Why Your Samsung Dishwasher’s Soap Dispenser Is Not Opening

Why Your Samsung Dishwasher’s Soap Dispenser Is Not Opening

Having a soap dispenser that won’t open is quite bothersome. Not only have you wasted an entire cycle of hot water on unclean dishes, but you’ll also have to redo washing them.

Let’s talk about why your Samsung dishwasher’s soap dispenser won’t open and how you can fix it.

Why is your Samsung dishwasher’s soap dispenser not opening?

Your Samsung dishwasher’s soap dispenser won’t open if it’s clogged, blocked, or has defective parts. A faulty control board can also cause the issue.

To fix it, unplug your dishwasher and clean excess detergent from the dispenser. Inspect it for damaged parts and if there are any, replace them.

If the problem persists, try the following steps:

  • Set the water temperature of your dishwasher higher.
  • Make sure that no dishes are blocking the spray arm and dispenser door.
  • Inspect the control board for damage and replace it if necessary.

If you need more guidance on performing these tips, keep reading below!

Important note: Before you perform any of these steps, make sure to unplug your dishwasher first to avoid electrocution. 

Causes and Troubleshooting

There are 3 common causes of a Samsung dishwasher’s soap dispenser not opening. They are the following: 

  1. The dispenser is clogged or blocked.
  2. The dispenser has defective parts.
  3. The control board is malfunctioning.

Here are some quick troubleshooting tips you can try to resolve each issue.

Clogged or Blocked DispenserClean excess detergent that may be clogging the components. 

Make sure that no dishes and utensils are blocking the dispenser door.
Defective Dispenser ComponentsInspect the dispenser door’s components for any damage. 

Test the actuator for continuity and replace the entire dispenser assembly if necessary.
Malfunctioning Control BoardUnplug your dishwasher for 10 minutes and restart it. 

Open your control board and look for loose connections or burnt wirings.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these errors and dive deeper into each of their solutions.

Clogged or Blocked Dispenser

Among the likeliest reasons your dishwasher dispenser isn’t opening is that it is clogged or blocked. 

The dispenser is overfilled with detergent.

Dishwasher detergents tend to clump when they become wet. If there’s no room for the detergent to break apart and dissolve, it will clog the dispenser and shut it close.

Solution: Wash off some of the excess detergents in the dispenser. 

Add the recommended amount of detergent, powder, or tablet to the dispenser compartment moving forward to prevent the issue from happening again.

There is a detergent build-up in the container.

Detergent build-up happens if the dispenser isn’t regularly cleaned. The residual detergent can prevent the dispenser door from opening properly.

Solution: Clean the dispenser using a damp cloth soaked in hot water. Make sure that the dispenser is clear of detergent suds and test the dishwasher cover to see if it can move freely.

The water isn’t hot enough.

Some detergent tablets need a hotter water supply to completely dissolve. You may need to set the temperature on your dishwasher higher.

Solution: Verify that your water’s temperature is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Read the instructions from the detergent manufacturer and check if it requires the temperature to be set higher.

Dishes are blocking the dispenser cover.

Some dishwasher models use a detergent dispenser with a cover that opens during the wash cycle.

The cover presses against the top dishrack when you close the door to keep it half open, allowing the lower spray arm to flush the detergent out of the dispenser cup.

If the cover is blocked by a large dish or a pot handle, this could prevent the dispenser cover from opening properly.

Solution: Make sure to load your dishes properly to avoid the dispenser from getting blocked. 

Only load smaller items on the lower rack, such as saucers, cups, glasses, and dishwasher-safe plastic items.

Defective Dishwasher Components

Another possible reason the dispenser isn’t opening is that one or more parts of the dispenser assembly are defective.

Here are some of the components you should check for damage.

Bi-Metal Actuator

Some older dishwasher models use a bi-metal actuator. It is a metallic component that functions as a latch for the dispenser door.

It releases the door by bending or deforming when electricity is applied to it. However, if the bi-metal is burnt out or damaged, the dispenser door won’t open.

Solution: First, unplug your dishwasher and make sure that there’s no power left by pressing any buttons on the panel. None of them should light up. 

Locate the dispenser assembly in your dishwasher. It is commonly located behind the dishwasher door.

Look for any signs of discoloration, cracks, or any other forms of damage. 

