How to Troubleshoot a Kenmore Dishwasher Soap Dispenser That Won't Open

Dishwashers are complex electrical appliances.

Kenmore dishwasher soap dispensers may need solenoid replacement or occasional cleaning.Kenmore dishwasher soap dispensers may need solenoid replacement or occasional cleaning.
Even the soap dispenser is run by a solenoid that triggers a spring hinge to open the dispenser during washing. If your dishwasher is running loads and the dispenser does not open during the wash, there are two possible reasons for this problem. The first and most common issue is food and mineral buildup around the dispenser's gear. The second possibility is a failure in the solenoid itself, in which case a replacement is required.

Remove the door panel by removing the screws at the four corners of the dishwasher. On most Kenmore models, the screws are on the side of the door panel.

Pull out the two wires leading into the detergent dispenser's solenoid trigger and test them for continuity with a volt ohmmeter. Test the wires by first setting the meter to its lowest setting and touching the test leads together. This will zero out the machine. Next, touch the test leads to the metal or bare wire ends of the solenoid. If the meter moves toward the right side of the scale, then the solenoid still has good continuity and the problem is most likely buildup around the dispenser. If the needle stays toward the left side of the scale, then there is no continuity and the part needs replacing.

Order the replacement solenoid from Kenmore and install it.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Volt ohmmeter

About the Author

Steven White is a privately contracted software engineer and efficiency analyst. He has more than five years of experience providing technical support for AT&T broadband customers. Along with his technology background, White enjoys carpentry and plumbing.