Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Dispensing Soap And How To Fix It

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Dispensing Soap And How To Fix It
Table of Contents

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1. Check Soap Dispenser Container

The first step in troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher that’s not dispensing soap is to inspect the soap dispenser container. This is where detergent is stored and released during the wash cycle. If it’s empty or obstructed, it can prevent proper dispensing.

  • Begin by opening the dishwasher door and locating the dispenser, typically inside the door.
  • Check for visible damage like cracks or clogs, and ensure there are no leftover detergent clumps blocking the opening.
  • Look for debris or residue inside the dispenser, which can lead to blockages over time.
  • Clean out any buildup gently using a soft brush or cloth to maintain proper soap dispensing.

If issues persist, such as significant blockages or cracks, consider replacing the dispenser. Contact Whirlpool customer service or consult your dishwasher’s manual for replacement part information.

2. Inspect the Soap Dispenser Door

Inspecting the soap dispenser door is crucial when troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher that isn’t dispensing soap. Problems with the door can lead to ineffective cleaning. Here’s what to do:

  • Visual Inspection: Check for visible signs of damage or blockage on the soap dispenser door.
  • Cleaning: If there’s residue buildup, clean it with warm water and a soft cloth. Remove any old detergent remnants obstructing the opening mechanism.
  • Latch Mechanism: Ensure the latch operates smoothly without resistance. Press down gently to see if it moves freely and springs back up.
  • Detergent Selection: Use compatible detergent recommended for your Whirlpool dishwasher model.
  • Professional Help: If issues persist after inspection and cleaning, seek professional repair services specialized in Whirlpool appliances.
  • Maintenance: Regularly check for residue buildup inside the dispenser compartments and clean them as needed to prevent future issues.

3. Examine Water Temperature

When troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher that isn’t dispensing soap, it’s vital to check the water temperature. Proper temperature activates detergent for optimal cleaning.

  • Low water temperature can hinder detergent effectiveness. Ensure the dishwasher’s water heater functions correctly.
  • Check for obstructions or mineral deposits in the heater or heating element that may affect performance.
  • Adjusting hot water at the sink can improve detergent activation. Run hot water until it reaches around 120°F (49°C) before starting a cycle.

Preheating ensures the dishwasher begins with sufficiently hot water for effective cleaning. Be cautious to avoid scalding.

4. Verify Detergent Type and Amount

When troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher’s soap dispenser issue, the detergent type and quantity are crucial considerations. Using improper detergent or incorrect amounts can disrupt dispenser function.

  • Verify detergent type and quantity by consulting the manufacturer’s maintenance guide or user manual for recommendations.
  • Whirlpool suggests using high-quality dishwasher detergent formulated for automatic dishwashers to dissolve efficiently and leave no residue.
  • Be cautious of overdosing or underdosing detergent, as both can cause problems. Excessive sudsing from overdosing can hinder spray arm rotation and water circulation.
  • Insufficient detergent may lead to ineffective cleaning and eventual spray arm clogging. Consider water hardness and load size when determining detergent amount.
  • In areas with hard water, additional additives like rinse aids or water softeners may be necessary for optimal cleaning.
  • Follow dishwasher recommendations for detergent placement, especially in models with separate compartments for pre-wash and main wash detergents.

5. Check Spray Arm Functionality

When your Whirlpool dishwasher fails to dispense soap, it’s crucial to inspect the spray arm’s functionality. This component is responsible for distributing water and detergent during the wash cycle, impacting dish cleanliness.

Troubleshooting the Spray Arm

  • Check if the spray arm rotates freely by locating it at the bottom or top of the tub.
  • Spin it by hand to ensure smooth movement without resistance.
  • Stiffness or lack of rotation may indicate blockage or damage.

Dealing with Blockages

  • Debris buildup within the spray arm’s holes or nozzles can impede rotation.
  • Remove the spray arm carefully by unscrewing or unclipping it.
  • Rinse it under warm water to dislodge debris, using a toothpick or small brush for stubborn buildup.

