Dishwasher Rinse Aid Not Dispensing? 3 Easy Things To Check

Rinse aid is a helpful addition to any dishwashing cycle. But, of course, that’s only true if its dispenser releases its contents as it should. So, why would the dispenser fail to do that?

If your rinse aid is not dispensing in your dishwasher, it’s likely because there’s an issue with the dispenser itself. The dispenser could be clogged, its cap could be open or cracked, or its components could be broken. A faulty control board or timer could also prevent a functioning dispenser from opening to release its contents.

A dishwasher that doesn’t release rinse aid can leave your kitchenware less clean than you’d expect. So, this guide will describe its causes and explain how you can fix them.

Why Is The Rinse Aid Not Dispensing?

Here are the reasons your dishwasher isn’t releasing anything that you pour into the dispenser:

Buildup In Or Around The Dishwasher’s Dispenser

About this: As you know, the dispenser is located inside your dishwasher compartment. That way, it can release directly into the compartment at the right stage of a wash cycle.

Thanks to its placement, that part of the machine is also exposed to water, detergent, food bits and grease splashing around inside the appliance.

That’s not a problem, though you should consider cleaning the dispenser once in a while when it gets dirty.

What’s happening: As your first troubleshooting step, you must consider that the dispenser might be internally or externally clogged.

Unfortunately, a buildup or clog could prevent anything from flowing out. That buildup could be from excess detergent, food bits, or dirt that has clogged the dispenser’s openings.

So, even though the dishwasher is trying to release the rinse aid, none of it is flowing into the compartment where it’s needed.

How to fix it: Thankfully, a buildup isn’t too difficult to fix. Firstly, wipe away any buildup on you see on the dispenser’s exterior.

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Be sure to identify the outlets through which the rinse aid flows, so you can clean those parts thoroughly.

You’ll have to purge it a few times with water if it’s clogged inside. The best way to do that is with a turkey baster.

Depending on the severity of the clog, you’ll likely have to repeat that step several times.

rinse aid not dispensing clean dispenser

Read: How To Unlock Locked GE Profile Dishwasher Control Panel?

Open Or Cracked Dispenser Cap

About this: When you need to refill the dispenser with rinse aid, you’ll have to open a cap. Depending on your dishwasher brand and model, that could mean opening a twist cap or flipping a cover open.

Once you’ve filled the dispenser with enough rinse aid, the cap or cover plays a crucial role. It ensures that the rinse aid stays where it belongs, even when you close the dishwasher door, until it’s the right time for it to be released.

What’s happening: Another reason your dishwasher fails to dispense rinse aid is the dispenser cap is loose or damaged.

The cap might not seem like a critical part at first. But the truth is that it plays a crucial role in ensuring your dishes come out clean.

An open or cracked cap will let the rinse aid flow out whenever you close the dishwasher door. Then, it’ll be empty by the time it’s supposed to release into the wash cycle.

The kitchenware inside your machine will have water spots on them, and they’ll take longer to dry. From your perspective, it might seem like the dishwasher isn’t dispensing rinse aid correctly.

How to fix it: Firstly, inspect the dispenser cap closely. Check for any foreign objects or buildups preventing that cap from shutting tightly.

If the cap or cover is damaged, you’ll have to get another one to take its place. Thankfully, most dishwasher brands sell replacement caps, so getting a new one shouldn’t be a challenge.

dispenser cap

Read: GE Profile Dishwasher Control Panel Problems And How To Troubleshoot Them?

Faulty Dispenser Components

About this: Your dishwasher’s dispenser consists of several tiny components. For example, springs, levers, and actuators control how the dispenser functions.

When the dispenser is in excellent working condition, those components ensure that it can store and release the rinse aid inside at the correct stage of a wash cycle.

What’s happening: One or more faulty components in the dispenser will cause it to fail. For example, the springs, levers, or actuators mentioned above might break or come loose.

When that happens, the dispenser will fail and prevent it from adding to the wash cycle.

How to fix it: This problem’s solution will differ between dishwasher brands and models. Some manufacturers sell replacements for the affected parts (e.g. spring, lever, or actuator). If that’s true for your machine, you can replace the broken part and solve the problem.

However, other dishwasher brands don’t sell those components separately. In that case, you’ll have to purchase a replacement.

rinse aid dispenser components

Read: GE Dishwasher – Lights Flashing And Beeping (What Causes That And How To Fix It?)

Control Board Or Timer Problems

About this: All dishwashers have either a timer or a control board, both of which act as the appliance’s brain. 

That brain has plenty of electronic and electrical components. Together, those components send electrical signals and power to components like the dispenser, sensors, and many other parts, to turn on or off at the right times.

Older dishwasher models have timers that do the same thing. A timer has fewer electronic parts but does the same job of triggering specific components to function at particular parts of a wash cycle.

dishwasher control board

What’s happening: The final thing to consider in your troubleshooting process is the dishwashing machine’s ‘brain’. When that part is faulty, it won’t trigger the dispenser to open even though it should.

As a result, the dispenser doesn’t release any of the rinse aid you’ve poured inside.

How to fix it: Main control boards and timers don’t fail often. Sadly, it’s no longer practical to attempt a repair when they do.

Instead, a total replacement is the most straightforward solution to this problem.

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Read: GE Dishwasher Troubleshooting. List Of Common Causes And How To Fix Them?

Additional Troubleshooting Questions

At this point, you know why your dishwasher isn’t releasing its rinse aid. However, here are a few more questions and answers to help you further.

Can You Use A Dishwasher Without Rinse Aid?

Yes, you can use a dishwasher without any rinse aid. However, your dishes will take longer to dry, and some items might come out with water spots.

How Do I Fill My Dishwasher With Rinse Aid?

Firstly, open the cap or cover on your dishwasher’s dispenser. Then, pour the rinse aid into the opening until it reaches the maximum level. That level is marked where you fill the rinse aid, so you can see it clearly.

Read: Why Amana Dishwasher Not Draining?

What Can You Do To Drain A Dishwasher Dispenser?

If you have to empty a dishwasher dispenser’s contents, you’ll need a turkey baster or something similar. You can use the baster to suck out the dispenser’s contents.

How Can You Tell If A Dispenser Is Releasing?

You’ll know that everything is working correctly if the rinse aid levels have dropped after a wash cycle. You can also judge that based on how clean your dishes are at the end of a cycle.

Can I Run A Dishwasher Without A Rinse Aid Cap?

Yes, you can run a dishwasher without the rinse aid cap. However, you won’t enjoy any benefits from the rinse aid you’ve poured into the dispenser, as it’ll leak out before it’s needed in the wash cycle.

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