If you can’t visually find any damage, you might need to test the bi-metal actuator or the wax motor for continuity. To do this, follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Unplug your dishwasher or turn its switch off from the circuit breaker.
  • Step 2: Open the dishwasher door and unthread the screws from the outer edges of the inner door panel.
  • Step 3: Hold the outer door panel as you unthread the final screw so the door doesn’t fall off.
  • Step 4: Detach the outer door and control board panel from the inner door panel. Disconnect the user interface control wire harness.
  • Step 5: Pull off the outer door and control panel. Set them aside carefully.
  • Step 6: Check the wire harness connection on the dispenser. If the connection is loose, reconnect the wire properly or replace it if necessary.
  • Step 7: Use a multimeter to check the resistance through the dispenser actuator to see if current can flow through it.
  • Step 8: Remove the female wire harness plug to expose the prongs of the actuator.
  • Step 9: Set your multimeter to measure resistance in the 20,0000-ohm range. Connect the meter’s probes to each of the dispenser’s prongs.
  • Step 10: Check the reading on the multimeter. If the reading is between 1400 – 2800 ohms of resistance, then the dispenser has continuity.

If the multimeter reads infinity or 1 in a digital tester, you’ll need to replace the dispenser assembly.

On the other hand, if the actuator has the right resistance, then the wiring connection between the dispenser and the control board may have failed.

Wax Motor

The wax motor is used by newer models to release the dispenser door when the water inside the dishwasher gets to the right temperature. 

This component is triggered by your dishwasher’s timer or control panel.

Since the wax motor functions as a solenoid that opens the dispenser door, the door will remain shut if it’s damaged.

Solution: Perform a continuity test on the wax motor to make sure that it’s working properly. 

Since the bi-metal actuator functions similarly to the wax motor, simply follow the steps above to conduct the test.

Replace the wax motor or have it fixed by a professional if it’s damaged.

Detergent Dispenser Cover

As mentioned above, the dispenser cover flips up to allow the lower spray arm to flush out the detergent. If the cover is damaged, the detergent won’t be able to get out of the dispenser.

Solution: Test the dispenser cover by opening the dishwasher door slowly during or after the cycle.

Check if the dispenser cover is pressed on the top rack or if you hear a popping sound when you open the door. If not, replace the dispenser cover or call an expert to fix it for you.

Dispenser Door Spring and Hinge Pin

Most dishwasher models use spring-loaded dispenser doors. This allows the dispenser cover to press up against the top dishwasher rack during the wash cycle.

If the spring and pin are damaged, then the dispenser door will remain shut.

Solution: Inspect the door spring and hinge pin for breaks, corrosion, bends, and other signs of damage. Replace them if necessary.

Dispenser Flap or Slide

The dispenser slide holds the dishwasher detergent inside the container. If the flap remains closed for some reason, it won’t be able to dispense the detergent during the cycle.

Solution: Test the slide after putting the detergent in the container. Make sure that the release works correctly in opening and locking the slide.


As stated, if your dispenser is using a wax motor, then a timer is responsible for operating it mechanically. It activates the dispenser lever to release the door latch during the wash cycle.

If the timer is defective, the wax motor won’t be able to receive the signal it needs to open the dispenser door.

Solution: Read your manual to locate the timer motor in your dishwasher. It is usually located in the control panel at the top of the dishwasher door or behind the lower kick panel.

Perform a resistance reading in your timer using an ohmmeter. Set it to the x1000 setting and touch the terminals using the probes.

A functioning timer motor will have a reading of somewhere between 2000 to 3500 ohms. Replace the timer motor or assembly if it’s damaged.

Malfunctioning Control Board

The last possible cause of your dispenser not discharging the detergent correctly is a faulty control board.

As previously stated, the control board sends out an electrical signal to the dispenser actuator to open its door.

However, the control board is only designed to carry out simple instructions. It can also be susceptible to lagging from residual commands as well as electrical damage.

This damage may be caused by loose connections, burnt wirings, or a power surge after a blackout.

If the control board malfunctions, it may be unable to send out a signal for the actuator to open the dispenser.

Solution: Rebooting your dishwasher is the simplest way to flush out any residual commands that may have caused your control board to lag.

Unplug your dishwasher for at least 10 minutes and press any button to make sure that all leftover power is used. Then, plug your dishwasher back in and restart it.

You should also inspect your dishwasher control board for visible damages. Follow the steps below to access it:

  • Step 1: Unplug your dishwasher to avoid electrocution.
  • Step 2: Remove the inner door panel by unthreading the screws. Make sure to support the outer door panel as you unthread the final screw.
  • Step 3: Disconnect the outer door panel from the inner door panel. Detach the interface control wire harness from the control panel and pull off the outer door panel.
  • Step 4: Lift the locking tab, slide the control board slightly to the left, and release it from the inner door panel.
  • Step 5: Release the locking tab on the side of the control board and remove the cover.
  • Step 6: Remove the wire harness connector brace and the connector box cover.
  • Step 7: Inspect the control board for any visible damage or burnt wires. If you find a damaged component, you’ll need to replace it. 

Some of the troubleshooting tips above are quite simple to follow. However, if you find them to be a little out of your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to call your local appliance expert for help!

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