Ensuring Proper Water Pressure

  • Insufficient water pressure can affect rotation and detergent distribution.
  • Before starting the dishwasher, ensure sufficient hot water flows from the kitchen faucet.
  • Run the faucet for a minute or two until hot water consistently flows.

6. Inspect the Dishwasher Filters

Inspecting the dishwasher filters is crucial for troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher that isn’t dispensing soap. Filters prevent food particles and debris from clogging critical components. Here’s how to inspect and clean them:

Locate Filters

  • Find the filters inside the dishwasher, typically at the bottom of the tub or under the lower spray arm.

Remove and Examine

  • Carefully take out the filters. Note: Some models have multiple filters.
  • Thoroughly check for dirt, debris, or blockages.

Clean Filters

  • Rinse them under warm water to remove trapped residue.
  • Use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub away stubborn particles, especially in crevices or mesh screens.

Ensure Cleanliness

  • Confirm all parts are clean and obstruction-free.
  • Regular filter maintenance is crucial for optimal dishwasher performance.

Clean filters prevent food particles from entering critical components, ensuring proper water circulation and pressure. This prevents soap dispenser issues and improves cleaning results. Clean your dishwasher filters monthly for best results, extending your appliance’s lifespan and reducing future troubleshooting needs.

7. Run Hot Water Before Starting the Dishwasher

Importance of Preheating Before Dishwasher Use

  • Ensures a steady supply of hot water for optimal cleaning performance and detergent dispensing.
  • Often overlooked but significantly impacts the effectiveness of the dishwasher.

Benefits for Whirlpool Dishwashers

  • Allows the appliance to fill with hot water from the start of the cycle, aiding in dissolving soap and removing food particles effectively.
  • Preheating helps prevent damage from sudden temperature changes.


  • Turn on the kitchen faucet and let hot water flow for a few minutes until consistently hot.
  • This primes the dishwasher with hot water at the beginning of the cycle, ensuring optimal cleaning.

8. Check for Mechanical Issues

Encountering a Whirlpool dishwasher that fails to dispense soap requires thorough troubleshooting for potential mechanical issues. One common problem could stem from a faulty solenoid or wax motor, hindering the soap dispenser’s operation. Consulting a repair guide or seeking professional help may be necessary for accurate diagnosis and resolution.

  • Faulty Components: A malfunctioning solenoid or wax motor can impede the soap dispenser’s mechanism, leading to detergent dispensing failure.
  • Professional Assistance: Skilled technicians possess the expertise and tools for precise dishwasher troubleshooting, including identifying and addressing mechanical issues affecting the soap dispenser.
  • Additional Concerns: Clogged spray arms or a malfunctioning pump motor may also disrupt water flow to the soap compartment, hindering detergent dispensing.

9. Perform a Dishwasher Reset

Performing a dishwasher reset is a helpful troubleshooting step, particularly for soap dispenser problems. It clears temporary glitches in the system, providing a fresh start. Before resetting, ensure the dishwasher is disconnected from power to avoid electrical risks.

  • Locate the dishwasher’s circuit breaker or main switch.
  • Switch off power by flipping the breaker or disconnecting from the main panel.
  • Wait around five minutes for residual power to dissipate completely.
  • Inspect the spray arm for obstructions during this time.
  • Check the soap dispenser for blockages or misalignments.
  • Reconnect power by turning on the circuit breaker or main switch.
  • Restart the dishwasher without dishes or detergent initially.
  • Monitor the soap dispenser during the cycle for proper functioning.

If the soap dispenser issue persists post-reset and other troubleshooting steps have been exhausted, consider seeking professional Whirlpool appliance repair services. Performing a reset refreshes the appliance, addressing lingering malfunctions. It’s a cost-effective solution to improve dishwasher performance and soap dispenser functionality.

