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 replacement 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.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 30 min.

Parts Required

  • Detergent dispenser

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required

  • Torx screwdriver
  • Slot screwdriver
  • Nut driver set
  • Work gloves

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 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.

How to Replace a Dishwasher Detergent Dispenser

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: 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. 

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: Restore electrical power

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