kitchenaid dishwasher leaves soap in dispenser

cindy444October 29, 2012

My Kitchenaid dishwasher does not seem to be getting water to the top rack as the dishes are not cleaning up there and there is always dish soap left in the dispenser cups. Any ideas of what is wrong? The water is draining out correctly after every cycle.

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2 things,
1 - check your spray arms for plugged holes
2 - stop using powder or gel detergents and go to one of the tab or packet type enzyme detergents. The powders and gels just can't do the job anymore since they removed phosphates from the detergent. The tabs, like Finish Power Ball, Quantum, or Cascade Complete packs have enzymes that clean the dishes.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Insufficient spray can also be caused by a clogged pump ... paper labels, plastic wrap, glass and bone fragments, fibrous food debris can clog the chopper screen.

Also the screen in the water inlet valve can get clogged with mineral deposits, sand, or other bits of debris in the water supply. Dishwashers are timed-fill (with a few brand/model exceptions), depending on sufficient household water pressure and flow-volume to reach the operating water level within the allotted fill time.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:23PM
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My 1.5 yr-old KitchenAid dw has the same problem, and we bought the top-of-the-line model. The repairman replaced the control board and it worked well for a while, but this problem occurred so infrequently that it is difficult to determine if the problem was never fixed, or if it is an issue with another control board. I went back to the powdered detergent, thinking perhaps the tablets were the issue, but it happened again today. I "googled" this problem today, and we are not the only ones with this issue! I do not want to spend another $1600 for a new dishwasher. Have you resolved your problem?? (I hope!)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:26PM
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I have a Kitchenaid and use the tablets. Occasionally there will be a partial (or almost entire) tablet left in the soap container. We have discovered that if we put certain things in front of the soap dispenser, the water must not get to it. Check to see if there is a problem only when you wash certain items. Out problem seems to occur with things like a square flat griddle pan I have and other flat pans that are larger than a standard size dinner plate. I've just started to put these items in a different location in the bottom.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:05PM
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The only time I've seen the dishwasher tablet not dissolve is if the lid on the detergent container opens prematurely. This can happen if a large plate (or griddle pan, etc.) is placed in front, near where that soap container is. In washing, it can then flop against the container repeatedly, opening that door early.

If that's the problem, then needinfo1's solution should fix this.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:25PM
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Kristen Hallock

I have a KitchenAid Architect dishwasher that is about 8 years old and if I put something like a cutting board, or large pot cover on the bottom rack in front of where the door is for the soap dispenser, the dispenser door will pop open during the cycle, but the soap will not disolve because I imagine that the cutting board or whatever is blocking the water from getting to the soap packet. We use Cascade Action packs.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:00PM
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It will either be that something is blocking water from hitting the dispenser, or that 'stuff' has accumulated in the bottom where the grinder is and is partially blocking the flow. The first is an easy fix, just move things around. The second requires a Torx driver and some effort at disassembly. The bottom rack comes out, the spray arm, unscrewing the cover, and removing the 'tube' for the upper spray arm. In the few times I've done this, i usually find pieces of broken glass, bone and/or paper. After the clean out and reassembly, it works fine for several months.

I think there are YouTube videos showing how to do the disassembly for a KA and/or Whirlpool unit. Some of these have to do with replacing the pump and whatnot.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Try using less detergent . Fill the dispenser only half full. . I use any and all DW soaps-powder,liquid,tablets, even used "additive" for the rinse aide. Any work fine, but don't overload the dispenser. A level tablespoon of powder or liquid is fine. I had a problem with my Sears Kenmore dishwasher.It's now ten years old. Glasses in the top rack just weren't getting clean. The repairman came, gave everything a good cleaning and told me I was using too much soap (detergent). That was four months ago and my dishes (even glasses in the top rack) are still coming out perfectly clean!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 5:18PM
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I agree with the posters who suggested that you may be loading in such a way as to block the spray from getting to the detergent. And I also agree with Jannie's post--use less than the manufacturer's recommended amount, whether it's the powder, gel or tablets. I suspect the manufacturers upsize the recommended dosage to sell more detergent. I use Method Smarty Tabs, and break them in half to use a half-tab in each load. I never have residue anywhere, and my dishes and glasses are perfectly clean. One reason I do not like the Finish Powerball tabs is that you can't break them in half.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 7:15PM
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Also, make sure the water going into the dishwasher is HOT. I always run the faucet at the sink until I am sure the HOT water is brought up thru the house piping. Then turn on the dishwasher.
Agree about using less detergent as well. Especially if your on a softener.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:41AM
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This post is a real education as to what people put in their dishwashers. Griddle pans? Cutting boards? Wow! is all I can say.
And according to a manufacturer I will not mention, they recommended NOT running your hot water before starting the dishwasher, reason being that enzymes clean different things at different temperatures, and need the cooler water to do just that. Having said that, I run my hot water and probably always will.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Do you have a KA with the upper rotating arm on the bottom of the upper rack?

There is a rubber boot that must align with a water 'pipe' stub in the back of the middle of the unit.

Make sure the boot has not slipped off the plastic brackets holding it in position ad that it mates with the plastic nipple at the back.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Thanks, all, but I have tried everything, switching loading procedures so only saucers/small plates are in front of the dispenser, changing to small amount of powder, etc., to no avail. It has even occurred with only the top rack loaded, which is crazy. The water temp is more than hot enough, as measured by the technician, and I left the bottom rack loaded as it was so he could double-check my loading process. I will have to go back to the drawing board.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Wow! Thanks for the helpful info. I have a GE Profile, but was experiencing similar problems. The top rack glasses were not only not getting clean, but the debris from the plates was ending up on them! I took off the spinning arm below the top rack and found it clogged with many things! One appeared to be a rubber pad of some sort, and bits of undisolved detergent tabs. There was a bunch of other gross gunk I got out with a pair of tweezers. I will move on to try the bottom drain, but I'm hopeful that even doing this quick fix will help a lot!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 8:55AM
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