October 1, 2016

How to replace a dishwasher detergent dispenser

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher detergent dispenser

This DIY repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the dishwasher detergent dispenser. The dispenser in the dishwasher door houses the main wash detergent cup and the rinse aid compartment. A hinged cap covers the detergent cup until the electronic control board—or the timer, in some models—signals the cap's latch to pop open. During the last rinse, the rinse aid compartment releases a small amount of rinse aid. If you find any dispenser parts damaged or the dispenser doesn't open when activated during the cycle, replace it with a manufacturer-approved dishwasher part.

Use these instructions to replace the detergent dispenser in Kenmore, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, JennAir and Amana dishwashers. You also can use the same basic steps to replace the dispenser in some LG, Samsung, Frigidaire, Electrolux and GE dishwashers.

Quick links
Tools required
Torx screwdriver
Slot screwdriver
Nut driver set
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
How to replace a dishwasher detergent dispenser video.

Replacing a dishwasher detergent dispenser video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off electrical power

    Unplug the dishwasher or shut off the house circuit breaker for the dishwasher.

    To verify that power is disconnected, make sure the control panel doesn’t light up when you press a control button or the power button.

    PHOTO: Shut off the house circuit breaker to disconnect power.

    PHOTO: Shut off the house circuit breaker to disconnect power.

  2. 02.

    Remove the outer door panel and control panel

    With the dishwasher door open, remove the Torx screws from the inner door panel. Support the outer door panel with one hand as you remove the final 2 screws so the outer door panel doesn't fall.

    Separate the outer door panel and control panel slightly from the inner door panel, and let the outer panel rest on the floor while you disconnect the user interface control wire harness from the control panel.

    Pull off the outer door panel and control panel. 

    PHOTO: Remove the outer dishwasher door panel.

    PHOTO: Remove the outer dishwasher door panel.

  3. 03.

    Remove the dispenser

    Unplug the dispenser wire harness from the inner door.

    Remove the mounting bracket screws and pull off the mounting bracket, letting it hang by the dispenser wire harness.

    Release the dispenser locking tabs and pull the dispenser out of the door.

    PHOTO: Remove the dishwasher detergent dispenser.

    PHOTO: Remove the dishwasher detergent dispenser.

  4. 04.

    Install the new dispenser

    Insert the new dispenser and engage the locking tabs.

    Reinstall the mounting bracket and secure it with the screws.

    Plug in the dispenser wire harness.

    PHOTO: Install the new dishwasher detergent dispenser.

    PHOTO: Install the new dishwasher detergent dispenser.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the outer door panel and control panel

    Position the outer door panel and control panel close enough to the inner door so you can reconnect the user interface control wire harness.

    Reconnect the user interface control wire harness and attach the outer door panel and control panel to the inner door panel.

    Reinstall the mounting screws.

    Tip: Use the longer screws to secure the control panel.
    PHOTO: Reinstall the outer door panel.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the outer door panel.

  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    Reset the house circuit breaker or plug in the dishwasher to restore electrical power.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Be sure to use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

Main cause: damaged rack height adjuster
Main causes: broken door spring, detergent dispenser failure, cabinet mounting brackets loose or broken
Main causes: light switch beside the sink turned off, lack of power, bad dishwasher door switch, control system failure, wiring problem
Main causes: water supply problem, stuck overfill float, clogged water inlet valve screen, water inlet valve failure
Main causes: damaged or stuck spray arm, leaking door seal, damaged door hinge, leaky heating element water seal, cracked water supply line
Main causes: broken door latch, tripped circuit breaker, broken heating element, faulty vent fan, sensor failure, control system problem
Main causes: clogged kitchen sink drain, clogged drain hose, drain check valve damaged, drain pump failure, control system problem
Main causes: glass or popcorn kernel stuck in the chopper blade, drain line vibrating against the cabinet, debris in wash pump or drain pump
Main causes: not using rinse aid, rinse aid dispenser failure, broken heating element, malfunctioning vent, drying fan failure

Repair guides common to all dishwashers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dishwasher.

October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher detergent dispenser

Dishes need dish detergent to get clean. Learn how to replace a dishwasher detergent dispenser with easy step-by-step instructions.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher drain hose

This step-by-step guide explains how to remove a cracked or leaking drain hose in your dishwasher and install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher thermal fuse

A completely dead control panel often indicates that the thermal fuse on the electronic control board is blown; follow these steps to replace a blown thermal fuse in your dishwasher.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all dishwashers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your dishwasher.

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