How to Fix A Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Door Latch

Fixing the soap dispenser door so the dishwashing detergent is released at the proper time in the cycle is going to depend on a few things.

The problem that caused the door to be stuck in an open or closed position may be due to a spring that has been stretched or broken. This is a common problem in older dishwasher models. If your dishwasher is newer than a 2006 model the repair might be more complicated and might require a certified dishwasher repairman.

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Fix A Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Door Latch

Step 1

Before you can begin any work on the unit you need to turn the power supply to the dishwasher off. You may have a power cord that can be unplugged from an electrical outlet, or units that are hard-wired in can have the power shut off by flipping the circuit breaker it is on to the off position.

Test the dishwasher by turning it on to make sure the power supply is completely disconnected.

Step 2

Open the door to your unit. There are several screws around the edge of the door. These are normally No. 15 Torx-head screws. Remove them all.

Once the screws are removed you will be able to remove the front panel of the door. This will allow you to have access to the rear side of the interior door panel.

Step 3

Remove any insulating material that is behind the detergent dispenser located on the door. 

With the insulation gone, you should be able to see spring. The spring is connected to an actuator arm.

Look carefully at the spring. You can usually see if the spring is stretched or broken. If it is you want to remove and replace it with a new spring.

Newer dishwasher models and more expensive dishwasher models do not always have spring-loaded doors. If the unit does not have a spring on the door you might have to replace the entire soap dispenser to fix the problem.

This sounds complicated but most people can do this project.

Step 4

Remove the wire connectors that are holding the soap dispenser on the module. There will also be some screws here that mount the soap dispenser to the door via a bracket. You need to remove those screws also.

Step 5

Once the bracket screws have been removed you can pull the soap dispenser free from the unit. You do this from the interior side of the door.

Step 6

Install the new soap dispenser from the interior side of the door. Once it is in place you will need to replace the screws in the bracket that holds the dispenser in position.

You also need to connect the wire nuts to the wires of the new dispenser so the new component will receive the proper signal to open when it is the right time in the washing cycle.

Step 7

Replace the insulation that you removed. It is not time to put the door panel back onto the unit. You have to put all of the Torx-head screws back into their proper positions.

Step 8

Once the panel is back in place you are ready to turn the power back on to the dishwasher. You tried turning the dishwasher on to test the power so make sure to turn the dial and shut the cycle off before reinstating the power supply.

When the power is reconnected place the soap in the dispenser and shut the dispenser door. Then shut the dishwasher door and turn the unit on to let it cycle past the point where the door should open and release the dishwashing detergent.

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Final Thoughts

Replacing small components like this on your dishwasher is easy to do. You must make sure that when you order your replacement parts that you order ones that are manufactured specifically for the model and style of dishwasher you have.

All of the information to help you order your replacement parts are located on a small sticker, usually on the back of the unit. You may also be able to order parts with just the manufacturer name and model of appliance that you own.

Never press down on a soap dispenser door when it is open or you can stretch or break the spring that holds them closed.

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