10. Contact Professional Whirlpool Dishwasher Repair

If all troubleshooting steps have been exhausted and your Whirlpool dishwasher still isn’t dispensing soap, it’s time to consider professional repair services. While DIY fixes might seem tempting, a professional technician possesses the necessary knowledge, experience, and tools to tackle complex dishwasher issues effectively.

  • When contacting a professional repair service, provide detailed information about the problem, including any error codes or unusual appliance behavior.
  • This helps the technician understand potential causes and ensures they come prepared with the right tools and replacement parts.
  • Professional technicians are trained to diagnose soap dispenser malfunctions thoroughly, inspecting components like the dispenser container and door.
  • They’ll also check for mechanical issues hindering proper operation and assess factors like water temperature, detergent type, and spray arm rotation.
  • Fixing a faulty soap dispenser may involve part replacements or adjustments best handled by a trained technician.
  • Professionals ensure all dishwasher elements function correctly to prevent future issues, making seeking their assistance an investment in long-term reliability and time-saving convenience for your Whirlpool dishwasher.

Get A Pro Canada is ready to help you with any Whirlpool dishwasher repair inquiry. Serving the Greater Toronto Area that includes Newmarket, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Oshawa and more!

Contact us to schedule your same-day Whirlpool dishwasher repair service by phone at 1-800-498-4490 (toll-free) or by filling out our contact form and one of our team members will get back to you during regular business hours.


Troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher that is not dispensing soap requires a systematic approach to identify and address the underlying issues. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively resolve this problem and ensure that your dishwasher operates optimally. Firstly, thoroughly inspect the soap dispenser container to ensure it is not clogged or damaged.

While encountering soap dispenser problems with your Whirlpool dishwasher can be frustrating, taking a systematic approach to troubleshooting will help identify and address potential issues with ease. By ensuring adequate maintenance including regular filter cleaning and using appropriate detergents at recommended quantities, you can prevent soap dispenser malfunctions.

In cases where the issue persists despite troubleshooting efforts, it is advisable to seek professional Whirlpool dishwasher repair for a comprehensive evaluation and resolution. With proper care and attention, your Whirlpool dishwasher will continue to provide reliable service, efficiently cleaning your dishes to perfection.


What are common reasons for a Whirlpool dishwasher not dispensing soap properly?

Several factors can contribute to a Whirlpool dishwasher not dispensing soap properly:

1. Clogged Dispenser: Soap dispenser components may be clogged with detergent residue.

2. Faulty Dispenser Mechanism: The dispenser latch or spring may be malfunctioning.

3. Incorrect Detergent Type: Using the wrong type of detergent or excessive amounts can affect dispensing.

Can I troubleshoot issues with the dishwasher’s soap dispenser on my own?

Yes, you can perform basic troubleshooting:

1. Clean the Dispenser: Remove any detergent residue or debris from the dispenser.

2. Check for Obstructions: Ensure the dispenser latch and spring move freely without obstructions.

3. Use the Correct Detergent: Verify that you’re using the appropriate dishwasher detergent and following dosage recommendations.

Are there DIY solutions for problems related to clogged or malfunctioning dispenser mechanisms?

Yes, for minor issues:

1. Clean the Dispenser: Regularly clean the dispenser to prevent clogs.

2. Inspect for Obstructions: Check the latch and spring for any visible obstructions or misalignments.

How do I handle issues when the dishwasher doesn’t use the correct amount of detergent?

1. Adjust Detergent Amount: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct amount of detergent.

2. Loading Configuration: Ensure dishes are loaded properly to avoid blocking the dispenser.

When is it advisable to consult with a professional for Whirlpool dishwasher soap dispenser issues?

If basic troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the problem or if there’s a persistent issue with the soap dispenser mechanism, it’s recommended to consult a professional. Professionals can provide a more in-depth analysis, identify underlying issues, and carry out repairs or replacements as needed.

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