessive heat can warp the dispenser door, meaning it no longer sits flush on the dispenser component. This would then mean that the latch does not engage when the door is closed, causing it to open prematurely. This will also require a replacement dispenser.

Built-up Soap

A build-up of soap or grime in the latch assembly may make it difficult to latch the door closed. If the latch does not engage properly, like with a warped dispenser door, the door will open before it is supposed to. This may be fixed by removing the soap dispenser from the dishwasher and thoroughly cleaning it before you use it next.

Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Not Opening

Gloved hand dropping soap into dishwasher compartment

During the wash cycle, the circuit board will send an electrical signal to a solenoid in the soap dispenser assembly. This solenoid then unlatches the door, which then springs open, causing the soap or dishwashing tablet to wash into the water below.

If this process does not occur, your dishes will not be properly cleaned by the end of the cycle. You can distinguish this from the door opening prematurely because the dispenser door will still be closed when you open the dishwasher. Below are common causes for the dispenser door remaining closed during a dishwashing cycle.

Solenoid or Wax Motor is Broken

If the solenoid that opens the door latch is broken, it will not mechanically unlatch the dispenser door. It is difficult to determine whether the signal is being blocked by the circuit board or the solenoid. However, if you are confident in disassembling the soap dispenser, you could use a multimeter to check if the solenoid is working.

Most Kenmore dishwashers have what is called a wax motor. This is a component that acts like a solenoid in the soap dispenser, opening up the latch when signalled by the circuit board. Therefore, you may need to replace either the whole dispenser assembly or the wax motor to fix this issue.

Dispenser Door is Stuck/Obstructed

If the solenoid is working fine, the door may be stuck from a build-up of soap or debris in the door latch mechanism. If this is the case, you may be able to clean it to get it working again. You should notice the door latch sticking when you try to open it to put the detergent in the dispenser.

The dispenser door may also be obstructed by dishes in the dishwasher, depending on where it is located. This is a simple fix if you are able to rearrange the dishes in the racks. If this is the issue, you should notice that the door is only stuck intermittently.

Broken Door Spring

As I mentioned earlier, the dispenser door should spring open once it has been unlatched. If this spring is broken, the door will unlatch, but will remain closed. This broken mechanism will need to be replaced.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Dispensing/Dissolving Soap

Female hand holding dishwasher soap tablet

Sometimes the dispenser door may open, but the soap is not dispensed into the dishwasher tub or is not dissolved in the bottom of the dishwasher. If the soap is not dispensing into the dishwasher tub, it may be due to the following reasons.

· Dispenser door is not opening (see above)

· Not enough water in the dishwasher to wash the soap down

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on July 10, 2021.

· The dispenser door does not open fully and the tablet/soap is trapped in the dispenser (see above)

If the soap or dishwashing tablet is not dissolving in the dishwasher tub, this is a different issue entirely. Below are the likely causes.

Water Temperature Too Low

Dishwashing detergent requires hot water, normally around 140 degrees (F), to dissolve entirely. Most dishwashers run between 120 and 160 degrees (F). You can try using the ‘High Temp’ setting on your Kenmore dishwasher to see if your dishwashing detergent requires a higher temperature wash cycle.

Your heating element or thermistor may also be broken, resulting in lukewarm dishwasher water. You should notice if this is the case because your dishes will not feel overly hot immediately after a dishwashing cycle. These components will need to be replaced if that is the case.

Too Much Detergent or Expired Detergent

If your detergent has passed its use-by date, it may not dissolve properly. Expired dishwashing tablets will often go hard and aren’t recommended to use for this reason.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on July 10, 2021.

If you use too much detergent, this may also leave a residue at the bottom of the dishwasher. For the amount of water that is used in the dishwasher, only the recommended amount of detergent will dissolve before the water is oversaturated.

Not Enough Water or Circulation

Similar to using too much detergent, not having enough water will also prevent the dishwashing detergent from dissolving. This could be the result of a number of different issues, which are listed below.

· The water inlet valve is faulty

· The water inlet is blocked

· The float is faulty (stuck in the up position)

· Water is continuously drained

The circulation of the water also plays a part in dissolving the detergent. If the detergent is sitting in uncirculated water, it may settle on the bottle and dissolve at a much slower rate. This could also be due to a number or issues, which I have listed below.

· The water pump is broken

· Spray arms don’t rotate

· Food is stuck in spray arms, blocking the holes

· Sump filter is blocking water flow

Related Articles

How to reset Kenmore Dishwasher

Kenmore Dishwasher Light Blinking/Flashing

Kenmore Dishwasher Filling Water Problems

Kenmore Dishwasher Keeps Blowing Fuse

Kenmore Dishwasher Sprayer Not Working

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Turning On or Off

Kenmore Dishwasher Draining Problem

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Heating or Drying

Kenmore Dishwasher Keeps Stopping/Beeping/Running

Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Not Working

Kenmore Dishwasher Door Won’t Open (Easy Fix)

Troubleshoot Kenmore Dishwasher Noise Problem (What To Do)

Kenmore Dishwasher Door Won’t Close (How To Fix)

Kenmore Dishwasher Top Rack Falls Off (How to Fix)

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on July 10, 2021.

Kenmore Dishwasher Making Loud Noise (How To Fix)